-When I was a child, I would go to our neighborhood park and ask the Park Ranger to borrow balls and games that were stored in the parkhouse . Having a park where recreational equipment can be borrowed is great, but due to budget issues, parks generally can't afford to do this anymore.
There is another way...
-As it turns out it's often the case that a library and park are near to each other...
-Libraries are already really really good at lending objects to use in these parks, but those objects are currently usually limited to books and other information oriented materials.
-What if a library nearby a park would also lend sports equipment?
For libraries on a budget the cost to create such a collection can be minimal. The above set of items cost under $30. Where more money is available , a larger collection can offer a greater variety of recreation equipment.
-And what if parks would post banners letting park goers know that the nearby library lends recreation equipment?
Cost of the banners can be minimal too, this 3 foot by 2 foot banner cost under $20
-Though only a small number of libraries in the United States lend sporting equipment, the concept is far more common elsewhere. For example in Southern Australia, a high proportion of their 130 libraries lend sporting equipment.
|In Tallinn, Estonia sports equipment is available at 7 of the libraries 17 branches|
-If libraries loaned sports equipment and if parks advertised this equipment:
Libraries would gain new patrons to borrow sports equipment, and this can also lead to increased book borrowing
Parks would attract more usage by having recreation activities available for neighborhood residents of all ages and abilities
|-As libraries transform to deal with the internet age, lending recreation equipment can be one way to help make sure libraries remain relevant in the future.|
|Eli Neiburger, deputy director Ann Arbor District Library|
- If libraries and nearby parks reach out to each other and ask the question "How can we work together to better serve community physical literacy , childhood reading literacy and other needs ", they will find new and wonderful ways to collaborate...
“Our Library checks out basketballs to be used on the courts near the library. We also have frisbees, jump ropes and hacky sacks available to borrow. The balls have been replaced many times through the years and have resulted in much good will with the kids after school. When they (the kids!) start bouncing off the walls, we suggest they bounce a basketball instead. We don’t require a card, just something of value like a backpack, instrument, cell phone, laptop. This is never a problem because the kids are only too happy to off load their stuff and let us keep an eye on it.” link
Special NeedsMany “special needs” recreation items need not be special, they just need to be available . For example Scrabble and books for wheelchair bound, puppets and Lego for autism, a hula hoop for the blind. FatBrain toys offers ideas like these for many special needs. Items not only need to be available, people must also know the items are available, hence the need for parks to advertise the availability of equipment at nearby libraries
|A inclusive recreation banner idea to hang in a park near a library|
Survey of Libraries that Loan Sports Equipment
A Simple Model for Sports Equipment Loan at Libraries
Partnering Libraries and Parks to make Inclusive Recreation More Affordable
Theft, Breakage and Liability Issues
Cost of Stocking a Sports Library
Community Advertising - Marketing Library Parks Partnerships
Examples of Libraries Parks Partnerships