FLORHAM PARK – Books are the first things that usually come to mind when visiting a library.
At the Florham Park Public Library, however, patrons have the option of borrowing a stud finder, ukuleles, a globe, a large Jenga set, a cornhole set, an electric cutting machine, and more.
“There are things that people might not have at home that they just need for a weekend project or if you’re having a barbecue,” said Kate Dinneny, home services librarian. Florham Park youth.
Library card holders can check out items from the “Library of Things” for up to 14 days at a time. The same items can only be borrowed twice a year.
The “Library of Things” is not a new concept – just relatively new to Florham Park.
Dinneny said the administrative team had been considering starting an item drive for some time, but it took a global pandemic forcing people to stay home to really get the ball rolling.
“It’s something that other libraries in the region have been doing and it’s had an impact in the library world over the past couple of years,” she said.
Library manager Nancy Shah said the initial goal was to give patrons things to do at home as some were still concerned about travel and going out in 2021.
Dinneny said the library had already offered ukuleles to borrow for about four or five years prior, as well as some Nook e-book readers preloaded with titles. The library grew gradually from there in 2021.
Senior Library Assistant Amber Sowinski said some of the newer items in the collection include a set of bocce balls, a digital camera and other instruments including a keyboard, electronic drum set and a Kalimba, which is an African thumb piano.
“It’s everything we think people would want to try before they buy, or if you just need it for a day or a weekend,” she said.
Shah noted that the Nintendo Switch Lite handheld gaming devices now available are “perfect for a road trip” to keep kids busy for a while.
The only items guests are not allowed to take with them are laptops, 10 of which are available to use inside the building.
Everything the library has to offer in the “Library of Things” has either been purchased using library funds or is something the library already had.
Dinneny said the library builds on its articles by considering what other libraries offer and taking suggestions from library patrons.
“Customer recommendations are always helpful,” she said.
Dinneny said the flow of residents using the “Library of Things” has been “pretty steady” since its inception, but she and her fellow librarians would “like to see it grow.”
She said making sure customers know about it via email would be a big help, as well as word of mouth – basically any way to get the word out.
Sowinski said there seem to be more borrowers in the summer.
“People want the board games for the holidays, or we have a metal detector and now is the perfect time to use it,” she said.
She predicts the Cricut power cutter will be “really popular” once people find out the library has it available for loan.