If you can’t buy it, rent it for free at the library

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published June 27, 2017

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP/MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The 21st century version of most libraries offers something for everyone.

The Clinton-Macomb Public Library, which has three branches — two  in Clinton Township and one in Macomb Township — is no different. Recently, the library has been touting its Library Things To Go collection.

Jamie Morris, head of communications for the CMPL, said the collection includes items in three subcategories: Tech To Go, Hobbies To Go and STEM To Go, referring to science, technology, engineering and math fields. 

Various items are available for patrons to check out and try on their own, including items that may be costly to purchase.

“We survey what other libraries are doing, and other libraries circulate other nontraditional library objects,” Morris said. “After reviewing what other libraries do, we originally polled people on interesting objects. Based on answers on the community survey, we decided to form a committee to explore the types of items people in our community would like us to circulate.”

That committee was formed in June 2016. The first items hit shelves in February.

All of the items that are part of the Library Things To Go program are free to check out for a period of 14 days, with one renewal available after that. No costs are incurred unless an item is not returned, or if it’s damaged or is missing parts.

Only residents in Clinton and Macomb townships are able to utilize the service.

All of the subcollections are good for all ages, she said, though STEM To Go is geared more toward parents and children. The learning kits can be checked out and used by a parent and a child at home to dig deeper into a school subject.

Tech To Go and Hobbies To Go aim to appease all age levels. For example, individuals can rent a Wi-Fi hotspot that they can take on vacation for easy internet access. It provides up to 25 gigabytes of wireless service at fourth-generation speed in the continental United States.

Other tech options include stop-motion animation cameras for teenagers or budding artists who are looking to build on their creative passions.

One of the most popular items to date has been the Party Kit, which contains a giant inflatable screen, an LCD projector and wireless speakers so people can have backyard movie sessions all summer long.

Hobbies To Go has not actually been implemented — at least not yet. The public can begin checking out items from that collection July 1. Items will include a musical keyboard, a jewelry-making kit, a soap-making kit, a Fitbit, a cooking spiralizer and more.

Circulating cake decorating pens have already been rented out, and Morris said they are quite popular. 

The entire collection has drawn rave reviews so far.

“(Public reception) has been very positive so far,” she said. “When we announce the new items on our Facebook page, we always get a lot of likes, shares and people tagging friends and relatives.

“We have circulated items 260 times from this collection since it launched in February, and people have tagged us on social networks when they’re using the things they check out.”

For a full list of items in the collection, visit www.cmpl.org/library-things-to-go.

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