Clackamas County Libraries to create “Libraries of Things”

Items from a Library of Things

Pay attention to your local library in 2019. In addition to checking out books, eBooks or a DVD for movie night, many libraries are planning to make a variety of new “Things” available to check out, such as novelty cake pans, ukuleles, board games and more!

A collection of non-standard items housed at a library is commonly called a “Library of Things.” In the coming months, eight Clackamas County public libraries plan to open one in partnership with the county’s Sustainability and Solid Waste program. 

The libraries involved are Canby, Estacada, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Sandy & Hoodland, West Linn and Wilsonville. 

“Our libraries are always looking for new and innovative opportunities to stimulate the imagination and promote lifelong learning, particularly where money, space or other issues may hinder a person’s ability to do so otherwise,” said Sarah McIntyre, director of the Sandy & Hoodland Public Libraries. “We’re excited to join this growing movement among libraries.” 

Hillsboro Public Library opened a Library of Things in 2015, starting with board games. It now hosts over 200 items—including an air fryer, karaoke machine, and VHS to DVD converters. This past summer, Beaverton City Library also opened a Library of Things. “We don’t need a lot of space to house these items because they’re in such high demand, they’re always checked out,” said Michele Caldwell with Beaverton City Library. To manage demand, many libraries have multiples of popular items.

A Library of Things also helps promote a more sustainable community. “These collections support a growing trend of people downsizing and decluttering their lives from the “stuff” we tend to accumulate,” said Stacy Ludington with the Sustainability and Solid Waste program. “It takes natural resources such as land, water, fossil fuels and metals to grow and manufacture the items people buy. However, if 10 people share one item, the energy and resource consumption needed for everyone to enjoy it decreases significantly.”

Residents can take a survey online to offer feedback about what types of items they would like to check out at their local library. Surveys can also be completed at local libraries.

Contact: Kathryn Kohl, Member Services Librarian
Phone: 503-723-4915
Email: kkohl@lincc.org 

Contact: Cameron Ruen
Phone: 503-742-4335
Email: cruen@clackamas.us