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Libraries Sharing Household Items Along with Books

Gillian Murphy is director of the Elting Memorial Library, and she’s proud of the impact it’s having on her community. She said, “It used to be all the information people needed was in books. Some people couldn’t afford books, and that’s why libraries came about. Now, information is online. Libraries have morphed.”

The transformation of which she speaks is a movement that’s catching in libraries across the country. More and more of them are being identified under the catch-all label “Library of Things.” These are places that feature more than books to check out, but also specialty household items like board games, appliances, or yard tools. Murphy said, “Something you’d borrow from your neighbor.”

As of this writing, a brief Google search for “library of things” reveals hits for similar collections in places like Berks County, Pennsylvania, Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Sacramento, California. But according to Murphy, the key to a successful library of things is the same as it is for any library--it must be reflective of the community’s needs and interests.

That said, Murphy is gratified at seeing the library continue to be a hub of community interest, where people can not only borrow useful items and not have to buy them, but also gather for events and socialize. She says the library of things has driven more people to sign up for library cards. Librarian Stephanie Harrison concurs, “A library card is the most valuable card in your wallet.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Part of being in the family of God is cultivating a heart of generosity to help meet the needs of everyone in the community.

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