Books, obviously – books to borrow, computers to use on site, playrooms for children. But in Nova Scotia, as throughout North America, more and more libraries are moving beyond just books. Libraries of Things, as they are called, allow people to borrow useful but often expensive objects, like toys and tools and use them for a few weeks or so, until the project is finished or the children grow bored and clamour for something new to play with.
The Halifax Tool Library, created six years ago, has a huge collection of tools for carpentry, gardening, electrical and automotive work, remodeling – thousands of tools of all kinds. It also offers workshops in how to use them properly, including some specifically for women. It’s entirely volunteer-run and low-cost, with annual membership fees of $60. www.halifaxtoollibrary.ca
At the Bay Toy Library in St. Margaret’s Bay, parents can take their small children to play groups and check out toys to bring home, toys that may be too expensive for the family budget. When the children lose interest, they can return the toy and take home something new, something else that grabs their attention. Borrowing toys and recycling them not only saves families money, but prevents them from acquiring a heap of toys that sit, unused, after the children have grown bored with them – toys that the next child will pick up with pleasure.
Bay to Library Website: www.baytoylibrary.ca
And at the Cape Breton Library, along with sheet music and play scripts, is a varied collection of useful objects, like snowshoes, radon detectors, and fitness kits. All the libraries of things rely on donations of the useful things, and all are ways to pool resources and save.
Cap Breton Library Website: https://cbrl.ca/collections