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Posted on: December 28, 2018

Checkout the Library of Things at Your Lewis & Clark Library

You can check outa sewing machine

Checkout the Library of Things at Your Lewis & Clark Library

December 18, 2018 (Helena, MT)—Did you know that in addition to books, DVDs, and a full on-line library, the Library also has a Library of Things for checkout? Featuring a sewing machine, ukuleles, Wi-Fi Hotspots, and a CPR training kit, the Library of Things is available for checkout to all Lewis & Clark Library patrons.

Collection Management Librarian James Parrott explains that the Library of Things is a result of “the amazing thoughtfulness and engagement of staff members who are not otherwise routinely involved in material selection.” Parrott goes on to explain that the growth of the Library of Things at the Lewis & Clark Library is more organic than at other libraries, “Many libraries have a Library of Things that is a formal part of their collection management process; our collection has grown organically through donations of items from programs, staff, and other local resources.” Parrott would like to see the collection grow and is open to suggestions from patrons as to things to add to the Library of Things collection.

According to Parrott, the Library of Things began over a year ago with the Library’s purchase of mobile hotspots: “these were intended to provide the opportunity for Internet access to Library users in rural areas of the county, to those who may not be able to afford Internet at home, and to those who may need access while traveling or just away from home,” explained Parrott.

From there, the collection grew with the addition of the ukuleles provided by the Helena Ukulele Club. “The ukuleles were cataloged along with instructional books to form really user-friendly kits.” Parrott goes on to explain that providing more musical instruments is something the Library hopes to do in the future through the Library of Things. “Many patrons have expressed interest in checking out instruments from the Library so maybe we will try to add a guitar in the future.” The Ukulele in a Bag kits are available for a 28 day checkout period.


The Lewis & Clark Library partnered with the State of Montana Department of Health and Human Resources to provide CPR kits to patrons for self-training purposes. Available for a 21 day checkout, the kit features 10 practice dummies and two instructional DVDs to make it practical for small groups to learn basic CPR. While certification isn't available through this method, you will learn how to potentially save a life.


The sewing machine is the most recent item to be added to the Library of Things. “We acquired the sewing machine through the State Library and it includes notions and a convenient case to make transporting it easier.” Parrott goes onto explain that “all of the items in the Library of Things can be found in the Library catalog and are searchable by name.” Parrott wants patrons to be aware that checkout lengths vary for the items in the Library of Things: the sewing machine and ukulele’s are available for a 28 day checkout; the CPR kit can be checked out for 21 days; and the mobile hotspots are available for a 14 day loan period. Patrons can put holds on the items via the Library’s website or the mobile app.


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