Tucked between the holds shelf and the CD collection is an ordinary looking bookshelf lined with clear plastic tubs. These tubs contain one of the best-kept secrets at the library: the Explore Kits collection.
The Explore Kits are our “library of things,” which give the community an opportunity to check out items to expand learning, foster a hobby, or support adventure. Kits range from a Go Pro Camera and a sewing machine, to robots and a guitar — and everything in between.
“The Explore Kit program began in 2015 as a way of providing new experiences for library patrons,” said IT & Technical Services Manager Bud Hunt. “We wanted people to be able to take home a little something that could invite them into a new experience, to explore a new idea or concept. Explore Kits help people ‘try before they buy’ a latest gadget, or get into a new hobby without having to get large amounts of gear.”
Many of the first kits were small electronics that children were experiencing through school visits or in library programs.
“Turning the small electronics into Explore Kits allowed patrons to explore beyond the initial introduction,” Hunt said. “As the collection grew, we worked to try to put other experiences and items into kits that could go home.”
A small staff committee at the library meets regularly to decide what to add to the Explore Kit collection.
“We're constantly selecting items based on customer requests, programming that we're doing, and trends and needs we see in the community,” said Hunt. “In the future, we hope to partner with members of our business and civic community to help curate Explore Kits that would introduce our patrons to even more ideas, concepts and experiences.”
To view the Explore Kits, stop into the library or search “Explore Kits” in our online catalog to place a hold.