HomeThe CSWD BlogGeneral TopicsSurprise! Libraries loan more than just books

Surprise! Libraries loan more than just books

What do a telescope, a heart-shaped cake pan, and a life-sized Jenga set have in common? You can borrow all these items from a library here in Chittenden County!

You’d be surprised at all the things they’ll lend besides books, magazines and DVDs. Several libraries right in our neck of the woods have a “Library of Non-traditional Things” (LONT) you can check out, use as needed, then return — all for free.

Borrowing > Buying

How many times have you actually used that garment steamer you bought before your wedding? Did you really need to buy a croquet set for that Labor Day party you had back in 2009 and haven’t used since? Maybe you wanted to give a slideshow at your grandmother’s 80th birthday but didn’t have a projector?

So many of the things we accumulate get used once or twice, just to sit and gather dust for years and years to come. Or we forego a project or fun activity because we don’t have the right tools or gear. By borrowing instead of buying, we can save ourselves money and space and still do that “someday” project. Plus, by reducing our consumption we can even help fight climate change.

Who lends what?

Fletcher Free Library in Burlington has more than160 items to be checked out, including every garden tool you could imagine. Fletcher Free’s LONT program started in the 1980s—with tennis rackets and garden tools—and the program grew faster than a summer zucchini. In the last year, they’ve expanded the LONT, and one of the most frequently rented items is the metal detector. Why a metal detector? Patrons use it to find keys lost in a snowbank—how Vermont!

Puzzles and games available for borrowing at the Brownell Library

Aside from lowering your consumption and waste, borrowing an item may help you uncover a new talent or hobby you didn’t know you had. Milton Public Library’s telescope may entice those who are astronomically inclined, or you can “try, not buy” several board games from the Brownell Library. You can practice the ukulele at home by checking one out at Essex Free Library. For gardeners or plant enthusiasts, Charlotte Public Library has a seed sharing library and an Extractigator—a tool made specifically for removing those nasty invasive plant species from gardens and fields.

Charlotte Library also has three “ClearStream” waste stations you can borrow to keep your party, celebration, or sporting event as low-waste as possible. The town used CSWD’s Recycling and Composting Container Grant funding to purchase these. Maybe your town could do the same!

Next time you’re searching the web or on your way to buy an item you may only use a few times (if ever!), search your local library instead. You may even meet an uber-helpful, friendly librarian while you’re at it.

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Lauren Layn
Lauren Layn