A Woman Walks Into a Library…
But the part that fascinates me is the Purse Game, when emcee Wayne Brady (or, for those of us of a certain age, the late Monty Hall) would pay someone to produce something out of their bag, from a stamp to a hard-boiled egg – and almost always, someone would have it. Mary Poppins has nothing on those folks with their mystical handbag superpowers.
Which brings us back to the woman who walked into the library a few weeks ago who was looking for a broomstick. After a little searching, a yardstick was produced from the reference desk (of course) and … was able to get into the truck she had locked her keys in.
Libraries are great for books, magazines, books on CD, music, DVDs and e-books. But it is really fun when we can help you find something that isn’t necessarily on a shelf.
Some things are easy – paper clips or scissors, a piece of tape or a blank piece of paper. Or, more challenging needs, like helium or headphones. And then there are answers, which are a bit of a grab bag: Do you have a particular book? (Let’s check.) What is Michael J. Fox’s middle name? (Andrew.)
Libraries around the world loan out the weird and wacky, which actually aren’t weird or wacky because they are needed enough to be made available.
This past year’s American Library Association president, Loida Garcia-Febo, was a speaker at the Missouri Library Association annual conference and listed a number of unusual ways libraries serve their communities. I decided to do my own search and came up with this partial list:
- Animal skeletons (University of Alaska Anchorage)
- Cake pans (Andover, KS)
- Dog (Yale Law School)
- Fishing poles (Brewerton, NY)
- Ice cream maker (Hillsboro, OR)
- Power tools (Oakland, CA)
- Santa suits (Bolivar County, MS)
- Seeds (Pima County, AZ)
You can see an infographic of 50 such items here.
Of course MRRL has some pretty creative items for checkout. Once upon a time, we checked out art and dogs. (Um, Dewey the Dog that is, kind of a Flat Stanley for vacations. You can still see one in Children’s if you look very carefully.)
Nowadays we have different (but still creative!) options: Chromebooks and mobile hotspots. Games and children kits (containing anything from themes to science to coding). Mental health kits and a walker. (Plus, we have plastic bags to tote what you check out.)
The bottom line is, if you are looking for something, try checking with us. You can be sure you’ll never get zonked. We like a challenge!