The Topeka Shawnee County Public Library is throwing tradition out the window and offering its patrons access to exercise equipment,cake pans, travel brochures and maps through new pilot programs.
There may already be books on crafts and baking available in the library’s “neighborhoods,” as they refer to different sections, but the pilot programs also allow visitors to partake in more hands-on experiences.
“There are so many things people don’t think about the library for,” said Diana Friend, communications and marketing director for the library. “We are responding to what people need.”
Patrons can pick from several different fitness kits, such as yoga, abs, kettlebell, speed jump robe, and cardio. The kits feature DVDs and any needed equipment to complete the exercises.
The fitness kits were added in 2012, as a pilot program. In the past year the kits have been checked out 180 times. A patron can use the kits for 21 days at a time.
This spring, the library also started offering arts and crafts kits. Kits available include crocheting, loom knitting, origami, and spool knitting.
Each kit has “consumable supplies” that can be used and kept by the person who checks it out. For example, a crochet kit includes yarn that can be used and kept. An origami kit features several different sizes of paper. The rest of the kit needs to be returned.
Since the spring, the arts and crafts kits have been checked out 123 times.