7 surprising things libraries loan other than books

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Windows of the Vancouver Public Library


Libraries are branching out a bit further than the printed word these days. While books are still their bread and butter, some public libraries have decided to be a bit more creative in what they offer. Here's a list of some of the most surprising things we found Canadian libraries are loaning. Check them out below!


1. Fishing tackle

Residents of Sudbury, O.N. have all of their fishing gear needs met by the Sudbury Public Library, which lends out fishing rods and tackle to their members. You can get a book on local fish and then go catch them!

Sudbury fishing tackle

Sudbury fishing tackle loans at the library (Photo: Marina Von Stackelberg CBC)


2. Dogs

If you are a child (or know a child) between the ages of 6-12, who loves reading and loves puppies, head over to the Yellowknife, N.T. public library. Their T.A.I.L.S. program provides therapy dogs to children so they can practice their reading. You have to say goodbye after 20 minutes, but who could want a better reading companion? 

Yellowknife TAILS program

Yellowknife Public Library TAILS program

3. Power tools

Pick up a jigsaw or a sledgehammer while you grab a new novel at the Toronto Public Library. Although, they can't fix plot holes, a partnership with the Toronto Tool Library is making a wide selection of donated tools are available to library users.

TPL Tool library

Toronto Public Library tool library

4. Clothing

The Edmonton Public Library offers clothing and support services to the city's homeless, who often use the library as a place of refuge from the cold environment. In addition, they provide literacy and education programs.

5. Wi-Fi hotspots

The Kitchener Public Libraryrecently became the first Canadian library to loan mobile wi-fi hotspots to their library card holders. These handy devices can be taken out for up to 21 days and give the user free wi-fi wherever they are.

6. Bicycles

In Hamilton, O.N., you may have to walk to the library, but you ride away on a set of wheels loaned by the Hamilton Public Library. Youth, aged 7-15, can take part in the Start the Cycle pilot program that lets library card holders check out a bike, helmet, and bike lights, just like you would a book. The bikes are even catalogued like books.

Hamilton bicycles

Hamilton Public Library Start the Cycle program (Photo: Dale Kent)


7. Seeds

Books may sow the seed of knowledge, but there's nothing quite like sowing actual seeds. The Greater Victoria Public Library partnered with a local group called Lifecycles to create a seed bank, where community members can borrow seeds, grow the plants, and at the end of the season, return the seeds they harvested.

Victoria Seed bank

Photo of seeds returned to the Greater Victoria Public Library seed bank

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