Thursday, April 29, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

When I was a kid, one of the big thrills in the school library was the filmstrip collection. We couldn't take them home, but we could use them there. Thinking back, they were really less than exciting, but then there were only five channels on tv back then. I used to bring home, and read, a book a day.

Nowadays you can borrow not just books, but magazines, music, movies and audiobooks. You can download eBooks, audiobooks and movies from the Upper Hudson website from the comfort of your own home. We, and many of the libraries in our system, also have museum passes which you can check out. They usually offer free entrance for two adults and two children--we have them for MassMOCA, the Berkshire Museum, and the Schenectady Museum. Each of these is a great attraction for all ages. Here is a shot I took at MassMoca, which is the largest center for contemporary visual and performance arts in the United States.

We used the giant blobs like funhouse mirrors. Hey, art can be fun.

Because we believe in the Healing Power of Handiwork, we also circulate Knitting Kits, a handy bag with a pair of needles, a short instruction booklet and a ball of yarn. I worked at a library that circulated fishing poles. It was common once upon a time for libraries to circulate framed paintings and prints. I know of libraries that circulate jigsaw puzzles, board games, and computer games. And I've heard of libraries that circulate shaped cake tins--isn't that a great idea?

Our library moved into its new space last September--what new item would you like to see us circulate? 


  1. I think buried in my collection I have some of the old narration records (from before they shifted to audio cassettes)that were to be played with the film strips. I love the indicator 'ding'telling you it was time to turn to the next exciting frame.

  2. Yes! I remember using those black plastic 10 lb tape recorders. "DING" I miss those. Microfilm, I do not miss thee. What a pain in the neck that was...

  3. Circulating museum passes, especially considering the price of admission these days, is an amazing idea. I just got an e-mail from our library asking if we'd be interested if they obtained passes to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. YES!

  4. Some years ago, at a different library, I called museums to ask them to participate in such a program. At the time, it was much less common than it is today. They were dismayed, at first--give away admission to a whole family?--but soon realized it was a win-win for everyone.