Monticello library adds ‘Library of Things’ to materials

There are many fun kits and items within the “Library of Things” at the Monticello library, including this disc golf kit. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

Several locals enjoy spending time using their metal detectors to find and locate treasures. This metal detector can be checked out from the library as part of the “Library of Things.”

Adults can also enjoy the “Library of Things” with this quilling art set.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Monticello Public Library is offering patrons something new that can be checked out like all other materials.

     The “Library of Things” was something Library Director Michelle Turnis has seen other, bigger libraries provide, and felt it was something the Monticello library could look into as well.

     The concept is to offer patrons a variety of materials other than the typical books, magazines, DVD, etc. The Library of Things consists of educational hands-on materials for people of all ages.

     “As libraries evolve, this is just another tool we can offer people,” Turnis said.

     For instance, the North Liberty library allows patrons to check out various sizes and shapes of cake pans for use.

     The Monticello library’s Library of Things includes:

     • Disc golf kit

     • Microscope and slides

     • Fuse bead kit

     • Watercolor painting kit

     • Metal detector

     • Picasso magnetic building tiles

     • Several different robotic kits

     • Electric snap circuits

     • 4-D anatomy models

     “We’ll add more as time goes on,” Turnis said, indicating other kits may include a GoPro camera, a telescope, and a GPS unit for geocaching.

     The idea of providing a Library of Things came about during the pandemic as people were sitting at home wanting to find unique and creative ways to stay entertained.

     Turnis said the library already had quite a few robotic kits that patrons could utilize while in the library. They decided to turn them into kits that could be checked out.

     The Library of Things has kits for children and adults. Only those 18 years of age and older can check them out. They can be checked out for two weeks, just like the other library materials.

     “They need to be checked out by an adult because these are a more expensive item,” Turnis warned. “We want to make sure parents are aware that they have these items at home.”

     Library of Things must be checked out and returned at the staff counter in-person at the library. They cannot be returned in the drop boxes outside.

     The kits were made possible by several generous funding sources: Friends of the Library, Panther Prowl grants, Theisen’s More for Your Community grant, and memorial donations from the family in memory of Sharon Zumbrunnen.

     As the Monticello transitions into more in-person programming at the library, some of these kits, such as the metal detector, could encourage local experts to share their wealth of knowledge with others.

     “These are all educational items,” Turnis said. “They’re good things for people to check out and try to see if it’s something they’re really interested in.”

     Turnis explained if the watercolor paint kit is something someone excels at, they could look into purchasing their own materials.

     “A lot of these kits could be good for homeschool families and those continuing remote learning,” added Turnis. “It could help support their curriculum.”

     The kits will be available for check out this week.

     “This is just another way the library can evolve,” said Turnis. “It’s just a place to check out books.”

     The library also has games for all that can be checked out for two weeks as well.

     The library is fully open for in-person use with regular hours: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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