Santa Barbara- S County

Library of Things helps local libraries write a new chapter

Librarian: 'Like a petting zoo for technology'

Goletas Library of Things

GOLETA, Calif. - There is a pilot program quietly taking hold at the libraries in Goleta, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo.

"It's sort of like a petting zoo for technology," explained Allison Gray, Director of Goleta Valley Libraries.

Our crew visited the 'Library of Things,' a collection of its own which, at first glance, may look simple and sparse but that's because most of the items are checked out.

"They can be as low-tech as cake pans and jigsaw puzzles and high-tech as virtual reality goggles," Gray said.

There are more than 40 items in the collection and another 50 waiting to be put in the system, which falls under the Black Gold Cooperative Library System, serving branches in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

Gray shares an inventory list of pictured items which include a coding machine disguised as a toy caterpillar for kids, Roku Streaming Sticks, Firesticks and a synthesizer key board.

Local library users are allowed to check out each item for up to three weeks at time.

Gray said one of the more popular items checked out is a kit containing a pair of goggles and a UV flashlight to detect pet urine, stains, and bed bugs. However, the number one item checked out is far more enjoyable.

"Our ticket to Moxi," Gray said. "We have two family passes that allow a family of five to go to the museum for free. "

The Moxi passes can be checked out for one week at a time and as Goleta resident Natalie Uruk knows, a year-long family pass to the children's science museum can cost upwards of $175 dollars.

"It saves a ton of money," Uruk said after using the pass.

"It will soon be our fourth time as we go there as a family and this is so exciting, kids absolutely love it," Uruk said.

Gray said the 'Library of Things' is based on a concept from the 1960's and 1970's,

"A lot of libraries had collections of paintings and fishing poles that they used to check out," Gray said.

Obviously, times have changed and thanks to Gray, so have the items.

"It's really convenient to be able to come in and check out a Garfield cake pan because, I mean, you use it once and you're probably never going to use it again," Gray said. "So, why have to buy it on your own? Why not just check it out from the library."

For more information about Goleta Library services, click on the City's website:
For more information about Black Gold Cooperative Library System, click here:


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