Library of Things

Purpose of the Collection: The Library of Things collections owned and circulated by the CAMALS libraries offer materials not traditionally associated with libraries for patrons to check out. The goal of this collection is to support the mission of the CAMALS to provide our communities with the excitement of discovery through materials, personal services, programs, and equipment equally accessible to all. In addition to supporting the library system’s mission, the Library of Things also aims to:

· Promote experiential learning

· Support creativity and hands-on making

· Offer resources for patrons to explore topics of personal interest

· Generate awareness of new and emerging technologies and ideas

· Create connections within our community by exploring shared interests

Selection for the Library of Things falls under CAMALS’s general Selection Policy, which can be found at:

These guidelines are not intended to change or alter that policy but to clarify some specifics concerning how it applies to the Library of Things.

Donations: Donations are accepted according to the Carroll and Madison Library System’s Selection Policy (see above). We recommend that, whenever possible, patrons who wish to donate items specifically for the Library of Things collection speak with the Library Director to ensure the item is appropriate for CAMALS’ Library of Things collections and is in complete working order so as to not create a financial burden for the library if repairs or maintenance are necessary. Donations are considered outright and unrestricted, and there is no guarantee that a donated item will end up in the collection.

Guidelines and criteria for selection: The Library Director will use their training, knowledge and expertise along with the following general criteria to select materials for the collection. The following considerations should apply when selecting materials for inclusion in the Library of Things collection.

· Processing and circulation – the size of the item and how it will be packaged, processed and stored should be taken under consideration for judging how practical checking that item in and out regularly will be and how the item will be kept at the library. Wherever possible standard packaging that has been approved by CAMALS’s Technical Services Manager should be used.

· Cost – the Library Director decides how best to distribute the budget and what the limits are for cost of an item.

· Longevity – breakable parts, multiple pieces easily lost, and the likelihood of an item getting damaged or dirty should be weighed against the cost to purchase, process, and maintain that item. The Library Director should evaluate the durability of items added to the collection and formulate a reasonable expectation for how long the item can stand up to heavy use. Items that need frequent maintenance should be avoided (for example, musical instruments with strings that break frequently in the normal course of use, let alone heavy use).

· Safety – patron safety is a priority, and potential safety risks that an item poses must be considered. Items should be packaged appropriately with visible warning labels if needed.

· Community interest – patron feedback and suggestions are gathered through a number of sources (emails, surveys, purchase request forms, and in conversation). Library staff also look at library circulation and programming statistics to get a general sense of what is popular and in-demand in our communities and uses this information to guide selection.

· Access – thought should be given to what items might normally be inaccessible to most patrons. Providing people with tools they can benefit from but would not normally purchase or otherwise obtain for themselves makes acquiring that item for the Library of Things collection especially important. Access can also mean providing items for checkout that might not be practical for a patron to own.

· Reviews – consumer reviews of products are essential in predicting what circulation problems might be encountered and should be given appropriate consideration.

Maintenance: When adding to the Library of Things collection, the Library Director should assess the durability of items under consideration and availability of replacement parts. Library staff should pull from circulation and inspect all items at least annually to ensure all components of each item are present and in good working order. If components are missing, the Library Director will decide if: a) the item can function well with the deficiency, in which case the deficiency is noted and the item is returned to circulation; or b) the item should be replaced, repaired, or withdrawn from the collection.

Location & Capacity: The Library Director should consider the overall capacity of the individual library and CAMALS, as well as where items will be shelved in those locations when items are not checked out. If it is determined that it’s not practical to place items on the public shelves and requires more secure placement, the Library Director must evaluate space capacity and determine proper placement prior to adding. In accordance with this aspect, items in the respective Library of Things collections at CAMALS Libraries will not be transferable or sent to other library locations due to their unique storage needs.