September Pathfinders: A different take on libraries

Libraries are no longer just about books. Most have museum passes and most lend out a variety of items, along with audio books, movies, just to name a couple. Some libraries are lending out e-readers and Kill-a-Watt devices (for measuring electric use of your appliances). This month’s pathfinder will look at some of the interesting and different things libraries are doing.


First a little history; this site will provide you with some information about how libraries began.

And then there was the first library as we now know them–even students were allowed in. Read about it at:

Little Free Libraries began when a Rotarian in Wisconsin built the first one back in 2009 to honor the memory of his mother who was a teacher. Read all about it and see the different types at these sites:

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Photo from:

Go to this site to see all kinds of Little Free Libraries.

Portland started a “Coffeehouse Library” project. Learn about it at:

Photo from:

Photo from:

Coffeehouse Library Project

This library owns a couple of great picture books about libraries–stop in and check them out.

The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume de Laubier

The Public Library by Robert Dawson

Some libraries deal with exclusive things only. One local library lends music only and has a world-wide reputation. See their website for more information.

How about tool libraries (what a good idea!)?–2

Check out the following library sites to see what else some of them lend.

New Gloucester’s library has a collection of cake pans to loan out. Click on the following link to see their selection.

The Patten Free Library in Bath lends out American Girl dolls and has an American Girl book club. Check it out at:

Five libraries in Maine have seed-lending programs. Check it out at:

Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick lends out e-readers and GPS devices with their “borrow a gadget” program. An IPad is available for use in the library

Topsham Public Library loans out fishing rods and binoculars. See their site at:

The McArthur Library is lending out recreational equipment such as snowshoes, fishing poles, volleyball and croquet sets. Their site is:

York Public Library loans out 10 nature backpacks, filled with maps, books nets and more. See their site at:

Fourteen Maine libraries are part of the Cornerstone of Science. See that program and what they are lending at:

Cornerstone also lends out “Science Trunks” to libraries. There are several different types of sciences covered and provide hands-on-learning for different age groups. See the list at:

Portland lends out ukuleles (among other things) and has a ukulele group that meets twice a month. They also lend outmini-temp thermometers to help homeowners weatherize their buildings. See their site at:

Ellsworth Public Library loans out “Storybags” from their Children’s Department. Each bag has a theme, for example, there is one on elephants and one on colors. Other libraries in Maine do similar things. Check some out at:

Other libraries have similar kits. Camden Public Library has a “Discovery kit”. Check it out at:

And Baxter Memorial Library in Gorham have “Literacy Kits” for parents and children to work on projects together. See it at:

All Maine libraries are able to access the “Talking Books” program (for people who are unable to read conventional print) through Maine State Library. The service sends audio books to Maine residents who need them along with a tape player or CD player. For more information on the program go to:

Check this site for other unique things libraries are loaning out around the country, go to:


Kids and Teens

Did you know that September is National Library Card Sign-up Month? If you would like to sign up for a library card, ask your parents if you can get one and stop by the library!

Librarian for a Day Storytime: September 20 at 10:30 a.m.

All kids are invited to our September Saturday Storytime to be a librarian for a day! Hear a story, make a fun bookmark, and learn what it’s like to work at the library.


Photo from:

Photo from:

Check out these unusual libraries:

The 10 Weirdest and Most Wonderful Libraries in the World:

The Most Playful Libraries in the World:

Library Shenanigans: Unusual Libraries:

Book Vending Machine Dispenses Suspense:

The Best Fictional Libraries in Pop Culture:

15 Super Unique Libraries Around the World: