The Library of Things loans out everything from bread makers to ukuleles

Libraries loaning “things” isn’t a new concept. They were part of the sharing economy before it was cool. You could check out at the Newark (N.J.) Public Library back in 1904.

The oldest continuously operating toy library began in 1935, when a dime store owner decided that instead of chasing kids for stealing toys, he would loan out his surplus stock.

The Library of Things pull-out poster, illustrated by Brian Mead.


Click to expand the odder items circulating at libraries in North America.

Libraries aren’t just for books. Like Harry Potter’s Room of Requirements, they’ll transform into what you need them to be.

The Library of Things collections have expanded to include:art and craft, electronics, musical instruments, kitchen gear, science and maker, tools, and toys. There’s usually a small charge for items.

The classic Stanley Knife: reliable, sturdy, lasts longer than most marriages. Available for £1 a day from @libraryofthings


The London Library of Things, which launched in July 2016 with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, is free to join. Members can borrow up to five items per week and pay a fee for each item —around  50 pence for an adjustable wrench or about £10 for an outdoor gazebo.

Growing Things

Some libraries even loan out growing things. They allow users to ‘check out’ seeds for a growing season. Borrowers agree to plant the checked-out seeds and then return seeds from the yield to the collection for the following year.

The Oxford Library of Things says it is on a “mission to make borrowing better than buying” which will cut down on waste.

It loans out things like drills, bread makers, tile cutters and loppers.

According to the UK Library of Things Website:

90% of borrowers say they now have more money to spend on things important to them.


75% of borrowers feel better connected to their community because of Library of Things


Having used Library of Things, borrowers are 60% more likely to repair or recycle items.



Mending Meet-up @libraryofthings. Wouldn’t be the same without the swimming trunks & the elephant.


Some of the more unusual items available at the Pendleton community Library in Indiana are an electric typewriter, internet hotspots, and a telescope. The library also offers its patrons binge kits, which contain classic television shows and popcorn.

What’s in your Room of Requirements (besides a good book)?