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if your library offered this, would you check it out?


kfeusse
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We have a very small library in our small town and I am on the library board.  

 

One thing we are thinking about doing is building thematic totes with books, puzzles and other learning things to be checked out and used at home.

 

There would be a list on the tote to the contents and to the dollar amount if something went missing or was broken beyond repair. 

 

If your library offered this, would you check them out?  Or would you be too nervous about losing or breaking something? 

 

If so, what sort of things might you like to see in the tote or what theme might your kids be interested in. 

 

Right now we are wanting to have the totes for toddlers...but if it would go over, we might try preschool and kinder totes.

 

thank you very much. 

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We have it and we do! Granted I am paranoid and the kids all know the wrath of mom includes grounding from visiting the library for a month if they lose or break a piece. They can be requested throughout our system, but are not renewable. They are fun for a break from mommas lesson plans and we usually pick one up once a month. If you want to see more, PM me and I can send you the link to our local system.

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Well, I'd worry about stuff like toddlers putting stuff in their mouth.  Not that this doesn't happen with books.  And like you said...stuff going missing. 

 

And stuff like small toys and puzzles or even picture books, I had 100,000 of these things.  Unless you live in an area where you think many might lack these things, it's not something that's super expensive to obtain. 

 

So...I dunno.

 

 

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Well, I'd worry about stuff like toddlers putting stuff in their mouth.  Not that this doesn't happen with books.  And like you said...stuff going missing. 

 

And stuff like small toys and puzzles or even picture books, I had 100,000 of these things.  Unless you live in an area where you think many might lack these things, it's not something that's super expensive to obtain. 

 

So...I dunno.

 

I did think about that.  

 

But when my kids were little, we would do a toy tote trade with some really good friends of mine...and our kids LOVED getting our friends tote...even if it was something similar to something else we owned...it was different...and somehow more fun. 

 

But I totally see what you are saying too...

 

looking for more input.  Thank you very much.

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Our library has backpacks that can be checked out. They include robotics kits, electronics kits, microscope, and other science stuff. They are very popular and you aren't allowed to place them on hold.

 

We have a homeschool library within driving distance for us. They offer puzzles and games that can be checked out. Each box is clearly labeled with all individual pieces listed. Before checking one of them out a librarian checks that what's in the game is what's written on theirtag. When you return these items, again, the librarian confirms the contents of the box.

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Our library system in the largest in the country and has preschool, kindergarten and some older kid kits.  They used to be in backpacks but now they are in plastic boxes with handles.  Here is an example of one:  https://kcls.bibliocommons.com/item/show/436806082_books_to_grow_on   It has books, videos, music cds and often a puzzle, game or felt set like this one. 

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Our library has always had and checked out wooden puzzles, learning toys, Montessori items (too $ for a family to buy) etc.  Great resource for parents, they can check out new stuff for bored kids without spending a cent. 

Edited by JFSinIL
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The large library near me has "Storytime Bags". They include a picture book and stuff related to the book. Examples are puppets, felt board items, a magnifying glass and bugs (in glass) to look at, different rocks and crystals, and models of planes. I got them when the kids were little on occasion, and one semester I taught storytime to the PreK'ers at our co-op using them.

 

We don't have anything like this for older kids.

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Our old library had these and we loved them. They had some sort of theme for the younger kids and typically included items to help you learn about it. For instance if the theme is ocean there's be a picture book with the ocean theme, some non fiction books to go along, maybe a puzzle (think the very large piece Melissa and Doug type), and two or three other hands on things to go along (learning resource catalog things). They go all the way up now through middle school with more in depth topics with fun hands on things. Things you'd probably see in a catalog but couldn't justify buying. One for the older kids is a kit on pyramids and there are a couple of books and a block set that is for pyramid building. They also have snap circuits, Lego education kits. Electricity, magnets kits and so on.

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I'd be nervous about the puzzles or anything with a bunch of pieces. Our house is just not conducive to me being able to supervise that sort of play. A microscope or other things like that would be great though. Our library here has a raspberry pi and 3d printer.

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Our library also does date night kits which, according to the librarians, are popular with men. Here's a sampling of what's in them:

 

Picnic Perfect - a picnic basket, blanket, wine cork, a portable speaker, and games

French and Italian Experiences - cookbooks, scenic puzzles, three movies related to the countries and cultural CDs

Game On - board games, puzzles and a pizza cookbook

Here's Looking at You Kid - a classic movies kit with five classic movies, a dessert and popcorn cookbook and a cocktail recipe book

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Our library loans thematic kits.  The bird kit contains an Identiflyer with songbird sound cards, bird guides, a couple of picture books, binoculars, and an activity sheet.  The rocks and minerals kit includes samples and a scratch plate along with guide and storybooks.  The weights kit contains a balance scale and weights.  In addition to books and resources, each bag contains a laminated card listing the contents.  These kits are shelved in the children's area. It is the borrowing patron's responsibility to check the contents of the bag against the card and notifiying staff of any discrepencies before borrowing the item.  Otherwise, the patron may be charged for missing or damaged items.

 

Recently the library started loaning games. Empty game boxes are on display.  The patron takes the box for the desired game to the children’s department desk and checks out a bag containing the game plus a laminated card listing all the items that are in the bag.  The box stays in the library staff area until the game is returned and contents are checked.

 

I am more concerned about losing game pieces than parts of activity kits.  Mainly because the pieces are smaller and harder to find if lost.  

 

ETA: You asked about preschool kits, most of those contain a puzzle or game, a music CD, some storybooks, and an activity sheet.  There is one about tools that contains a toy toolkit, a Bob the Builder music CD, Gail Gibbons' How a House Is Built and some other storybooks.    

Edited by Sherry in OH
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Our library does have something similar and we have checked them out. They aren't out on a shelf, you have to ask for them and there is a price list so you know if you lose a puzzle or whatever how much it will be.

 

When we have checked them out, I keep the tub in my room so the kids have to ask before playing with it.

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Our library has learning bags for the toddler-kindergarten age. They have a theme with books, music, and games. There might be puzzles in some. There were plastic bath toys in one. We checked out two or three, but then I wouldn't let my kids check them out anymore because they were so, so dirty.  The bags are in high demand, which is nice, but they got worn out so quickly. It was like normal wear and tear was accelerated like crazy once the items went in the bag.

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Our library has these. They are thematic. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I hate having more things to keep track of when we are already checking out 30 plus books usually. I hate the ones that have puzzles...too many pieces. 

Each kit is in a backpack that has a laminated card that lists the contents. There is also a photo of all the stuff.

I like that my kids like them. But, between hauling (now) 4 kids around, and all the books we check out, it's something I try to discourage.

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IMO, unless it's a large library system that has the budget to replace items frequently, I wouldn't put things with many small pieces. Our library has science-themed backpacks---they include five books and an activity sheet with a list of related experiments. The preschool packs are also themed and include books usually a music CD.

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Ours used to have great science kits - I am not sure why the discontinued them. I had (have) one and one day it was no longer listed in the system -- so I still have it.

 

It had books and videos on a theme along with a folder with science experiment info - a lot laminated and some other materials. Ours also included a price list for each item it is lost.

 

We now just have reading or school readiness kits that are not quite as involved and are geared towards younger children.

 

And not related but our library also has other items like crafting stamps or knitting needles to borrow. The neighboring county library has toys available - gross and fine motor, social toys and things like puzzles too.

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We have some backpacks like that. I have checked out two in the past. We couldn't find a part when I went to return it and I looked all over the living room. That was the only room we used it. It was like a plastic carrot or something. That was years ago! I still don't know what happened. Maybe it was missing before we got the backpack. I told them we couldn't find it. I would have replaced it or paid a fee if they wanted. After that, yes, it did make me think twice about checking them out.

 

But I think they are neat.

 

To me some of those age categories are interchangeable... I don't know that you have to see them as toddler vs. PreK or PreK vs K. The ones we had were about basic counting and directions (above, below, beside, etc.) among others. Those were the two we checked out. I don't know what else is available. My son struggled with a few of the directions in K so he was probably 5 when we checked it out.

 

My advice, have the items counted in front of the parents twice... before and after they are checked out? That might be annoying to some, but I think ours was only counted upon returning and by that point I couldn't remember if we ever had as many as we should have.

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Our libraries offer Playaway preloaded tablets, cases with toddler toys inside, science kits like snap circuits, and notebook-bound science curriculum including experiment instructions. One also has a makers space in which science, building, and craft toys can be used but not taken home.

 

We use (or will use) all of it. As far as I know, there are no prices listed anywhere. That feels...wrong to me. 

 

I do limit what we take out to Times when I know I will be able to monitor their use and care for them properly.

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Our main library has stuff like that, or at least I know they did years ago.  I thought it was a terrific idea, but we never actually used them for the reasons mentioned, AND because I've always been a terrible library user (or wonderful, if you think about all the books they may have bought from my fines.)  I don't remember all of the specific rules, but I'm pretty sure they had a shorter borrowing period that wouldn't have worked for us.

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We had several kits like this.  Some were backpacks - an "Arthur" backpack would have an Arthur stuffed animal and Arthur books.  Bugs backpack would have some large plastic bugs and bug books.  They also had whole bins of stuff.  The bins would be on a theme like bugs.  They would have not only bug books and plastic bugs, but activities to study bugs outdoors, how to make bug snacks, bug videos for kids, bug puzzles.  The big difference was not only the sheer number of stuff in the bins, but also suggested activities.  

 

I got the big bins and backpacks when I had ds#2 as the only one looking at the kit.  Once I had more kids, I didn't get them just because there was a good chance I would lose something in the kit.  They had a list of everything in the kit and there would be times that one of my children took part of the kit somewhere else in the house.  I did not like looking all over for each part and didn't like having to be so vigilant that they kept everything together.

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