Library offers new “Library of Things”

FM Public Library Director

FORT MADISON – Fort Madison Public Library has two great programs for adults. 
Cook the Book meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 5:30 pm.  This is a fun program if you like cooking and/or eating.  Each month we pick a cookbook and that cookbook is available at the library.  Everyone who wants to participate picks a recipe from the cookbook to make at home and share with the group.  You can pick a recipe to try a new ingredient or style of food or to show off something you are good at.  Then, on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, we get together, sample what everyone created, and talk about what worked, what didn’t work and what we think of the cookbook in general.
The library’s book discussion group, All Booked Up!, meets on the 1st Thursday of the month at 1:30 pm.  This is a potpourri discussion group; we don’t have one theme or genre of books that we focus on.  Instead, members offer suggestions for books to discuss and the final selections are based on the library’s ability to get multiple copies.  We have read literary fiction, mystery, suspense, non-fiction and graphic novels.  Are you interested in the library starting an evening or weekend discussion group?  Contact Sarah Clendineng at or (319) 372-5721.

New Collection at the Fort Madison Public Library, a “Library of Things”
Libraries have always had books.  Okay, the earliest may have had scrolls.  Same idea, different format.  As times changed, so did the items contained in a library collection.  As libraries have transformed over the years, they have added magazines, records, audiobooks, videotapes, cassette tapes and DVDs.  Now the Fort Madison Public Library has added a completely different collection of items for the community to use – A Library of Things. 
There are some things people need infrequently, or for a short time.  Once they are used, they are relegated to the dark corners of cupboards and closets, sitting unused and collecting dust.  The new Library of Things will help provide community resources, reduce consumption and wasted space in homes while also providing access to items people might not be able to afford to purchase for themselves.
Thanks to a bequest from Aarin Guzman, we have been able to create an initial collection that includes toys, games, STEM kits, technology, baking pans, knitting, crocheting, and sewing supplies!  This collection will help the library meet its mission to encourage patrons to learn, and explore new interests and ideas.  Patrons can borrow items from the Library of Things during the brief time they need them or use them to explore new hobbies and skills.  Moreover, the Library of Things will grow, as we do plan to add to this collection over time to meet the needs of the community. 
While all items in the Library of Things are included in the library’s online catalog, they also have their own site linked from the library’s website,  Using the Library of Things site, you can easily browse what is available.  The objects in the Library of Things collection can be checked out for one week, though they can be renewed if no one else is waiting for them   Additionally, unlike other materials the library lends, the items in this collection can be reserved for specific dates.  For example, if you need a cake pan for a party on a certain date you can look up the item and reserve it.  Once it is available, the library will contact you.

The Most Exciting Things in the Library of Things

  1. Magic Eye STEM Backpack
  2. Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition
  3. Lady Bug Cake Pan
  4. Cake Decorating Basics (to help decorate the Lady Bug cake you just made)
  5. Floppy disk drive (if you stumble across some old floppy disks in the back of a desk drawer)
  6. Teach Yourself to Juggle Kit
  7. Sashiko Stencils
  8. Winter Cookie Cutters (gingerbread anyone?)
  9. Curious Coding STEM Backpack
  10. I Taught Myself to Crochet kit (this plus a couple of Youtube videos and you’ll be making your own afghans in no time)

Upcoming Events at the Fort Madison Public Library –
For the safety of library employee and other patrons, please do not come to library programs if you feel ill, have a fever or are waiting on the results of a coronavirus test.  The library is still offering curbside book pick-up if you need something to read, watch or listen to but want to keep your community healthy by temporarily quarantining.
1st Thursday @ the Library – September 2– Make the 1st Thursday of the month library day with no fines on overdue books returned that day, our book discussion group meeting at 1:30 and the launch of our monthly Take and Make craft.  September’s craft will recycle a coffee container into a countertop organizer. 
Pre-School/Toddler Story Hour –Wednesday morning at 10:30.
Thursday Crafternoon –Thursday, 3:30-5:00, for ages 14-adult.  This program is an opportunity to spend some time working on an in-depth project for the whole month.
Hang Teen – Tuesday, 3:30-5:00 (except for September 7 and 21) for ages 12-19.
Minecraft –3:30-5:00, ages 9-18 on Mondays. 
Wacky Wednesday – School is out early September 1 and 15.  We will have a craft day from 1:30 to 2:30 pm on both days.  On September 1, make a Frog Fly Catcher and on September 15 make a fun fish craft.
All Booked Up! – The library’s book discussion group meets on the first Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m.  On Thursday, September 2, we will be discussing “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson.  October 7 will be the novella “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King.  Copies of the book are available at the library for check out.  Join us for a lively discussion. 
Cook the Book – We’re back in the kitchen and sharing all kinds of yummy food.  This month’s cookbook is “100 Days of Real Food on a Budget” and is available at the library.  Pick a recipe and prepare it to share with the group on September 14 at 5:30 pm.  In October, we’ll be picking recipes from “Home-Style Soups, Salads and Sandwiches”.

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