A new Pew Internet reporttakes a close look not only at how Americans are using public libraries, but also what sort of services and programming they think libraries should offer — and what they say they would use in the future.



For this last point, we asked about a range of potential offerings, including online “ask a librarian”-type research service, mobile library apps, library kiosks in the community, and pre-loaded e-readers available for checkout. A breakdown of these ideas’ overall popularity is included below; more information is included in the report, and tables with demographic breakdowns for each item can be found in the appendix.

But we also wanted to include illustrations of some of these more innovative services, to see what they look like on the ground. To that end, we’ve collected examples of many of the types of services mentioned in the report, as well as some “fun and funky” services that we’ve seen pop up at libraries across the county.

Examples of services discussed in the report

Technology “Petting Zoo”

The Kent Free Library in Ohio “has hosted ‘Technology Petting Zoos’ to give patrons and community members a chance to have hands-on interaction with a variety of tablets and e-readers. In the library’s meeting room, 12 different devices are available to try out with a librarian on hand to explain their features and detail the differences between various devices.”

Digital Media Lab

The Skokie Public Library in Illinois “offers a digital media lab, a space with content creation tools that allow patrons to create and share video, music, photography, and design projects. Customers have access to computers with editing software, cameras, camcorders, microphones, and musical keyboards. Additionally, the Skokie media lab has a green screen wall for video projects.”

Technology help

According to the American Library Association, 35% of U.S. public libraries offer one-on-one technology and/or research help with library staff.

The Arapahoe Library District in Colorado offers Book-a-Librarian help in English, Spanish and Russian.

The New River Library branch of the Pasco County Library System in Florida has Teen Technology Tutors who receive volunteer hours by tutoring older adults (ages 50+) one-on-one in beginning computer tasks. And the George W. Covington Memorial Library in Mississippi offers “One-On-One Basic Computer Training For Visually Impaired (& Sighted) Individuals.”

“Redbox”-style library kiosks and outreach services

“In 2008, the Contra Costa County Library [in California] launched ‘Library-a-Go-Go,’ the first automated book dispensing machines in the country. The machines hold up to 400 books which can be browsed from a touch screen. The book dispensaries at available 24/7 and operate like ATM machines with a swipe of a library card to dispense books. Users can have up to three books checked out at a time and return the books to the Library-a-Go-Go machines.” According to the library, “The automated library vending machines have been successful in expanding a library’s presence into areas where they could not traditionally reach.”

The Carson City Library Branch Anywhere in Nevada “provides patrons at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada with access to current library materials, digital tools and librarian-educator programming. The secure automated library machine stores 240 items, handles loans, accepts returns, and connects to the library’s automated library system. Circulating items include hand-held electronic devises, DVDs, books, games and puzzles.”

The Free Library of Philadelphia has library “Hot Spots” that “bring computer access, classes, and the internet to neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. Hot spots can be found in Philadelphia churches, schools and non-profit organizations. Each Hot Spot includes computers, a printer, and all necessary broadband equipment, as well as a reference collection of Free Library materials.”

Mobile Apps and Websites

The Goethe-Institut New York Library’s Mobile Augmented Reality App “allows learners to explore German cultural heritage in New York City using archival documents, photographs, and multimedia narratives to bring to life United States history. Using this technology, users are able to hold up their mobile phones and see archival photos layered on top of the images visible through the camera’s phone. In 2012, the American Library Association recognized the library for offering cutting-edge technologies in library services.”

The Cuyahoga County Public Library of Parma, Ohio “created CCPL Mobile, an exciting new mobile app that enhances the library patron experience by giving patrons access to the unprecedented convenience of checking out items using their smart phones. The free CCPL Mobile smartphone app features a Digital Books & Media channel that makes finding and downloading e-books and e-audiobooks from the library’s collection. In addition to using the app to renew and reserve items, patrons can also use the tool to find library branches and hours of operation. The library frequently hosts ‘technology petting zoos’ to teach patrons how to use the CCPL tool, e-readers and e-audiobooks in the downloadable collection.”

The Contra Costa County Library in California has a “Snap & Go” project that allows users with mobile phone to access various library services via scanned QR codes. “By reaching otherwise time-pressed users while they are waiting in public spaces (at bus stations and buses), the library has managed to stretch its resources even while budgets tighten. Codes on signs at the information desk open up a text message to a text-a-librarian number; staff respond to the texts within 10 minutes. Usage of the library’s mobile website is up 16 percent since the program was implemented. To overcome many people’s unfamiliarity with QR code technology, library staff created an online guide to ‘Snap & Go,’ which received 7,900 views during the project’s first year.”

“To help students keep pace with the fast-moving trend in e-books, online databases, and other digital learning tools, Boston College High School adopted a cell phone policy at the start of the school year which allows student to use their cell phones for research purposes in the library. Additionally, the school provides iPads for all faculty, as well as for students in grades 7-10. The mobile initiative aims to foster an understanding of how digital learning tools can enhance secondary student information literacy experiences.”

Customized reading recommendations

The Scottsdale Public Library in Arizona’s “Gimme Engine” mobile websitehelps customers find a great book to read based on a library staffer’s recommendation and review. Gimme combines library catalog MARC data, content enrichment service images and descriptions, and library staff book reviews on Goodreads.com to create a unique experience. Gimme, which was developed with monies received from an LSTA grant, was created to meet a need stated by both library and non-library users; they wanted book recommendations powered by library staff. The Gimme engine is a creative solution to meet these customer needs.”

Online research assistance

According to the American Library Association, 70% of U.S. public libraries offer digital or virtual reference services.

At the Ohio State Library“professional librarians are available to answer your reference questions and to assist you in finding information. The service is one of the busiest of its kind in the United States. Ohio residents can log on from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., for an online chat session. The librarian will share expertise and provide high-quality, authoritative web sites and online database resources via web addresses within the chat.”

The New York Public Library’s “ask a librarian” texting service, “Ask NYPL,” “is a virtual reference service of the New York Public Library that allows patrons to submit research questions to trained information specialists via phone, chat, email, and text. Every day, except Sundays and holidays, anyone, of any age, from anywhere in the world can reach the library via various methods, including by phone, text message, and online chat.”

Libraries as incubators and creation spaces

The Library as Incubator Project “highlights the ways that libraries and artists can work together, and works to strengthen these partnerships. At a time in which both libraries and arts organizations are often having to do more with less, it makes sense for these two parts of our culture to support each other. The Library as Incubator Project calls attention to one of the many reasons libraries are important to our communities and our culture, and provides a dynamic online forum for sharing ideas.”

Coordination with schools and literacy efforts

Several libraries and schools have programs where children read to dogs, such as the Fairfax Community Library’s “Read To A Dog” Program and the therapy dogs at the Princeton Public Library. (The Harriette Person Memorial Library in Mississippi even has Beanie Baby Reading Therapy!)

The First Regional Library System in Mississippi has online after-school tutoring, and the Pima County Public Library in Tucson, Arizona has live stage shows of favorite children’s books, called “Story Town.” “Staff, partners and volunteers create lively Story Town neighborhoods like Literacy Lane, Fairytale Trail, Book Walk, Downtown, and Art Alley where they make crafts, watch dance performances, and participate in storytimes and mini-workshops throughout the day.”

Other programs and services

Unique Library Collections

Musical Instrument Check-Out Program – Lopez Island (Wash.) Library

  • “The Lopez Island Library offers a collection of musical instruments available for patron checkout. All the items come with carrying cases, tuners, and how-to guides, and a practice amplifier for the electric guitar. The items circulate for 28 days, like other library items.”

Website: http://www.lopezlibrary.org/music.html

LibraryFarm – Northern Onondaga (N.Y.) Public Library

  • “The LibraryFarm is an organic community garden on one-half acre of land owned by Northern Onondaga Public Library in Cicero, NY. Anyone can ‘check out’ a plot for no cost. Its purpose is to teach and learn ‘food literacy,’ as well as to preserve knowledge that our grandparents might have had but that never got passed down, and to provide fresh organic produce for local food pantries.”

Website: http://www.nopl.org/library-farm

Santa Suits – Patrons start reserving them in September at the Bolivar County Library System in Mississippi.

“Kill-A-Watt” meters to measure home appliance electric use – Offered at the Scarborough Public Library in Maine.

Telescopes – “The Portland Public Library, Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick and Raymond Village Library in Maine offer telescope checkout for patrons. As part of the program, local astronomy clubs, who serve as the caretakers for the telescopes, host sky gazing parties, sidewalk events and other programs at libraries on how to use the telescope and how to look at the night sky.”

And some more “Unusual Stuff to Borrow” at the Ann Arbor District Library system in Michigan:

  • Art Prints
  • Bi-Folkal Kits: “Older adults carry a rich history with them. Bi-Folkal Kits provide activity ideas and materials that allow older adults to reminisce and create connections with others. These kits, which can be checked out for two weeks at a time, focus on several different themes and can be adapted to inter-generational settings, religious groups, scouts, or schools.”
  • Book Clubs to Go
  • Brain Quest and Fandex Family Field Guides
  • Energy Meters for the home
  • Museum Adventure Pass
  • Music Tools
  • Park & Read Pass
  • Science to Go kit
  • Stories to Go: “Inside each is a collection of picture books, CDs or DVDs, and a resource folder of games and activities for young children all related to a theme.”
  • Telescopes

Other services

Health and Government Assistance

  • In Florida, “the Orange County Library System developed ‘Right Service at the Right Time,’ a sophisticated database-driven web application and virtual reference that connects people in need of government and non-profit public services with the appropriate public services.”
  • And in Arizona, “the Pima County Public Library offers on-site expert medical help, making the library the first in the nation to employ a public health nurse on site. The library nurse listens to the worries of the elderly, the unemployed and the homeless who turn to libraries for help and safety, and directs them to social services when appropriate.”
  • “The San Francisco Public Library helps patrons prepare for the USCIS naturalization interview by offering guides to naturalization, detailed practice materials for the new citizenship exam, and a list of local organizations that can help you with the naturalization process.“
  • The Judge Armstrong Library in Mississippi offers free tax preparation For seniors
  • In Kansas, the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library has been circulating magnifiers (hand-held, stand, illuminated, held like a cap on the head) for more than 35 years.” The library also has large type telephones; a machine that can enlarge newspaper print to 4 inches; memory kits for those with Alzheimers; and activity kits and games for Activity Directors, including a Karaoke Machine. The library also has a blood pressure machine, a scale, and portable exercise equipment (such as exercise balls) for checkout.
  • The Temecula Public Library in California “has developed new programming and created a resource center specifically for families with children on the autism spectrum by offering a new, monthly story time especially for two- to five-year-olds with special needs. The library created a ‘Play and Learn’ island, which is equipped with activities that have been proven to be entertaining to children on the autism scale, such as blocks, magnets, and other shapes. For parents of children on the autism scale, the library recently hosted a forum of autism experts who spoke about early identification and intervention of autism spectrum disorders.”
  • In Alabana, the Homewood Public Library’s Leaps & Bounds early childhood movement program helps children develop gross motor skills.

Family Services

 “Fun & Funky” Library Services, by State


Korean Discussion Group – Korean women improving their English. (Chambers County Library, AL)


Children’s fishing tackle available for checkout (Kenai Community Library, Kenai, AK)


Services offered at Pima County Public Library (Tucson, AZ):

  • Bookbike – “Using a specially-designed three-wheeled bicycle, library staff, Pima County Bike Ambassadors and volunteers ride throughout our community to visit people and give them free donated books, library cards, and information about library and literacy programs.”
  • Books on Wheels
  • The Catalyst Café program “brings people together each month to talk about technology and how it can serve individuals, neighborhoods, nonprofits and small business.”
  • CreateIT and iTNation programs give teens experience using various digital media software and allow them to teach introductory digital media classes to others.
  • Harry Potter Parties – According to the library, “after eight years, our library’s Harry Potter parties have become enormous community love letters to the boy wizard and his world from grandmas, teens, preschoolers, and everyone in-between. Party-goers come in costume to drink butterbeer, hear Harry and the Potters perform live, pose for photos, play wizard chess, and ride in the motorcycle sidecar with Hagrid. Attendance now nears 3,000 people.”
  • Library Nurse Program
  • MangaMania!! – The library’s annual manga, anime, and graphic novels convention for teens “combines hands-on workshops, cultural demonstrations, gaming (open play and tournaments), and artistic happenings where teens can develop their creative talents, build tech skills, and dive deep into reading.”
  • Seed Library
  • STEM Programs for Youth include Science Saturdays, astronomy programs, and LEGO Robotics programs for youth.


alt+library “Our programming initiative designed for (but by no means limited to) people in their 20s and 30s.  We’ve hosted Speed Dating and Speed Friending, Punk Rock Aerobics, Broke A$$ Holidays, and Herb Garden Mixology as well as many other unusual events.” (Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA)

Haunted history tour:  “Library staff present stories of grizzly deaths from Sacramento’s past and a horror film is shown for those awaiting their turn on the tour.” (Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA)

In-house writing and publishing center (Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA)

Wine tasting fundraiser Wine & Words (Huntington Beach Public Library, Huntington Beach, CA)

Food trucks and international food tastings (Palo Alto Library, Palo Alto, CA)


A librarian in the home: “This program sends librarians outside the library to the far reaches of their rural service area. Librarians are vetted and trained for this very specialized program, and often teach patrons on technology in their own living rooms.” (Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO)

A birthday party (for a fish!): “The Library fish, Dewey and Decimal are extremely popular and most young patrons stop for a quick visit when they are in the Library. ‘Dewey’s Birthday Party’ attracts 100+ patrons every year and the children enjoy fish-related crafts, stories, decorations and birthday cake.” (Pikes Peak Library District, Pikes Peak, CO)

Braille Writer, Assessment Testing Kits for School Psychologists – Colorado

“The participatory library” – A program creating opportunities for people to interact with information.  This ranges from learning how to make pie crusts, tie a scarf, make a geodesic dome, draw, paint, play the violin, make a video, etc. (Rangeview Library District, CO)


Health classes, including “An Intro to Tae Kwon Do” and “Color Your World – Exploring Stress Relief With Paint” (New Milford Public Library, New Milford, CT)

Stuffed Animal Sleepover (Darien Library, Darien, CT)

Silent Film and accompanied with live piano music (Darien Library, Darien, CT)


Jacksonville Public Library:

  • “Lost in the Stacks,” a one-hour weekly radio show, is done in partnership with the local NPR affiliate, WJCT. “DJs/librarians Andrew Coulon and Matthew Moyer play diverse selections from the library’s collection. Sometimes include local musicians and educators join Coulon and Moyer in the studio to select songs from the collection and share how these pieces have influenced their own lives.”
  • Home Energy Evaluation Kits – “To help residents save money on utility bills while helping the environment, the Jacksonville Public Library partnered with the local utility company (JEA) to circulate Home Energy Evaluation Kits – backpacks filled with tools to test the energy efficiency of homes. Over 1,300 kits were loaned in the first year.”
  • Zines – The library “currently circulates a collection consists of over 1000 zines, self-published pamphlets of all sizes and shapes, often covering subjects overlooked in larger scale publications. The idea is to circulate and preserve alternative media resources that inspire readers to re-examine and learn from alternative and under-served voices that represent our community.”
  • Oceanway Express Lockers “provide easy pick-up of library materials in an unserved part of the county through a system of electronic lockers accessible only by the customer that ordered the materials. Customers place holds on materials online or at another library and are able to pick up their materials at a convenient location near their homes, the Oceanway Community Center.”

Yoga classes (Mandel Public Library, West Palm Beach, FL)

Mana-Con: Comics Convention for Teens: An annual event celebrating art, comics, and culture. (Manatee County Public Library, Bradenton, FL)

Teen Battle of the Bands – The winning band will receive 10 hours of recording time at Clear Track and $1,000 cash. (Pasco County Library System -event held at Shady Hills, Florida)


Performers’ showcase: “Our library hosted a performers’ showcase where performers from throughout the state could come a do a 15 minute version of their show. We invited other libraries and any other organizations that book performers (nursing homes, etc.) and each performer had a table afterward where they could schedule shows with people. Performances were occurring all morning, and it was free and open to the public.” (Washington Public Library, Washington, IA)


Museum passes (Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL)

A farm-themed Early Learning Center, a children’s learning museum – “Maggie the milking cow is the focus of the room and is milked hundreds of times every day by children and adults. Everyone has fun learning about dairy products and then trying their hand at milking Maggie the cow. Maggie will be on display in the children’s department until November, when we will change the Early Learning Center exhibit to a new theme with new fun interactive learning opportunities.” (Waukegan Public Library, Waukegan, IL)

Wii bowling competitions for seniors (Des Plaines, IL) – mentioned in a recent Wall Street Journal article

“A ‘Star Wars Day’ featuring games for kids, volunteers dressed as storm troopers and lemonade served at a mock-up of the famous Star Wars Cantina.” (Joliet, IL) – mentioned in a recent Wall Street Journal article


Librarypalooza – Usually takes place during National Library Week. A big indoor “fair at the library, with giant games, bowling in the stacks, musical entertainment, storytellers, crafts, an ice cream bar, a Tech Petting Zoo, and more. (River Forest Public Library in River Forest, Illinois)


Hog-butchering demonstration (Central Resource Library, Overland Park, KS) – mentioned in a recent Wall Street Journal article

Coffee, Donuts & a Movie”: “At 9:30a.m. we offer this program to those who are interested. We provide the coffee & donuts and show a movie. The movies range from older classics to comedy to adventure to newer releases. Our audience consists of individuals who are retired to adults with developmental disabilities. During the summer months we try to show family related movies and some with bring their older children or grandchildren with them.” – Dodge City Public Library


Campbell County Public Library:

  • Lego club
  • Teens writing a manga book online
  • Class on making medieval weapons from office supplies
  • Sit down aerobics for seniors

Crafters Who Care” – Needlework lovers meet to knit, crochet, and talk. Using basic hat pattern, donated over 1,000 hats to local food pantry, hospice center, spouse abuse shelter, and shipped hats to soldiers overseas. – Boyle County Public Library

Laurel County Public Library:

  • Vintage dancers
  • Trapping and hunting
  • Mah-jongg
  • “Whisk Me Away” cooking series
  • Creepy Foods for Halloween
  • World Religion Discussion Series
  • Holocaust  Discussion Series
  • Adult Pottery Class
  • Mad about Mushrooms
  • Soapmaking
  • Introduction to Cake Decorating

“How to Cook Wild Game” series with Fish & Wildlife agency – Spencer County Public Library

Carroll County Public Library:

  • Belly Dancing classes
  • Bi-lingual homework help for Hispanic families; English as Second Language classes; Early literacy programming for participants’ children.
  • Best of the Best Seminar Series with college professors giving lectures
  • Magic – The Gathering Teen Tournaments.

How-to-festival (Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, KY)

Zombie Survival Training for Teens (to teach disaster preparedness) – Marshall County Public Library

McCracken County Public Library:

  • Legopalooza
  • Jedi Training
  • Princess Tea Parties
  • Book Discussions
  • Crochet, Knitting, Punch Needle, Cross stitch, Scrapbooking, Spinning (Yarn) classes
  • Diet and Diabetes Classes
  • Yoga

Clark County Public Library:

  • Hula hoops for exercise
  • Making duct-tape accessories
  • Making full-sized vegetable planters with recycled (free!) oak pallets
  • Making a “fairy garden” complete with miniature plants and yard art
  • Heirloom seed workshops including raising from seed, transplanting, saving your own seed
  • Local History potluck series (once a month) local historians, Chautauqua speakers, etc.
  • Needlefelting
  • Quilting
  • Traditional Kentucky textiles – rag rug making, cornshuck mats, rug hooking, etc.
  • Wheel-throwing classes (pottery)
  • Hypertufa plant container making
  • Soy candle making
  • Adult miniaturist’s clinic – Using Dremels, photographing dioramas, antique dollhouse furniture displays, historic doll history/display, miniature war machines, trains, etc. 
  • Heirloom poultry breeders – who bring their flocks with them!
  • Beekeeping for hobby & profit

Anderson County Public Library:

  • Seed lending library
  • Reading camp for struggling first grade readers
  • iPad and e-Reader/Kindle classes
  • Civil war re-enactment bivouac on back lawn,
  • Dessert contest, scarecrow making contest,
  • Classes on making wreaths, walking sticks, vegetable gardens, butterfly gardens, native plants and hypertufa

Madison County Public Library::

  • Libraraoke – karaoke at library
  • Nifty Needlers
  • Stone carving
  • Tie-dying
  • Online shopping
  • Couch to 5k running club
  • Yoga
  • Zumba
  • Qigong
  • Acupuncture
  • Pottery
  • Painting with Bob Ross
  • Financial and Relationship Peace
  • Lego Club
  • Wii Wednesdays for teens
  • Anime Club
  • Forever Young Adult Book Club
  • T-shirt makeover


Sports equiptment for check-out: “Our Library checks out basketballs to be used on the courts near the library.  We also have frisbees, jump ropes and hacky sacks available to borrow. The balls have been replaced many times through the years and have resulted in much good will with the kids afterschool. When they (the kids!) start bouncing off the walls, we suggest they bounce a basketball instead. We don’t require a card, just something of value like a backpack, instrument, cell phone, laptop. This is never a problem because the kids are only too happy to off load their stuff and let us keep an eye on it.”

Maker Mash-up: A mini-maker lab (Limerick Maine library)


Mini-golf (Brookline Public Library, Brookline, MA)


Comedy shows (Chelsea, MI) – mentioned in a recent Wall Street Journal article


Annual Worm Race – Kids bring live worm or borrow one from library to race. (East Central PL, Hurley)

LEGO Days – Families bring own legos & have build-offs and other contests – smallest, largest, etc. (Jackson George Regional Library System)

Car Seat Rental – partnership with Citizens Against Needless Death in Youth [CANDY]. (Jackson George Regional Library System)

Live arts programming with a bilingual Spanish / English translator present – “We’ve had community theater, opera, dance, magic, and all kinds of music.” (M. R. Dye Public Library, Horn Lake)

Library-Sponsored Farm-Team Baseball Games – Pearl Public Library.

Library-Sponsored Blues & Jazz Concerts – Harriette Person Memorial Library


Early literacy / wildlife “trunks”: “The Montana State Library has developed a partnership with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The trunks, which we refer to as ‘Ready 2 Read Goes Wild,’ utilize the ‘Growing Up Wild’ curriculum with a focus on Montana wildlife.  We have developed trunks that feature ungulates, bears, owls, creepy-crawlies, water, and tracks.  Each of the trunks includes between 15 – 20 books on the subject, (both fiction and non-fiction); puppets; the Growing Up Wild curriculum guide; and wildlife resources, such as grizzly hides, elk antlers, deer hooves, a number of rubber tracks, skulls, and more.  They proved to be immensely popular with libraries; there are now 30 of these trunks circulating throughout our state.  They circulate just like any library material but are especially popular with teachers and early childhood educators.  Additionally, MT FWP staff works with libraries across the state to provide programming in libraries on MT animals.”

New Jersey

Medford/Pinelands Branch Burlington County Library System offers Storytime Yoga, which “combines storytelling with practice of yoga involves listening and literary skills, body awareness, creativity and imagination.”

Bradley Beach Public Library:

  • Historic Walk Through Your Hometown – Guided walk through Bradley Beach in collaboration with Borough Historian that highlights significant historic landmarks and events.
  • Life-Size CandyLand – The library turns into Candyland board, “including all the different lands and yummy candy stops.”

Somerset County Library – Main Library:

  • Open Mic Night – Bridgewater Library hosts Open Mic Night to help local artists have their voices heard.  From musicans and singers to poets and comedians, over ten performers select pieces each night
  • Cupcake Decorating Program – Teen program on cupcake making and decorating

Ocean County Library:

  • Ready, Set…Date – Speed dating style program where men sit on one side of table and women on other. Men move every few minutes to introduce themselves to new women.
  • National Ballroom Dance Week  – Dance teacher for an interactive program.
  • Super Bowl 101 – Partnership with school coaches to bring football education and sports appreciation and to local community just in-time for the Super Bowl.

Princeton Public Library:

  • Annual Wine Tasting
  • Salsa Slam – Celebration of sauce and dance.  Local businesses and restaurants participated in a salsa tasting competition. Chefs used fresh local tomatoes, as well as other ingredients of the season.
  • Chinese New Year – Partnership with high school and Chinese Language School, activities include Chinese paper-folding, painting, calligraphy, knotting, games and dances including Lion Dance, Gu Zheng Solo, Gong Fu, Chinese Yo-Yo, Handkerchief Dance, & Taichi Gong Fu Fan.
  • Winter Farmers and Crafters Market – Farmers’ Market at library once per month. Locally made products, such as artisanal cheeses and honey from farmers and works of many craftspeople, are available for purchase.

New York

Competitive LEGO robotics team (Fayetteville Free Library, Fayetteville, NY)

Mad Men discussion group (Half Hollow Hills Community Library, Dix Hills and Melville, NY)

Fencing demonstration (Lee-Whedon Memorial Library, Medina, NY)


“Edible books” at Worthington Library (Ohio): Participants make an object out of food that represents a book. The objects are then judged and eaten.


Wildlife talks: “We have ponds and walking trails behind one of our library branches – so we have partnered with the local Audubon Society and another nature group, Jackson Bottom Wetlands, to lead walks and talk about wildlife and birds you see along the way.” (Hillsboro Public Library, Hillsboro, Oregon)

From the Ashland Branch Library of the Jackson County Library Services:

  • Owl Pellets – A presentation on owls where the kids and adults take apart owl “pellets” to see what they have eaten and digested.
  • Legos Sundays – Lego-building, with a theme (castles, bridges, etc.)
  • Naked Came the Rogue: a Serial Mystery set in Southern Oregon’s Jackson County – a serial mystery book, written by 9 local authors, based on librarians helping to solve the mystery of the dead bodies popping up in or near some local libraries.
  • Frankentoys – the teens took old stuffed animals and sewed new heads and body parts, added decorations, etc.

Portland Public Library:

  • FAFSA and resume help for Teens
  • Lectures in the Art Gallery
  • Dance, theater and music performance in our glass atrium to be viewed from the public square outside
  • Teen Game Night
  • Teen After Hours collaboration with the Portland Police Department
  • POV [Point of View] Documentary Film Series with local facilitators


Annual “Zombie Walk” around Halloween (Schlow Centre Region Library, State College, PA)


Living Books: Patrons “can ‘check out’ (interview) an interesting person on a specific subject-such as a mathematician or artist.” (Georgetown Public Library, Georgetown, TX)


Online Farmer’s Market – Library is pick-up point for orders. Supports local farmers and community. (Bent Northrup Memorial Library, Fairfield, VT)


Time travelers: “A children’s librarian at one of our libraries has a program where he goes back in time, kidnaps historical people, brings them back to the library,  asks them a few questions then sends them home. The kids get a little history lesson and lots of laughs.” (Henrico County Public Library, Glen Allen, Virginia)

Online E-Resources Scavenger Hunt: “The Library of Virginia and Credo Reference . . . partnered together to create a set of questions that take users through a virtual adventure, where points are earned and research know-how is accumulated. Those that successfully make it to the end of the mission even receive a printable certificate acknowledging the online trek.” (Library of Virginia and Credo Reference)

Children’s fishing tackle available for checkout (James V. Brown Library, Williamsport, VA)


Tasting food samples from local businesses (Brillion Public Library, Brilion, WI)

Puking Pumpkins:  “Choose your pumpkin, carve a face, and THEN create a chemical reaction causing your pumpkin to PUKE! This program is geared for children in 1st-6th Grade.” (Lester Public Library Two Rivers, WI)

Coupon donation and exchange: Patrons bring in coupons they don’t need or want, and exchange them for ones that they do need. “There is also a box for expired coupons which are sent to military families overseas. They can use coupons that are up to six months out-of-date.” (Ladysmith Public Library, Ladysmith, WI)


Tasting food samples from local businesses (Brillion Public Library, Brilion, WI)

Puking Pumpkins:  “Choose your pumpkin, carve a face, and THEN create a chemical reaction causing your pumpkin to PUKE! This program is geared for children in 1st-6th Grade.” (Lester Public Library Two Rivers, WI)

Coupon donation and exchange: Patrons bring in coupons they don’t need or want, and exchange them for ones that they do need. “There is also a box for expired coupons which are sent to military families overseas. They can use coupons that are up to six months out-of-date.” (Ladysmith Public Library, Ladysmith, WI)

Via Pew Internet