Mansfield’s Object Library goes beyond books



MANSFIELD – Did you know that not only can you consult a book to learn how to knit, but you can also remove needles and thread?

The same goes if you need a laminator, want to make a giant cupcake, or hope to try out your bocce skills.

These items are all part of the new Mansfield Public Library Object Library.

“We had seen this in other libraries and wanted to add it,” said library director Catherine Coyne.

“If you look around Massachusetts – the region, the country, the world, for that matter – you’ll see that there are a lot of public libraries going around – and they’ve been around for a while – well, things,” Zeb Wimsatt said. , youth services librarian. “And it ranges from puzzles, cake pans and video games to mobile hotspots, pressure washers, carpet cleaners, laptops.”

The new offerings became available in late September thanks to the efforts of traffic supervisor Darcy Bramley who researched what other libraries were offering and what might be popular with Mansfield residents.

The new Library of Things offers several categories of adult items – cooking, crafts, hobbies, and tech. There are beginner crochet kits with links to video instructions, an electric balloon pump for party decoration, cookie cutters and cake molds, a laminator, a slide converter, and games like the garden. Jenga.

The idea is to offer items that people may not have at home and only need once, Bramley said.

When asked what they would like to check out, Coyne and Bramley both preferred the karaoke machine with disco ball.

Mansfield Public Library Director Catherine Coyne, left, and Traffic Supervisor Darcy Bramley show off some of the activity kits available for people with dementia in the new Object Library.

The Library of Things also offers dementia / Alzheimer’s kits that include activities based on disease progression or stage. There are photo books to bring back memories, playable art balls, lacing cards and puzzles.

“I’m really proud of the dementia activities,” Coyne said.

Coyne said she thought her mom, who has dementia, would like to find items like the Watercolors Activity and the Spin Fidget Widget.

She said they asked the Council on Aging to help spread awareness of the dementia / Alzheimer’s kits.

There is also a library of objects for young people, Coyne said.

During COVID, the youth services department had items normally used in the library. When the library was closed to the public during the closings, the library allowed patrons to view these items.

Some things available in the Kids’ Objects Library include a roller piano, pocket microscopes, giant jigsaw puzzles, magnetic tiles, and card games.

“Regarding the library of things to serve children in particular: there are many ways to facilitate literacy and learning in general, and it makes sense to expand access to materials that complement and extend the learning processes that libraries have historically supported, ”Wimsatt mentioned.

“Our library of objects for young people includes traditional puzzles, games and toys, of course – play is so important – but it also includes boxes of permanence of objects and other Montessori materials, instruments of electronic and analog music, coding kits and simple robots, microscopes, astronomical binoculars, an electric rocker.

From Thursday through October, the Youth Services Department will be hosting LOT events from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., during which items from the Object Library will be offered to families, Wimsatt said.

“It’s kind of a Library of Things petting zoo, with materials for kids of all ages,” they said.

Mansfield Public Library's new object library includes activity kits for people with dementia.

The very first item taken from the adult collection was the garden dice and when returned the dice were immediately taken out again, said Bramley.

The items were purchased with library funds as well as donations. Coyne said they hope to expand the collection and welcome donations as well as suggestions of what people would like to see offered.

“We want to hear from customers what items they would like to see available,” Coyne said.

“We started out small and as the articles come out we’ll see what’s popular,” Bramley said. “Someone once suggested adding a microscope.”

Mansfield Public Library recently launched its Library of Things - arts and crafts, cooking, events, hobbies and tech items that patrons can borrow.

“There are also basic object libraries – tool libraries, for example,” Wimsatt said. “Over the past couple of years, with the increase in community outreach efforts to address the challenges posed by the pandemic, I think – I hope – that we will see organized lending of things become more and more common, in libraries and beyond. “

While not part of the Library of Things, Mansfield is also now lending tablets, purchased with COVID relief funds, and boxes of Frenzy Movies that include several films of a genre like horror, the dancing, vacations, classic books and more.

Mansfield Public Library's new Object Library offers a variety of kitchen items on loan.

“Public libraries have a long history of providing access to information resources beyond the printed book,” said Wimsatt. “We make it easy to access – free and fair access, I hope – to all kinds of resources and services, and the Object Library fits pretty well with our approach. “

For more information on the collection or to make a donation, residents can contact Bramley at 508-261-7380

For a list of the Youth Library of Things, go to

To take a look at what’s available in the Library of Things, visit

Editor-in-Chief Donna Whitehead can be contacted by email at [email protected]. You can also friend on Facebook. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to Journal News Independent today.



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