The “Unusual Stuff to Borrow” Collection at the Library

Does your library lend out cake pans? This one does!

Does your library lend out cake pans? This one does!

By Jimmie Epling
Darlington County Library System

With the holiday season fast approaching and thoughts of baking come to mind, could you use a jack-o-lantern or turkey cake pan? Yes? The Darlington County Library System can help you out with a cake pan from its “Unusual Stuff to Borrow” collection!

Libraries across the country are always looking for ways to better serve their communities. One of the best ways for us to serve the community is to capitalize on our strengths. One of those strengths is lending things. Libraries have traditionally loaned books, magazines, and in their time, LPs, cassette tapes, laser disks, and VCR tapes. We have added electronic books, magazines, and audio books, which you can check out through our “Digital Branch” at In years past, I’ve worked at Libraries where we even loaned art prints and 16mm projectors. Loaning things is part of what we do at the Library!

Why create an “Unusual Stuff to Borrow” collection? There are several reasons for such a collection. First, the items in the collection are things you will not often need. Second, you can get good use out of the item within the loan period. Another reason is the item is too expensive to buy for just one use or on impulse. Lastly, there is a need in the community for such items.

About four months ago, we introduced the “Internet to Go!” WiFi hotspot program at our Darlington and Hartsville locations. A WiFi hotspot is a device you can use to connect a wireless Internet enabled device to the web. We have four “Internet to Go” WiFi hotspots you can borrow at no charge for three days. These have proven to be very popular!

With the success of the “Internet to Go!” hotspot program, we are adding something new to what we are calling our “Unusual Stuff to Borrow” collection: cake pans.

The Darlington Branch is launching a “Cake Pan to Go!” loan program. The program will kick off on Monday, August 29th with four donated cake pans you may borrow, a jack-o-lantern, turkey, open book, or the character Strawberry Shortcake. You may borrow one of our cake pans for a week to complete your baking project.

The Darlington Branch hopes to grow its cake pan collection through donations. When we received a cake pan, it will be added to our catalog. You will also be able to browse through a binder of pan photographs at the Branch. If you have a cake pan you are no longer using, we would be happy to accept it as a donation for the “Unusual Stuff to Borrow” collection to share with others in our community.

In the future, we may add other “Unusual Stuff.” Libraries are lending fishing gear, telescopes, musical instruments, tools, night vision goggles, sports equipment, knitting needle kits, museum passes, and a variety of electronic equipment. You may well see some of these items and others added to this special collection.

Some 88 percent of Americans younger than the age of 30 said they read a book in the past year, compared with 79 percent of those older than 30. What was interesting to note in the report was younger readers see public libraries as essential in their communities. It is not because of the books available in libraries, but because of the programs, services, and unique collections offered through them. The “Unusual Stuff to Borrow” Collection is one way we can offer unique and useful things you can check out through the Darlington County Library System.

Author: Jana Pye

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