Posts Tagged ‘borrow’

using-cookie-cutters_heroPhoto: Betty Crocker
Full-service libraries are starting to lend out cooking utensils as well as cookbooks.

You’ve heard of the Internet of Things, right? Using the internet to turn on the heat in your house before you arrive home from a trip, for example, or checking inside your fridge while you’re at the supermarket to see if you need milk.

Well, I just learned about something called the Library of Things. This expansion of the role of libraries is a recognition that you may not want to buy all the paraphernalia for making a gingerbread house, say, but would love to try making one if you could just borrow the equipment.

Deanna Fox writes at the Times Union, “When you go to visit Guilderland Public Library on Western Avenue [near Albany, New York], be sure to bring your appetite. Besides the expansive array of cookbooks in the stacks and shelves to peruse and whet the palate, the library now offers bakeware and food-related programming to make those glossy images in cookbooks a reality.

“Maria Buhl, department head for programs and services at the library, said its 2,200 cookbooks serve as the foundation for a new cake pan and cookie cutter loan program that provides patrons with a chance to use a piece of kitchen equipment that they typically could only access through purchasing it.

” ‘We choose items that are not things people want in their homes,’ said Buhl, who added that people enjoy kitchen gadgetry and trying new recipes, but purchasing the equipment needed to make the recipes is space- and money-intensive and having a lending library of novelty pans, Bundt pans, springform pans and various cookie cutters gives utility to the cookbooks the library offers.

“There are currently a few dozen cake pans and cookie cutter sets to choose from at the library, and Buhl said there are plans to add 15 to 20 more items. Some of the sets and pans are included in the ‘birthday in a backpack’ program that offers patrons a backpack filled with books, games, decorations and bakeware that all follow a theme (‘Dora the Explorer’ or dinosaurs, for example) to create a celebration with otherwise onetime use items.

“Tim Wiles, the library’s director, said the cake pan program is part of the facility’s ‘library of things,’ a growing trend among public libraries.

” ‘There is a general thought in society that because everything is on the internet, there is no need for libraries in general,’ he said, but the success of the lending of material items like bakeware or other items, like 6-foot folding tables that are often the top checked-out items in the ‘library of things,’ secures the purpose of a library in the age of digital information and media. …

” ‘Take a historical look at this. Libraries started in the mid-19th century because books were rare and expensive. It is all part of the sharing economy,’ said Wiles.

“Bakeware is no good without a recipe, however, and Guilderland Public Library’s cookbook collection is the highest circulating nonfiction collection in the library, said Buhl. …

“A new cookbook club at the library highlights one or two cookbooks per month that patrons can choose a recipe from, make a photocopy of, and take home to try. Patrons are invited to gather one night per month to share the dishes they make from the books and discuss them.

“September was the first month of the program and the chosen book was ‘Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking,’ by Linda Collister. … Because the measurements in the book were offered in metric form, conversion charts were provided for patrons. ‘It became like a STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math] program,’ said Buhl. ‘It was an opportunity for people to step outside of their comfort zone.’ ”

Now, that’s another good idea — especially in Suzanne’s kitchen, where the great recipes Erik remembers from growing up in Sweden are all in metric.

More information is available at the Times Union, here, or at guilderlandlibrary.org.

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New online services make it easy to borrow things you need temporarily but don’t want to buy.

Janet Morrissey writes at the NY Times, “When vandals broke into Stephanie Ciancio’s Land Cruiser in 2014 and stole her car stereo, she did not have the time and money to replace it. It was particularly vexing for Ms. Ciancio, a 34-year-old San Francisco resident, because she had been planning to take a four-day road trip to Fern Canyon, Calif., over the long July 4 weekend, and the idea of making the eight-hour drive without music was depressing.

“So she logged onto Peerby.com, typed in her predicament, and within 40 minutes was connected with someone willing to lend her a Beats wireless Bluetooth speaker for her car trip.” She was thrilled.

Peerby founder Daan Weddepohl, Morrissey contintues, “was born in Rotterdam in 1980 and developed a passion for computers and programming at a young age. ‘I asked for a compiler for my 13th birthday,’ he said.

“He pored over books and joined online bulletin boards to hone his programming skills. His parents, both psychiatrists, encouraged his entrepreneurial spirit and interest in technology. But it was a fire that ignited the Peerby dream.

“In February 2009, fire ripped through Mr. Weddepohl’s apartment building, … Most of Mr. Weddepohl’s belongings were destroyed by fire, water or smoke.

“He was devastated. But in the months after, Mr. Weddepohl watched in amazement as friends — and even strangers — offered furniture, tools and other items to help him get back on his feet. It was a revelation. “’ discovered that the people around me were so much more important than the stuff,’ he said. ‘People love to help other people out — we’re wired to help others.’ ”

Read how the Peerby concept grew from the ashes, here.

I blogged earlier this year about this concept. You can read “Borrowing Gadgets you Need Only Once,” here.

Photo:Jason Henry for The New York Times
Stephanie Ciancio was able to borrow a wireless Bluetooth speaker from Matt Dodge through an online service called Peerby.com. 

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National Public Radio’s Eleanor Beardsley reported recently on a borrowing trend.

Nothing to do with Mary Norton’s Borrowers, who gather up all the buttons and safety pins you’ve lost and store them in their home somewhere under your floorboards. No, this is about you needing a rarefied plumber’s tool to replace the kitchen faucet and deciding to borrow one for a day. (Maybe two days if a two-year-old I know offers to help.) All you need is an app called Peerby.

“It isn’t surprising that the idea for the borrowing platform Peerby [peer nearby] originated in one of the world’s most densely populated countries — The Netherlands,” says Beardsley.

“Founder Daan Weddepohl says he had the idea for the startup after his house burned down, and he had to borrow everything. At first, he says, he felt dependent, but then realized people generally like helping each other because it creates a bond. …

“In June, Peerby was selected best urban app in the AppMyCity! competition, held as part of the New Cities Summit in Dallas. Peerby hooks up 100,000 borrowers and lenders each month in the Netherlands. Since its launch in 2012, the company has expanded to Belgium, Berlin and London. …

“Cindy Bakum, an Amsterdam native, is a regular Peerby user.

” ‘Last time I had a friend over, and we were watching a movie on his laptop, but he forgot his adapter, and my adapter didn’t fit,’ she says. ‘So I put out a request, and it was actually my neighbor. He really lived on my block, and he had an adapter, so we could finish watching the movie. So that worked very well.’ ”

It’s all about the sharing economy. Read up on it at the All Things Considered blog, here.

Photo: Merriam-Webster

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