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At least one Vermont library has a skeleton in its stacks, but it's nothing to hide. In fact, patrons can check out the plastic bones and take them home, along with a model of a human torso and a variety of human and animal X-rays.
The Vermont Department of Libraries has results from a survey of libraries taken by a Marianne Cassell sometime between 1978 and 1985. It revealed that at one time: Rutland circulated film loops; St. Albans and Middlebury circulated magnifying glasses; Barre, Jeffersonville, Dover, Georgia, Stamford, Strafford and Wallingford circulated sewing patterns; Stamford and the Vermont Department of Libraries circulated pictures (prints); typewriters were circulated in Barre; and "sick-a-bed" kits (no word on what they were) circulated in Windsor - "hopefully infrequently," notes state law librarian Paul Donovan of the Department of Libraries, who pointed out the document and provided a summary.
These unlikely offerings represent the way that many of the state's public libraries are thinking outside the books, adding items to collections that can help residents save money, make money, educate children, get exercise, grow food or proclaim their heritage.
Library users can check out everything from practical items such as garden tools and snowshoes to whimsical things such as puppets and children's costumes (but no chainsaws, too hazardous). Librarians say it's all about serving the needs of their communities and enticing new patrons.