Blogger Emily Mroczek-Bayci

Big Ticket Library Purchases

A lot of libraries around me received renovations, and it’s always fun to check out what big ticket library purchases a library adds. In fact I’m pretty sure every library worker finds themselves lurking around local libraries while on vacation to “check it out”. Some items I see are totally unique while others are becoming more common. Here are some “big ticket items” that are surfacing in more libraries around the country.

Light Brites

A baby in front of interactive lite brite with analog dials that rotate through coloras.

Did anyone have a light board as a kid? While now you can make it giant sized. I have seen two versions, a giant light brite with removable pegs and also and Everbright which has analog dials that rotate through hundreds of colors. These are visually appealing, interactive and attract people in a variety of ages. They do take up a lot of floor space. There is a mini version which can be easier for smaller hands.

These items could attract people to the library, but they also could create questions about where to prioritize funds. Personally, I believe that if your community would actively use them, they are worthwhile.

Interactive Walls

A wall is a blank space, looking for something to happen. I’ve sign magnet walls, wipeboard walls, chalk walls and a multitude of interactive walls. Many furniture companies offer custom designed for your space, that can also be fit for the edge of shelving units. Some options include: sensory gears, projected images, a giant pin wall (soft tip push able pins) whirly ball wall (dual colored spinning balls), or a soar and catch scarf cannon (tubes and hoses with air pushing through).

Bonus piece: A library I used to work at has an interactive or “dynamic” floor, a projector with a built-in speaker, games, and motion sensor.

Parent-Child Carrels

This is a concept that went viral in the past year. There is a workstation for an adult connected to a small play space that can be latched shut, with peekaboo holes in the wood, a vinyl cushion inside and interactive games on the walls. The arguments for and against these spaces are strong, but they can be beneficial for caregivers that need to accomplish a task but not lose track of their child.

Fancy Carts

Drawers, and shelves, and knick-knacks, oh my. The possibilities of a giant cart with bins are endless. Maker carts or “art carts” took off a few years ago and can be filled with various art supplies like washi tape, card board, fancy scissors, feathers and more creative items. My current library recently purchased a sensory cart that is going to live in our wellness room. This cart has sensory touch panels and the bins are filled with fidget accessories and other items that promote accessibility.

Statement Pieces

One of my favorite aspects of a library are items that are unique and specific to the individual library. Pictured include by current library’s doll house, which is vintage- enclosed in glass and even has an interactive computer program so you can learn more about every room. Another local library has a beautiful child sized house made out of wed books and recycled book covers- a book house one might say. Statement pieces really add to the individual culture of a library.

Do you have any of these items in your library? What do you think of them? Are there any other “big ticket items” that you would recommend (or not recommend) purchasing?

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