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Library of Things

Madison Public Library's Library of Things

Madison Public Library is home to more than just books! Our Library of Things includes a long list of extra and specialty items that are available to check out from some or all of your local libraries. You may be surprised to find that you can nab seeds at six of our libraries, or that two libraries have vinyl record collections. Browse below for some fun things to check out from Madison Public Library. 

Adaptive Toys

Adaptive Toys at Lakeview Library

Did you know we have a special collection of switch-adapted and sensory toys that can be checked out from Lakeview Library? An adapted toy activates with an adaptive switch, which lets adults and children with disabilities interact with electronics with a button press, eye blink, mouth puff or other motion. The user can use their switch to tell the toy to move, make sounds or flash lights.

Check it Out: Ask at the front desk, call 608-246-4547 or email: lakeview@madisonpubliclibrary.org.

Loan Period: 14 days

BCycle Community Pass + Helmets

Bcycle Community Pass

While e-bike checkouts from a BCycle station or mobile app typically require a credit card or smartphone to unlock, the Madison BCycle Community Pass Program introduces an alternative checkout method for riders that might have previously been unable to access bike share. Library card holders can check out one of the available Madison BCycle passes from any Madison Public Library location. The passes provide access to over 350 electric-assist bikes at more than 50 BCycle stations in and around Madison. Riders also have the option to check out a helmet as needed. Library card holders must be 18 years old to check out a Madison BCycle pass.READ MORE

Check it Out: Ask at the front desk if your library's BCycle fobs are in or call your library location to inquire. 

Loan Period: 7 days for both the Bcycle pass and helmet.

Birding Backpacks

Birding Backpack location guide from Madison Public Library and the Feminist Bird Club - Madison

Check out a backpack containing everything you need to try birding for the first time! Birding Backpacks include 1 pair of binoculars for adults, 1 pair of binoculars for kids, 1 Sibley's field guide for adults, 1 youth field guide from Madison Audubon and 1 location guide to help you explore potential birding spots near each library. Two Birding Backpacks are available at each library location. This is a walk-in collection meaning no holds are available and backpacks are distributed on a first-come, first serve basis. LEARN MORE

Check it Out: Ask at the front desk or call your library location to inquire. 

Loan Period: 7 days.

Book Club Kits

Graphic Novel Book Club Kits at Madison Public Library

Book Club Kits are a collection of donated and withdrawn copies of discussion-provoking books that can be used by book clubs. Each kit contains at least 8 copies of the book, and many also include discussion questions. You can browse the over 400 titles included in this special collection online HERE. Book Club Kits can be shipped to any Madison Public Library location, but also any library that is part of the South Central Library System.

Check it Out: Call 608-266-6300 and let us know what title(s) you'd like from the list. Due to high demand, we ask that you only check out 1-2 kits at a time.

Loan Period: 3 months from the day of pick-up.

Disc Golf Kits

Madison Public Library and Madison Parks offer free disc golf kits at libraries

Use your library card to try out Disc Golf at one of the local courses in Madison. Thanks to a partnership between Madison Parks and Madison Public Library, members of the public can check out disc golf kits from every library location. Each kit consists of a Play Madison Parks bag, four discs – a driver, a fairway driver, a mid-range, and a putter, plus local course maps, rules and etiquette, and information about the lending program. When checking out, users will keep their receipt and use it as their permit to play the disc golf courses for free.

Check it Out: Ask at the front desk or call your library location to inquire. 

Loan Period: 7 days

DVD Players

Every library location has a portable DVD player that can be checked out for use at home.

Check it Out: Ask at the front desk or call your library location to inquire. 

Loan Period: 14 days

Graphing Calculators

Students of all ages can check out graphing calculators from three library locations: Hawthorne, Central and Sequoya. Calculators can be checked out for 28 days and are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Check it Out: Ask at the front desk or call your library location to inquire.

Loan Period: 28 days

HappyLights

HappyLight Lucent Madison Public Library Library of Things

Each Madison Public Library location now has two LED light therapy lamps called HappyLight® Lucents available for checkout. These small, portable lamps provide 10,000 lux for increased energy, mood, focus and sleep and can be especially helpful during the colder, darker months. This technology mimics natural daylight, which triggers positive responses in your body to enhance well-being. Light therapy (also known as bright light phototherapy) has been proven effective for treating winter blues, sleep disorders related to circadian rhythm, irregular sleep schedules, jet lag, and general healthy light deprivation. This is a walk-in collection meaning no holds are available and lights are distributed on a first-come, first serve basis.

Check it Out: Ask at the front desk or call your library location to inquire. *Please return to the desk, not via the book drop.

Loan Period: 14 days

Portable Energy Meters

Portable Energy Meters available for checkout from Madison public Library

Borrow a portable energy meter, just like you would a book, to determine appliance energy consumption and help make your equipment decisions. MGE has donated many of these popular meters to area libraries, and you can check them out for up to a month.

Check it Out: Find and/or reserve a meter online by searching "Portable Energy Meter" in LINKcat.

Loan Period: 28 days.

Portable Record Player

Want to check out one of our vinyl records, but don't have a record player? We have a solution for that! Only available at Monroe Street Library, you can check out a portable record player for up to two weeks.

Check it Out: Ask at the desk or call Monroe Street Library at 608-266-6390.

Loan Period: 14 days.

You can also check out a turntable from Central Library by visiting the location, calling 608-266-6300 or emailing reference@madisonpubliclibrary.org.

Seed Library

Seed Library at Pinney Library

Madison Public Library's Seed Library has become incredibly popular! Library visitors can pick up herb, flowers and produce seeds from Spring to Fall to use at home. No library card or checkout is required. Simply visit the 6 participating locations (Goodman South Madison, Hawthorne, Meadowridge, Lakeview, Pinney and Sequoya Libraries) and pick up a packet of seeds. In Fall and Winter, the Seed Library switches to offering Native Wisconsin Seeds, which need to be over-wintered. LEARN MORE

Check it Out: This collection doesn't require a library card. Simply visit a participating location and pick up seed packets. 

Loan Period: Free to take, no return necessary.

Video Games

You can look up and place holds on video games using LINKcat. Our collection includes games for different ages like Pokemon, Minecraft, Fifa, Call of Duty, Hogwarts Legacy and many more. 

Check it Out: Search online in LINKcat and change the format to Video Game to see the collection or ask at the reference desk at your library location.

Loan Period: 28 days.

Vinyl Records

Vinyl Collection

Both Monroe Street Library and Central Library have vinyl records available for checkout. Just search in LINKcat for LP/Vinyl and you'll see our great collection, which includes everything from Taylor Swift to Hedwig and the Angry Inch to Led Zepplin. Or visit in-person to browse the record selection.

Check it Out: Search online in LINKcat and change the format to LP/Vinyl to see the collection or visit in-person at Central Library or Monroe Street Library to browse the record selection.

Loan Period: 28 days.

For Educators

Maker Kits available for checkout from Madison Public Library

Maker Kits

Educators and other librarians can check out these ready-made Maker Kits for use with their students or visiting patrons. There are nearly 20 different maker kits that have been designed over the years with the help of many Bubbler artists, summer interns, and fabulous in-house librarians. Many of the kits in the database also include facilitation guides to share materials and instructions, as well as best practices to invite open ended learning. Everything you need is included for projects from basic print-making to rubber band powered paper airplanes, to puppet making, to stop rockets. LEARN MORE

STEM Kits available for checkout from Madison Public Library

Stem Kits

Explore everything from simple tools and machines, to magnetism, to color and light. Each Madison Public Library Early Childhood STEM kit contains a set of resources, books, and activities to explore a different aspect of Science, Technology, Engineering or Math for children from 3-5 years old. Many of these activities are ones that you can do at home with simple materials - most materials are included, but some may need to be purchased prior to using the kit (ie: construction paper, pom poms, etc.). These kits are available for check out to early childcare centers, preschools, and 4K classrooms in the city of Madison for 4-6 week periods. If you are an early childhood educator and would like to know more, send us an email to youth@madisonpubliclibrary.org. BROWSE KITS

See more Educator Resources

Unique Online Resources

Hands-on Projects and Guides from the Bubbler at Madison Public Library

Hands-on Bubbler Projects & Guides: Over the years, the Bubbler has partnered with artist, makers, and librarians to create fun and simple open-ended projects that inspire creativity and innovation. Check out this bank of downloadable resources and facilitator guides for trying out some of these projects in your own space. LEARN MORE

Art with Amy: Check out our Art with Amy webpage, which includes supply lists and videos of local artist Amy making things like Treasure Maps, Flipbooks, and mini books. You can gather the supplies yourself and then follow along to do your own craft at home! GET CRAFTING

Cooking with Chef Lily: Learn healthy cooking tips and tricks at home with our online videos featuring Chef Lily, "The Kids Chef". She'll show you how to make Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, Quesadillas, Pepperoni Pizza Zucchini Bites and more. You can download printable ingredient lists and recipes and then follow along as Chef Lily shows you how to put it all together. GET COOKING