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Ogdensburg Public Library expands collection with cake pans and seeds

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Besides books and DVDs, the Ogdensburg Public Library is experimenting with new ways to increase community interaction by offering for loan everyday items residents might need, but not expect to see at the library.

The library’s cake pan and seed libraries operate like traditional book loans, but offer new ways for community members to participate with the library’s collections. Librarians hope the experiment draws new faces into the building.

“They’re really cool ideas,” Reference and adult librarian Stephanie T. Young said. “We’re hoping they work out.”

The cake pan library collection is as straightforward as the name suggests.

Community members, churches and other organizations have donated more than 20 cake pans so far, and the library loans them to bakers in need of something new. Once the baking is finished, they return the pans and the cycle continues.

Ms. Young, holding a decorative cake pan, said, “People will buy a pan like this and they use it once then they don’t use it again.”

Senior Library Clerk Jo-Ellen M. Murray said that problem is particularly acute when it comes to character pans that include the imprint of designs or pop-culture icons.

Oftentimes parents will buy the pans for a special event, like a birthday, and then they collect dust in a cupboard.

The cake pan library offers a solution to the problem of individual collections growing perennially more cluttered with unused pans by getting them into circulation throughout the community.

Ms. Young said the idea for the collection came from watching other libraries across the country do the same thing, and hopefully Ogdensburg’s library will likewise become a hub of baking ingenuity, she said.

The library is continuing to accept donations of cake pans for the collection.

Like the cake pan library, the seed collection is another way for the library to

integrate itself more deeply in the community, Ms. Young said.

The seed collection allows people to help themselves to seeds with the promise that at the end of the season, if their garden is successful, they will replenish the library’s collection with fresh seeds they produced themselves.

“At the end of the season they can let the plant go to seed and then they bring it back and that forms the basis of next year’s library,” she said.

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