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Library of Things: Okanagan Regional Library adds educational tech to catalogue

Coding robots, birding backpacks, radon detectors and thermal cameras available to borrow
Sphero Bolt and iPad kits are available to borrow through Okanagan Regional Library’s Library of Things. (File photo)

The Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) is inviting users to borrow an experience with its Library of Things.

Accessible through the ORL’s 28 branches, the Library of Things (LoT) offers technologies that can be used at home to do such things as learn about coding, explore birds in your backyard or check your home for heat loss.

There are currently eight items (with multiples of each) available in the LoT, several of which support the STEAM (science, technology, arts and mathematics) educational approach. They include Snap Circuit Jr. (circuitry, electronics, inventing, engineering), Sphero Bolt and iPad kits (coding, robotics, computer science), Ozobot Evo (coding, creativity), and the Code & Go Robot Mouse (coding, robotics).

Other educational offerings available to borrow in the LoT include microscope kits and birding backpacks, which include a pair of binoculars and books to support your birdwatching experience.

ORL community learning and assessment co-ordinator Naomi Van Caillie said the LoT gives kids a chance to try something at home that they may have used at school or elsewhere, at no cost.

The Library of Things also includes items geared towards adults. Home energy kits are available to borrow. These kits include a thermal imaging camera that can be used to detect heat loss in the home. Van Caillie explained these kits were available with support from the City of Kelowna and Fortis BC.

Another useful item available through the LoT are radon detectors. Thanks to support from the BC Lung Foundation, radon detector kits can be borrowed to measure radon levels in your home.

Van Caillie said the latter two items, both popular and in high demand, have been available through ORL’s branches for a couple of years. However, with last year’s gradual introduction of the educational kits, it was decided to incorporate the radon detector and home energy kits with the LoT, making them easier to find, and to help build interest and excitement about the collection.

As it does with books and other items available to borrow, ORL is accepting requests for new items to consider adding to the Library of Things.

“We are compiling a list of what could potentially be the next wave of kits,” said Van Caillie. “We have no idea when a second launch of another batch of kits could happen, but we are definitely taking suggestions. Because it’s about meeting our community needs…”

To learn more about the Library of Things, visit Borrowing items from the LoT can be arranged online using your ORL account, or at your local ORL branch.

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