Libraries across the country are transforming how they serve their communities. New programs pop up to meet current trends; new platforms are developed to support emerging technologies; and new materials are added to library collections.
The Cedar Rapids Public Library has a very special collection of items called Spark Kits, which are specifically designed to provide patrons with unique experiential learning opportunities.
“A Spark Kit combines activity or craft supplies with instructions on how to do the craft or activity,” said Erin Horst, Materials Manager at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. “It’s a fun way to try something new without having to make the investment in supplies or track down everything you need to get started.”
Spark Kits can be found on Library shelves wherever the topic area may belong. For example, a Spark Kit on crochet would be found in the stacks among craft books (CRAFTS 746.434). Anyone searching for a kit can find a complete list by using keywords “spark kit” in the catalog search bar.
“Part of the library’s mission is to enhance quality of life for our community,” said Horst. “Our craft books are extremely popular and we wanted to find a way help people take the next step and try something new. It can be intimidating and expensive to get all of the supplies together for a new hobby and we felt this would be a very fun addition to the Library’s collection.”
Spark Kits are designed for all ages, with some specifically made for young learners. “Our Spark Kit, Jr. collection has everything from bug identification to learning how to button or zip up clothes,” said Horst. “The adult kits have a variety of crafts, hobbies, and games to try. We’ve also introduced a special early literacy set of kits for a local initiative called Ready10, which focuses on the 10 skills children need before starting kindergarten.”
Spark Kits are a great way to test out a new hobby or special interest. However, they aren’t the only special items you can find in the Library’s vast collection of materials. Patrons can also checkout WiFi Hotspots, video games, Launchpad Tablets, and book club kits. And new items are added to the collection regularly.
“We’re always adding new Spark Kits.” said Horst. “We’ve just added a kit to learn how to drum. It includes an instructional DVD, drum sticks, and a drumming pad. We’d like to keep exploring options for musical instruments. We’ll likely also expand into more crafts, like knitting and rubber stamps in the future.”
Keep browsing the stacks and exploring our online catalog to discover all we have to offer, and take some time to check out a new adventure today.