With winter here, your patrons may be interested in using your library to spin a yarn — literally, not just at storytime! Libraries throughout Massachusetts have knitting kits, clubs, and events. If you don’t already carry a kit, now is a great time to start: many patrons get interested in trying knitting or crochet for the first time in winter.
Kits, Collections and Cataloging
The largest discrepancy between our libraries in their knitting collections is how to list them. The most common listing is “knitting kit,” or “crochet kit,” but some will have it as a subheading under another title, such as “toys,” “makers kit,” or “crafts.” This type of listing can make searching more difficult for patrons, but sometimes the system requires it, so be sure to remind your patrons to use keyword searches if they don’t get results for any unusual items they search for!
One tricky cataloging issue is when something doesn’t quite fit in the category patrons may be looking under. If your network does have a standard category for knitting kits, but you circulate round knitting looms, the patron wouldn’t find it if they search “knitting kits,” so you may have to put extra effort into advertising their availability.
Some libraries have, in addition to or instead of cataloged items, uncataloged needlework supplies as more of a give-and-take set up. Grafton set up 2 large give-and-take bins and found patrons receptive to both donating and taking from them.
A few libraries began by keeping needles available and allowing patrons to borrow them on the honor system, but Fall River advises using kits specifically: Gayle Orlando (coordinator of their Needlecraft Club, which hosted a Yarn Bomb event), initially supplied knitting needles for people attending the club to use, with the request they be returned on the next week. But without a barcode, patrons forget to return the needles. Continue reading