Libraries have always had books, but these days, they provide more services than just literature, including art rental. Culture Couch got interested in who actually uses the art rental services—and I met one young library enthusiast showed me an amazing art gallery he created in his apartment, all on loan from the library.
Taylor Kordic is a senior at Cedarville University. He’s 23, and he frequents the library more than most. One day he decided to use the back entrance for the first time and noticed some paintings hanging rather oddly. He approached the librarian and asked, “What’s up with those paintings? Do I check those out?” He thought the question was a joke, but it turned out, the art was available to borrow.
When you walk into his place in Yellow Springs, you find 45 or so books stacked on his coffee table about a foot high, along with 20 or so DVDs under his TV. And of course on just about every available wall there is an amazingly diverse gallery of artwork.
“I thought I should decorate the walls,” Taylor said.
When I asked him about the amount of paintings he has hung in all, doing the math in his head, Taylor figures he’s borrowed about 50—right now, he has ten.
The Yellow Springs library has offered the circulating art collection to its card holders since 1978. The collection is titled after local artist Corky Schiff. But these days, this type of service is actually not unusual. Michelle Francis with Ohio Library Council explains the new role of libraries. She explains, “Their primary role and historical role has been to provide books there are so many things today that they do for people and those things that they have for people that are beyond the books”.
She says communities kept requesting new alternative services for libraries, like seed libraries or art borrowing. And once they started doing it, libraries got more cardholders, and could ask the state for more money to support them. She says libraries all across the state not only have art collections, but some loan out voltage meters to check wires or appliances while others have recording studios.
Michelle adds, “one of our libraries in northeast Ohio has an amazing cake pan collection. If you're getting ready to have your child's birthday party and you want to make them a Spongebob cake or a Dora the Explorer cake and you don't want to go out and buy the cake pan, you can borrow it from the library”.
In our area, we know Yellow Springs and Springfield have these art collections. But the collections aren’t always advertised—you may just have to check your local library. I spoke with Connie Collett, the head librarian at Yellow Springs. She makes sure to mention a special feature when you check out art here.
“When you check one of these out, you don't just carry it out like it is. We have custom made carrying bags for each item, the volunteers have made for us. So they're nice, padded, cloth bags to protect it from going in and out of your car”.
When I ask Taylor Kordic, the one with 11 pieces of library art in his house, about those bags, he laughs. “The bags are super dope. Apparently there are volunteers that crochet. So I don’t know how to make a bag, but they make these bags and they’re awesome. A lot of them have really cool designs. I would pay for the bags, as much as I would pay for the paintings.”