Lending libraries provides way to share, read new books

Nov. 12, 2012

Samantha Morley
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Take an inventory of your personal bookshelf, which books you have read and those you will possibly never open again. Found a few? Great. It’s time to share them with someone else.

Lending libraries at the Kraemer Family Library allow students to trade titles that they will not read again for other books.

One box is located at the main entrance of the library, on the floor in front of the desk with a map, and a second is on the desk at the back entrance.

The process of trading books has been around since the 1500s. Lending libraries gained popularity in remote parts of Europe before public libraries became common.

People would visit outposts where books would be dropped off and picked up by readers. It was how knowledge spread through isolated communities and lands.

It wasn’t until 1850 that the United Kingdom Parliament created the Public Libraries Act 9990, which allowed communities to establish free public libraries.

The United States and United Kingdom often use this method of book exchange, and UCCS has kept to the tradition with two of its own boxes.

Stormie Vialpando, 21, an art major, aims to build another lending library in the children’s section.

“I was going to make something – like a school bus,” Vialpando said, describing something that started as a class project. “My teacher said it would be a good idea to have a theme for the books I choose to put in it.”

Vialpando became involved with the project through Eric Steen’s library class. She was given an assignment to research libraries and heard about the process of lending. Since then, she has been spreading the word around campus.

“I think this is all great,” Katelyn Schuetz-Christy, Vialpando’s friend, said. “We went to Wisconsin this summer, and we saw [a lending library]. I asked my aunt what it was.”

Her aunt explained the process of taking a book and leaving one behind. “I like the process of sharing and trading versus having a card and checking things out,” she said.

UCCS has had an exchange shelf, which is similar to a lending library, for quite some time, but it’s located at what may be considered a more discrete spot in the library. From the main entrance, “it’s right around the corner in a little cubby hole,” Vialpando said.

Vialpando encourages everyone in the UCCS community to donate books to the lending libraries. The process is free and available to anyone who enjoys reading.