When Mesa residents need to borrow a book, they can turn to the Mesa Public Library. But what about when they desire a little exercise in the park or want to bake a cake? Now, not only can residents check out their favorite classics on paper and disc from the library, they can also check out sports equipment and bakeware.

The Stuff-brary, available in all of Mesa Public Library’s four branches, boasts a unique variety of items available for checkout, from more than a hundred cake pans to duffel bags filled with themed items.

“We tried to think outside the box of what a library can provide for its community besides traditional media,” librarian MeLissa McAllister said. “There were similar systems going on in the library world, and we wanted to give patrons access to alternative materials they might need.”

McAllister said it began with the need from many patrons for locks to secure their bicycles while visiting the library and expanded with a donation of cake pans. Among the items the Stuff-brary has for lending is a Play in the Park kit that features 14 pieces of sports equipment (including a football, soccer ball, frisbee and whiffle ball set) as well as a croquet set. The themed sets can also be checked out for a week, but with no options to hold or renew, and must be returned to the same location from which they were borrowed.

The bike locks, which have been the most popular item, according to McAllister, can be checked out for the duration of patrons’ visits. Cake pans may vary by location and can be rented out for a week and returned to any location.

“We don’t see anything on the horizon right now, because it’s so new,” McAllister said, “but we’re open to suggestions from our community for future items to include in the Stuff-brary.”

For more information, or to see the full catalog, visit MesaLibrary.org/Stuffbrary.aspx.

• Zachary Hillenbrand, a senior at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was a summer intern for GetOut.

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