Akron-Summit County Public Library’s cake pan and kitchen tool borrowing program began about two years ago with a donation of 30 cake pans from the library in Madison, Ohio. Since then, the collection has grown through purchase and donation to more than 80 pans, according to Monique Mason, manager of Akron-Summit Library’s Science and Technology Division. For cataloging purposes, each cake pan is laser-engraved with a bar code in the library’s Maker Space.
Favorite borrower pan shapes include Montgomery Moose, Pocahontas, and the classic American football helmet, although the collection’s springform and tiered wedding cake pans are frequently checked out, as well. The comprehensive assortment of jaunty character pans and more formal pans provides something for nearly every occasion. Monique said that borrowers interested in selecting a pan for a child’s birthday party or looking to make a specialty item, such as a cheesecake, would have no trouble finding the necessary pan within the collection.
Because of the cake pan program’s immense popularity, 50 diverse and easy-to-clean kitchen tools were added to the program in December. On New Year’s Eve, the first of the new items was loaned out. It was, apropos of the holiday, an automatic corkscrew.
The library offers tools in two distinct categories: practical items, such as popcorn makers and slow cookers for people without access to kitchens of their own (e.g. students), as well as more sophisticated gadgetry that seasoned kitchen veterans may want to test before making a large investment. These latter items include a food dehydrator, a butter churn, a canning kit, a cherry pitter, and a dough press kit, which Monique advises, is ideal for making samosas. It also offers basics such as mixing bowls, measuring sets, and can openers.
All of the Akron-Summit branches participate in the borrowing program, though the collection itself is housed at the main library location at 60 S. High St. in Akron. The library plans to continue expanding the collection, purchasing multiples of some of the highly sought-after items, such as the food dehydrator and the butter churn.
Meanwhile, many of the pans and cookery devices are displayed in the libraries on a rotating basis, each paired with relevant cookbooks or recipe guides. A recent pairing was a set of blenders displayed with books of smoothie recipes. Similar to other library items, the cake pans and kitchen tools may be reserved online or in person and may be borrowed for two weeks at a time.
The program continues to grow due to the library’s commitment to its borrowers. “Public libraries are about more than the books on the shelves—they’re about our interaction with our community, and about sharing resources, trying something new, and experiencing life events,” Monique says. “The kitchen tools collections and cake pans are part of a larger Library of Things, which enable more of our users to have experiences, rather than just reading about them.”
For information about the cake pan and kitchen tool borrowing program, visit AkronLibrary.org/about/news and click on the “Library of Things” tab.