NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — At Laman Library in North Little Rock, rows of books and movies greet you as you walk in. But, the employees at the library are trying to change what people are looking for as they enter their doors.
"Libraries are so much more, and we're here for every single person in the community," Crystal Gates, Executive Director of the library said.
Gates knows the traditional library all too well.
"When I think of my childhood, I do, we used to get our movies from the library, we didn't go to the rental store," she said.
Nowadays, people are much more used to the other services libraries offer – movies and audio books, along with computer access and printing.
"The point is to provide a resource for the community that they know about and they use," Gates said. "Something that makes a difference in their life on a daily basis."
You can still check out your Stephen King novels, but also more practical things.
"We have a lot of apartment dwellers in our area and there's not always room to store those kinds of things," Gates said. "So if the library has them to offer, then you have access to it. You can use it."
Alongside those books and movies are Crock-Pots and Bundt Cake Pans. All sorts of items are available in the library's upstairs space – from cooking utensils to power drills.
"If you think of what a library is today, you just need to add the word 'more' on top," Gates said. "Because whatever you can think of, we're interested in providing to the community."
All you need to checkout is a library card – those are totally free to get.
There are no late fees either. Most items are on a 14-day rental period, but if you need them for longer, that's alright too.
"We're talking about reaching a demographic who can't afford to go buy it on their own," Gates said. "So why would I turn around and put late fees on something that creates that barrier that I'm already trying to remove?"
So if you're feeling like you might need some extra utensils around Thanksgiving, Gates said come grab it. She said that's what they're here for – for everyone to use what's there.
"Even if you know where it is, if you don't come and check it out it's not doing you any good," Gates said. "So that's what we want, please come empty the shelves. We'd be happy to put it all back next week, that's what we're here for."
Laman Library isn't the only library system in central Arkansas who does this. Central Arkansas Library System also has their own tool checkout system.