10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Borrow from Boise Libraries

For a long time, I was sleeping on public libraries. Mostly because I just had no idea what they had to offer. With everything from baking gear to outdoor equipment, homeschool supplies, and board games, libraries are one of my favorite resources as a mom. Let me share 10 surprising things you can borrow for free from local Boise libraries! 

10 Things You Can Borrow (Other than Books!)

The best part about libraries in the Treasure Valley is that you can have one library card and borrow items from most other local libraries.

1. Free Garden Seeds

Fake spring in Boise has me ready for real spring and starting my garden. But if you’ve ever gardened yourself, you know it can be expensive to buy seeds and starter plants.

That’s why Eagle Public Library’s free seed library is one of my favorite resources! They have a huge selection of vegetable seeds with a lot of unique varieties. They only ask that, at the end of the season, you bring some seeds to replenish the library!

2. Cake Pans + Decorating Tools

Want to make a unicorn cake for your three-year-old’s birthday? Or a holiday-themed cake for Christmas? I love taking advantage of baking items from the library because I don’t have to buy something I’ll probably only use once. It also keeps me from having to store it for the rest of the year!

I’ve also seen icing tips for decorating cakes and cupcakes, unique cookie cutters, and bundt pans that you can borrow.

3. Outdoor Gear

One of my favorite parts of living in Boise is all of the fun outdoor activities available to us. But again, sometimes that requires certain gear.

I love checking the libraries for what outdoor gear they have available. I’ve found everything from a gold panning kit, metal detectors, fishing equipment, beach tents, and snowshoes! They even have kid-sized snowshoes for your next winter adventure.

» » »  RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Guide to Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing Trails Near Boise  « « «

4. Board Games

We are a huge game night family! I love borrowing new board games, card games, or puzzles to see if it’s one we love. 

Some local libraries even have toddler-friendly board games to get your little ones involved too!

5. Exercise Equipment

Maybe you’ve thought about taking up yoga or have been wanting to try TRX bands. Maybe you want to jump rope for cardio or use hiking poles the next time you’re hiking the Boise foothills. There is such a wide variety of different exercise equipment that you can borrow for free. 

They even have a limited number of Fitbit watches and BP cuffs to keep an eye on your health.

10 Things You Didn't Know You Could Borrow from Boise Libraries6. Audiobooks

If you download the free Libby app, you can borrow any audiobook that your library has available. If it isn’t currently available, you can add yourself to the waitlist, and it will automatically notify you when you can listen!

For any other moms who sometimes struggle to find a few minutes to open a book, this is a great way to catch up on your “reading.”

7. Read Aloud Books

Do you have a little one who loves to read? Or maybe you’re looking for some screen-free entertainment for your kids?

We recently discovered these books that read to your child for you! There is a little audio box at the bottom of the book and your child can follow along and turn the page when they hear the chime. They are perfect for road trips or quiet time.

8. Tablets, Kindles, and Tech

I love reading but hate packing books along on a trip. Borrowing a Kindle is perfect for those times! Here are some other tech items you can borrow:

  • Mobile hotspot
  • Laptop
  • Ring light
  • Noise-canceling headphones

9. Online Magazines

Online magazines can be a great resource for kid’s school projects, inspiration, or something new and different to read and learn. Here are some of the online magazines you can access through local Boise libraries:

  • National Geographic
  • Nat Geo Kids
  • Hoopla
  • Idaho Statesman
  • New York Times
  • WallStreet Journal

10. American Girl Dolls + Accessories

The Meridian Public Library has a huge selection of American Girl Dolls and all of their accessories. You can bring home Kit, her sleeping bag, and the corresponding Kit book.

For any other mom of little girls, this is so fun!

How can I find items available at Boise libraries?

So there’s all this cool stuff available through public libraries, but how do you find what you want? Start by looking through the library’s online website. Here are some of the local ones in the valley:

You can also give them a call, or even better yet, go in and check them out in person! Some of our local libraries have sun spaces for kids to play, scheduled activities, or classes you can take. 

What is the LYNX consortium?

If you have a card for your local library, you can borrow items from most other libraries in the Treasure Valley. This is thanks to something called the LYNX consortium. 

Not only does that allow you to borrow things from other libraries, but they can courier items to a more convenient location for you! You want to borrow something from the Kuna library but you live in Eagle? No worries. They will courier it to Eagle for you within a couple of days!

A few items (mainly the online magazines) specifically require a Boise library card or a Meridian one. But the good news is that library cards are free and accessible to everyone. Then you can take advantage of all local Boise libraries have to offer!

What are some of your favorite public library resources?

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Boise Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

Kaelyn Hansen
Kaelyn Hansen is a registered nurse and holistic health coach living in Boise, Idaho. She is married to her college sweetheart Shayne and they have two kids and one crazy pup. Through the years she has found a passion in empowering women through writing, which led her to start her own blog and contribute to Boise Mom. If she isn't writing, she's probably reading, enjoying time with her family, or planning their next adventure.


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