Columbia’s Library of Things

Library of Things

Richland Library thinks of everything, and the result is entrepreneur heaven

By Emily Stoll

Working for yourself or starting your own business sounds enticing. Nevertheless, taking that dream and making it a reality is a lot of hard work. While you’re striving to establish a business plan and structure the foundation of your company, it would be great to alleviate some of the cost. Yes, there’s a way to start small before making a full capital investment, and it includes utilizing the resources at your local library.

After piloting the use of five equipment kits (podcasting; photography; microphone; backdrop; lighting), Richland Library identified a need among local creatives, entrepreneurs and life-long learners in the community: reduce barriers by providing access to quality equipment. Its solution… the Library of Things, and now, there are more than 70 pieces of new and innovative equipment to choose from. So, what’s on hand?

Let’s start with constructing a home office. Some of the supplies that you may need include staples, such as: a laminator; label maker; scanner; memory card or web camera.

Next, you may be looking to cultivate or design a product. To help with the prototyping phase, try taking advantage of the following gadgets:

  • Industrial Sewing Machine – Stitch together heavy-duty fabrics (canvas; denim; upholstery)
  • Dremel Rotary Tool Kit – Carve/shape wood and foam or etch onto materials
  • Silhouette Cameo: Make paper 3D models or practice vinyl and heat transfer designs

Finally, get the word out. Start marketing with multi-media components at your fingertips. There are a number of ways to visualize and capture your product by using professional cameras, lighting, tripods, backdrops and software. Yes, you can access the ever-popular photobox, handheld gimbal stabilizer, and Adobe Photoshop and Premiere.

Help when you need it

If you aren’t familiar with this equipment or need a crash course on how to use it, don’t worry. Richland Library’s staff can navigate you through the Library of Things and provide assistance based on your business trajectory.

For a closer look at the collection, visit You can read more about borrowing guidelines, check availability and reserve equipment. Then, once a selection is made, set up an appointment for pick-up through curbside service at Richland Library Main (1431 Assembly Street).

The Library of Things is unlocking opportunities for local residents and supporting small businesses during a critical stage of development. And as the collection continues to grow itself, thanks to funding from the Google Impact Challenge and the Libraries Build Business grant, be sure to refresh your browser and look for additions in the near future.