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From tools to helpful tech: Check out what's new at P.E.I. public libraries

Krystal Dionne, the adult services librarian at the Charlottetown Library Learning Centre, is also an avid gardener.   (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
Krystal Dionne, the adult services librarian at the Charlottetown Library Learning Centre, is also an avid gardener. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)

The P.E.I. Public Library Service has been adding much more than new books to its collection this spring.

Just in time for the warming temperatures, library branches have bicycle tool kits and gardening tools that you can check out.

"I'm an avid gardener myself, so I'm very excited about this collection. We have a small basic gardening kit with hand tools, gloves," said Krystal Dionne, the adult services librarian at the Charlottetown Library Learning Centre.

"Then we have some larger items that people might only need to use once or twice a year. So they can be cost-prohibitive to purchase — but also if you don't have storage, you might not want to have a rake and a shovel and a hoe at your house all the time."

The gardening kits can be checked out for three weeks, Dionne said, but many come back sooner, once the initial planting work is done.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

"With these recent collections, definitely, I think because of the season, the garden tools have been flying off the shelves," she said.

"It's very exciting to see more people getting into gardening, and working on our food security."

As for basic tool etiquette: "We're not expecting anyone to scrub them clean, but if there's a big clump of dirt, just kind of shake it off, bang it off, and then we'll give them a wipe down before we send them off with the next person."

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

Help at home

The library network is also offering home tool kits, with basic things such as hammers, pliers and wrenches, as well as a stud finder which can be checked out separately.

The bike repair kits have a variety of bike maintenance tools as well as a guide, Dionne said.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

On a different note, Islanders with library cards can now check out some new assistive technology.

"One of the coolest new things that we have, they're called C-Pens and they actually can read text in multiple languages," Dionne said.

"So [it's] really good for folks struggling with any type of, you know, dyslexia or low vision. You're scanning the text with the little unit, then it reads it to you direct in real time as you scoot along the book.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

"When you're reading along the English text, it's reading it out loud to you so you can hear the correct pronunciation, which is really important when you're learning a new language."

Noise-cancelling headphones are available to the public at all 25 branches, either to use in the library, or to borrow to use at home.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

Dionne said the library service is always on the lookout for new items to add. 

"We're inspired constantly by libraries across the world," she said.

"[We're] just staying abreast of what's new, what's popping up at other libraries, what we see larger municipal libraries doing, and then we can find the way to make that happen here."