As the holidays roll on in a wave of ­­­winter cheer, family gatherings and financial drain, the library is a great place to escape. Cozying up with the latest Lee Child books under one of the Moscow Public Library’s picturesque windows can help you forget about the burnt turkey and your mother-in-law’s critique. Armed with the adventures of Jack Reacher, you can bring the calm of the library home with you.

Here at the Moscow Public Library, you can take home more than just a few paperbacks (although books are great). With our Curiosity Collection, patrons can check out anything from a portable sewing machine to a working telescope.

The Curiosity Collection includes three categories: Voyager Kits, Maker Kits, and Itty Bitty Brain Boxes. Voyager Kits are for patrons of all ages who want to learn a new skill or improve on an old one. Maker Kits focus on technology, art and science. Itty Bitty Brain Boxes are for our youngest patrons and their families to learn about new worlds through interactive books, toys and games.

During the holidays, these hands-on, librarian-curated kits are a perfect way to vanish from family visitors or include them in the fun. Hey, you might even learn how to not burn turkey and bond with your mother-in-law. (Results may vary.)

Checking out a kit from the Curiosity Collection is as simple as bringing your library card to the front desk or requesting a kit online with your Valnet account. The kits may not always be on display, but they are available for checkout.

Turn the tables on grandma and knit her a sweater this year. Learn to crochet, knit, use a yarn swift, card-weave or sew by borrowing a crafty Voyager Kit. Each kit includes a how-to booklet and the tools you’ll need to get started — including yarn, knitting needles or crochet hooks, fabrics, threads and a mini, portable sewing machine to bring anywhere the holidays may take you.

In case indoor crafts aren’t your thing, outdoor Voyager Kits might be a better fit. Check out one of the library’s two telescopes — one for beginners and children and the other for adults and experienced kids. For a daytime outdoor activity, you can borrow our bird-watching kit, complete with youth and adult binoculars, a backpack, and a birdwatching guide. Pretend it’s not winter and take home a bicycle repair kit or a HappyLight to fight off the winter blues with light therapy.

If you’re the entertainer of the family, Check out our Learn to Juggle Kit or our How to Play Ukulele or Piano Kit. For a last-minute gift, grab our Learn to Make Cookies Kit — everyone loves cookies, right? The kit includes rolling pins, cookie cutters, measuring cups and a cookbook (ingredients not included, sorry).

The library has three different Rokus with limited content for children, teens and adults. If TV is too old school, try our Virtual Reality Kits. Download the VR app, slide your smartphone into the headset, and encounter dinosaurs, outer space and speedy roller coasters firsthand. Supposing you need WiFi to download the VR app, we even have mobile hotspots for check out.

Virtual reality and mobile hotspots are cool, but wouldn’t you like to build your own technology? Our Maker Kits give kids and adults the opportunity to create something entirely new. The library offers LittleBits Kits and Arduino Kits that let patrons experiment with easy-to-use hardware and software for tasks as simple as turning on a light or as complex as building a digital device.

Take home our Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer that plugs into a monitor or TV and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. Beginning engineers can check out a 3-D printer pen or one of our Ozobot Kits, which includes a little robot that follows hand drawn lines.

For our smallest patrons and their families, our new Itty Bitty Brain Boxes are the perfect post-holiday adventure. With themes like dinosaurs, underwater and outer space, these kits include puzzles and building blocks to accompany the tales within.

This holiday season and beyond, take home a Curiosity Collection Kit and create your own stories.


Rosemary Anderson is a member of the Moscow Library Circulation Department.

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