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Libraries: Let them eat cake
July 30, 2008 3:05 PM   Subscribe

You're planning on baking a cake, but you're bored of your plain old square pan, round pan, or bundt pan? If you live in the US Midwest, it's very possible that your nearby library allows you to check out cake pans.

There are cake libraries in a number of US states, including Illinois, Ohio, and a fair number in Nebraska. You will do quite well in Iowa, where you can check out a cake pan in Albert City, Ackley, Colo, Johnston, Nashua, North Liberty, Olin, Pella, Shellsburg, Stacyville and Woodbury County.
posted by Deathalicious (52 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is awesome. Also, please rewind the pans when you're finished with them.
posted by GuyZero at 3:12 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


woah. Jealousy, and a sudden hunger pang for cake.
posted by milestogo at 3:15 PM on July 30, 2008


if it's anything like borrowing dvds from the library, I wouldn't trust any of these pans to even function properly by the time you get to borrow them.

stupid library patron: oh, but you see, I just couldn't prevent my dog from biting clean through the pan! also my children pissed on it and I haven't cleaned it! then my dog pissed on it and my children bit through it! and then I just plain old scratched the hell out of it with my keys on purpose.

librarian: no problem! at least you brought it back on time! (to coworker) put this back on the shelf, please.
posted by shmegegge at 3:21 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


That makes so much sense. Whenever I've seen something like that in a store, I've always thought "that looks cool but I would only ever use it once or twice."

I wonder what the Dewey Decimal number of a squirrel-shaped cake pan is.
posted by XMLicious at 3:22 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


WHAT. This is awesome. Add this to the list of community sharing deals I would like to one day take advantage of (also see: tool libraries, community screenprinting studios).
posted by chrominance at 3:25 PM on July 30, 2008


Communists.
posted by yort at 3:29 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Awesome.
posted by Science! at 3:33 PM on July 30, 2008


I work at a library that circulates fishing poles. My classes in acquisitions and ontology did not prepare me to untangle rusty tackle.
posted by box at 3:34 PM on July 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


This blows my mind. I assumed these things would be commercialised. America is some kind of socialist utopia
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:38 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meh. Let me know when they replace the card catalog with a make-your-own sundae bar.

Seriously though, that's pretty neat. I always worry about stuff baking unevenly though.
posted by giraffe at 3:43 PM on July 30, 2008


The City of Berkeley runs a tool library that lends power tools.
posted by ryanrs at 3:51 PM on July 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do you have to share your cake with the librarians when you return the pan?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:55 PM on July 30, 2008


grapefruitmoon. If yes, then it's clear what my next career move must be.

Small Town U.S.A., here I come.

(Bring me cake).
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 3:56 PM on July 30, 2008


That's the most awesome thing I ever heard. CAKE PANS FOR EVERYONE!
posted by brain cloud at 3:58 PM on July 30, 2008


Iowa libraries have been loaning out cake pans for at least 25 years - I remember checking them out. They worked quite well - I mean, think about it, it's a cake pan.

This link led me to call an old public library I knew back in Iowa to see if they still had cake pans. The conversation went like this:

"Yes, hello, can you tell me, do you still loan cake pans?"

"Oh, gosh, gee, we don't anymore, we haven't now for about six years I think."

"That's too bad. I guess you probably needed the room for something else."

"Yes, now we have large print books there. You know, you might want to try Milford. I think they still rent pans. If you hurry, you can get there - I think they close at 6:30."

---Milford is a town less than 10 miles away from the library I called---

"Well, thank you. I appreciate the help."

" Oh, yes. No problem. Try Milford. I think they still have them."

"Great, thanks, that answers my question."

"Good. Don't forget to try Milford."

"Ok. Thanks."

That, my friends, is Iowa customer service.

I also seem to also recall you could check out costumes and some other rather random goods from the library. I forgot to ask if they still do loan those items. Probably not - probably taken up by the books on tape. Maybe I should just call Milford and see what they have in stock.

In the digital age when lending libraries are struggling to keep their doors open they should consider a wider audience. I mean, I might read about the new Batman movie on the Internets, but I have to join the living world to find a pan to bake a bat signal cake for a kid's birthday party. Who knows, while I'm in the library I might even pick up a book to read.
posted by Muddler at 4:05 PM on July 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


This is awesome, and I also like those living libraries that lend people.
posted by cashman at 4:09 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, we rented art from our library. Now I'm going to have to find out if anybody still does that.
posted by stefanie at 4:09 PM on July 30, 2008


No kidding? Like paintings and pottery and such? Did they rent X-Men posters? Cause that would've saved me a lot of money I ended up blowing at the Wal-Mart.
posted by Science! at 4:26 PM on July 30, 2008


If yes, then it's clear what my next career move must be.

Small Town U.S.A., here I come.


I'm imagining your adventures related in a movie that's a cross between Ace of Cakes and The Music Man. "...it was such a dreary, depressed town... until the Cake Man showed up!"
posted by XMLicious at 4:35 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Librarian 1: "So literacy and reading rates are really in full-scale decline all around the country. Hardly anybody comes in here any more, even though we have effectively stupefied our collection by ditching everything over 200 pages that isn't by Dan Brown, cancelled our Atlantic subscription in favour of an extra Guns & Ammo, put in a whole new 'Ow, My Balls!' DVD section and there's an Xbox in the corner for the children to throw up on. Our repurposing from a 'Library' to a 'Community Resource Centre' is almost complete, but I can't help but feel like we are missing something."

Librarian 2: "Yeah."

Librarian 1: "I mean, apart from shooting things, sitting in front of the television, and not reading, what else do Americans like?"

Librarian 2: "I dunno. Maybe eating. They like eating."

Librarian 1: "You raise an interesting point. If only there was some way we could capitalise on our fellow countrymen's propensity for pornographic overconsumption of foodstuffs."

Librarian 2: "Ha ha! Maybe we could have a pie counter!"

Librarian 1: "Ha ha ha! Oh, Doris! But they'd never bring them back!"

Librarian 2: "My laaaaaaaawd!" *can no longer speak for tears of mirth*

Librarian 1: "Oh, Doris, put yourself together. Look, our first client of the day."

Librarian 2: "But it's barely even three o'clock-"

Patron: "HURF DURF CAKE PANS?"
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:56 PM on July 30, 2008 [15 favorites]


Also, get off my god-damned lawn.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:58 PM on July 30, 2008


this almost makes me believe in america again.

can't you just see andy & opie going down that road to the old fishin' hole?
posted by msconduct at 5:00 PM on July 30, 2008


Hmm, I wish there was a library in NY that did this.
I have a donation to make -- a big penis pan that I bought to make my friend's bachelorette party cake. I highly doubt I will use it again and I'd like to spare someone else the expense.

Then again, checking out a penis pan at a library might be uncomfortable.
posted by rmless at 5:01 PM on July 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yet another reason why I sure do miss living in the Midwest.
posted by idigress at 5:03 PM on July 30, 2008


I have a donation to make -- a big penis pan...

Circumcised or au naturale? (More cake that way.)
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:03 PM on July 30, 2008


Flyover states are amusing.
posted by Zambrano at 5:46 PM on July 30, 2008


Amusing huh? Well I'll tell you what, tomorrow morning I'm making strawberry shortcakes from scratch (no cake pans needed) with fresh strawberries. And if you're in the area, you're more than welcome to swing by for a few to get you fed and ready for the day. If that doesn't work there will be cornbread with milk and sugar available Friday morning. Also, tractor pulls this weekend.

Seriously.
posted by Science! at 6:13 PM on July 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wow, I thought my library was broad-minded and young-thinking for having bean bags!
posted by DU at 6:30 PM on July 30, 2008


Science! writes "If that doesn't work there will be cornbread with milk and sugar available Friday morning. Also, tractor pulls this weekend."

Science! there is a disturbing lack of location in your profile.
posted by Mitheral at 7:23 PM on July 30, 2008


turgid dahlia, I think I just broke my trackpad clicking the "add favorite" button over and over for your hilarious librarian dialogue.

The next time I walk into my public library, I'm going to say, "HURF DURF CAKEPANS?"

Hopefully, they'll be categorized using the Chewy Decimal System. In the lard catalog.
posted by ericbop at 7:27 PM on July 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


I have a Darth Vader cake pan if anyone wants to borrow it. Who wouldn't love Darth Vader cake?
posted by thekilgore at 7:37 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mitheral: Alas, despite my fascination with the Northwestern frontiers of my nation, I am in Kansas, nowhere near Kamloops, Canada except perhaps in spirit.

ericbop, this made me laugh a lot, a whole heck of a lot. And I probably would've laughed without the beers. Seriously, "the Chewy Decimal System"? Has anyone in the history of civilization had the occasion to make that joke?
posted by Science! at 7:39 PM on July 30, 2008


I have a Darth Vader cake pan if anyone wants to borrow it. Who wouldn't love Darth Vader cake?

"Luke, I am your frosting.."
posted by jonmc at 8:16 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, we rented art from our library. Now I'm going to have to find out if anybody still does that.

The Art Gallery of Ontario rents out art. I think some of the libraries here do, too.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:22 PM on July 30, 2008


West Philly Tool Library
posted by The Straightener at 8:25 PM on July 30, 2008


Hey, cool.. Washington DC Tool Library.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:50 PM on July 30, 2008


"Luke, I am your frosting.."

"Turn to the chocolate side of the torte, and together we can rule the bakesale!"
"I have altered the cupcake recipe. Pray I do not alter it any further."
posted by XMLicious at 9:30 PM on July 30, 2008


Circumcised or au naturale?

Circumsized. It was a Jewish wedding. Actually, do they make penis pans in the au naturale variety? I haven't seen enough to compare. Pans, that is.
posted by rmless at 9:45 PM on July 30, 2008


Actually, do they make penis pans in the au naturale variety?

You could probably make one yourself by just tapping out the little dents.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:05 PM on July 30, 2008


Class, people! I will not have my thread devolve into a discussion of penis pans.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:12 PM on July 30, 2008


I will not have my thread devolve into a discussion of penis pans.

Oh, so your thread gets to be the exception, huh?
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:17 PM on July 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Damn I want this in my local (UK) library. Esp. as I have to try and bake a half cake for my gf's half birthday tomorrow...
posted by i_cola at 6:09 AM on July 31, 2008


Hey, cool.. Washington DC Tool Library.

Like there aren't enough tools in DC already ;-)
posted by i_cola at 6:10 AM on July 31, 2008


Here's the Berkeley Tool Library ryanrs mentioned earlier.
posted by vertigo25 at 6:32 AM on July 31, 2008


The library down the road from me loans out gardening tools from a little shed. They have a barcode sticker too, just like the books.

Also, I love this sentence: You could probably make one yourself by just tapping out the little dents. I'm going to try to apply it elsewhere today.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 7:41 AM on July 31, 2008


What a quaint and interesting concept.
posted by caddis at 7:52 AM on July 31, 2008


My local library (which is teh awesomesauce) lends out art, though I have yet to take advantage of this ability.
posted by bettafish at 9:37 AM on July 31, 2008


... And now I need to apologize for writing "teh awesomesauce." I'm sorry, folks. I just woke up. *hangs head in shame*
posted by bettafish at 9:38 AM on July 31, 2008


turgid dahlia, let me be the first to enlighten you about the area of the country you are insinuating plants itself before televisions while pounding down sweats and alternatively using a southern drawl and saying "HURF DURF" - while this article is a little dated, you'll note that the state has top-in-the-nation education and literacy rates (same level as your Brisbane), not to mention a propensity for hard work and a friendly culture. It seems rather simplistic to go for a laugh about fat, uneducated, redneck Americans just because someone wants to put up a post about the quaint habit of Midwest libraries loaning more than books.
posted by Muddler at 2:21 PM on July 31, 2008


And now I apologize for my use of sweats when I meant sweets - I was educated in a barn, no reflection on Iowa. I have a habit of inserting typos.
posted by Muddler at 2:23 PM on July 31, 2008


I have a plate of beans. Perhaps you'd like to think about them.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:45 PM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Seattle Public Library lent out art when they were in the old building. Now the library IS a giant cake pan and they don't lend art. This is a nice post.
posted by jessamyn at 10:43 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


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