LIFE IN EASTERN IOWA

North Liberty library offers novelty cake pans, with purses and briefcases coming soon

Collection development librarian Andrew Frisbie stands with some of the cake pans that the North Liberty Public Library,
Collection development librarian Andrew Frisbie stands with some of the cake pans that the North Liberty Public Library, 520 W. Cherry St., has in inventory that patrons can checkout from the library in North Liberty, Iowa, on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The oldest pans are stamped 1974 while the pan of the number one is probably the most popular. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Andrew Frisbie manages the North Liberty Community Library’s collection of books and movies — and cake pans.

“We have all sorts of shapes and licensed characters, like ‘My Little Pony,’ which has had a resurgence in popularity,” said Frisbie, 38.

“People are delighted and surprised when they hear about the program,” he said. “We get a lot of positive comments. Patrons sometimes send us pictures of the finished products, which is really fun.

“Every once in a while, people bring in their leftover cake,” he said.

The ability to check out a cake pan for a week saves buying a novelty pan for a special occasion.

Simple shapes are among the most popular — hearts and pumpkins for holidays, numbers for birthdays, the Hawkeye logo.

Frisbie estimates about 150 pans are borrowed each year.

“We see a lot of parents and grandparents who are planning to make a cake for a birthday,” he said.

The program started in the 1980s with a large donation, and staff still accepts donations to keep up with requests for new characters and to replace worn-out pans.

The public libraries in Elkader and Vinton also have cake pans available for checkout.

Accessories Coming

The North Liberty library, too, is working on a new lending program that would allow patrons to borrow ties, scarves and briefcases or purses for job interviews.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“The idea came from the library in Brooklyn, N.Y.,” Frisbie said, noting libraries “are great about sharing ideas.”

He also helps visitors touch up their resumes and proofread their job applications.

“The first few times I helped, I worried I was overstepping bounds,” he said. “The, people started coming in to let me know they got the job, which was great to hear.”

Frisbie said libraries are more than just a place for books — they also serve as a central social space for kids, in particular.

“If you aren’t at school or home, you can be here,” he said. “We’re working on making it a safe, non-judgmental space for people of all ages to share.”

“We strive to be a place where everyone can find something they want, be it books, movies or access to the internet.”

Frisbie, who’s been with the library 14 years, spends about a quarter of his time helping patrons and the rest of his time selecting materials for the library.

“It’s great when I can predict what our public will want,” he said.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.