Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Half-Baked Characters

Our local news station ran a story last night that I found quite interesting, and more than a bit surprising. It seems that many of the libraries here in Kansas have a well-kept secret. Perhaps I'm the only patron that hasn't run across this little gem, but I spend quite a bit of time in the children's section of our local library, and I don't know how I've missed it.

I'm talking about collections of cake pans that are available for check-out, much like you would check out a book for a limited lending period. You may know the types of pans I'm referring to; the character pans like Spider Man, or Cookie Monster. 

This is a wonderful idea! I have purchased a small number of those pans over the years - just a few months ago I bought the large Wonder mold because my granddaughter wanted a Barbie Princess cake for her 3rd birthday. If I had known it was available for check-out from the library, I could have used the money I invested in the pan on other things. It's not likely that I'll use it again, because next year I'm sure she'll want something completely different.

The idea of checking out cake pans from the library may seem odd at first - but it makes a lot of sense. Libraries are known for their collections - books, of course, but most libraries I frequent usually have several display cases strategically placed around the building, where they store permanent or travelling collections of all sorts of interesting objects. The variety is endless. The library I most often borrow from has a collection of dolls and a collection of paper-weights. They also have several display cases where they switch out the collections on a monthly basis.

I understand why the cake pan collection may not be stored in a display case, but I wish they kept it in an area that was at least visible for the average patron. I saw on the news story where one library kept them in bags on a carousel hanger, much like the audio books. Of course, some of these libraries have amassed pans that number into the hundreds, so I can see where they might not have floor space to adequately display them. But I didn't even know they were available, so at least a sign, maybe in the children's area, or even someplace in the baking books section, might be helpful.

I can't wait to go check them out and see what's available. I'm going to let the kids pick out the ones they want, and then help them bake their own character cake. Before we even bring the pan home, though, I think we'll find a book or two that features their particular character. While the cake is baking up their favorite character, we can read the book together and plan our decorating strategies.

Check out your libraries and see if they offer this unique twist to learning. It's sure to be a lot of fun, and can save you quite a bit of money. Or, if you have an old collection of character pans that you no longer need and are taking up valuable storage space (you know those things are difficult to store with their odd shapes) why not ask your library if they would be interested in starting such a program. 

Hope you all have a blessed day. And if you bake someone interesting, please come back and let us know. I'd love to see the outcome.



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