East Grand Forks Campbell Library implements non-traditional library materials to build skills

Some of the additional materials include cooking and baking supplies, a 3D printer, a vinyl cutting machine, STEM kits and new online resources

Public Service Librarian Robyn Benda (left) and Librarian Linnea Benton (right) stand by the available cooking and baking kits, which are part of the "Library of Things" collection now implemented at the Campbell Library in East Grand Forks.
Meghan Arbegast/Grand Forks Herald
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EAST GRAND FORKS – The Campbell Library has recently added a variety of new non-traditional library materials, called the “Library of Things,” that patrons can utilize to build skills both for a career or for anyone wanting to take up a new hobby.

Some of the additional materials include cooking and baking supplies, a 3D printer, a vinyl cutting machine, STEM kits and new online resources.

Public Service Librarian, Robyn Benda, said the materials are made possible through a $5,000 workforce grant made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act.

Benda said the library pursued the new resources after reaching out to Northland Community and Technical College to see what skills students need to build, but may not have availability to the items themselves. In addition to those going to school, Benda said the materials are also for anyone who wants to try a new skill, but might not want to spend the money doing so.  

“That's a lot of it is for people to learn new skills if they want to, or if they’re starting a new career,” Benda said. “Without having to go and buy a whole new set, they can try it out.”


Anyone with a library card can check out a cooking or baking kit that has the needed supplies, including a recipe. One of the available kits is an Asian Wok cooking kit that includes instructions for how to make dumplings and the needed utensils. Librarian Linnea Benton said additional cooking and baking kits are currently being assembled.

In the future Benda said the library plans on hosting cooking related clubs for people to try out and share recipes with one another.

“The idea is as we get a little further along and especially with winter coming of doing a cookbook club where you can take these ‘Library Thing’ kits home,” Benda said.

Going forward, Grand Forks should reconsider and agree to pony up its share of the consulting and scoping fees. Even better, Polk and Grand Forks counties also should join in the sharing of costs, further reducing the impact to each of those entities – all of which will benefit from a new bridge over the Red River.

The new 3D printer and vinyl cutter are available for use in the library. People wanting to use either will need to bring their own filament. Anyone wanting to learn more about how to use the 3D printer and the software can attend intro sessions held at the library Monday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m where Benton will assist with introducing 3D printing skills.

“The idea is on Monday’s keeping one of our rooms open for people to come in, take a look at these and if they want to try them, that we would help step-by-step for them to learn,” Benda said

On Nov. 21 Forkin 3D, which is part of Valley TechPros, will hold an intro to 3D printers session at 5:30 p.m. in Campbell Library and will be giving away a 3D printer to one drawing winner.

Other kits the library is still working on getting ready for patrons include an electronics kit, knitting kit and a crochet kit.

Along with the physical materials at the library, online resources are available on the library’s website. Anyone with a library card now has access to Peterson’s Test and Career Prep, which provides test prep for college entrance exams, vocational certification and the U.S. citizen test. The Chilton Auto Library is also now available entirely online to provide step-by-step service and repair procedures as well as test prep for certification exams. The Niche Academy offers a variety of tutorials and e-resources for computer databases and programs.


Benton, who has been a librarian at Campbell Library for one year, said she would like to continue implementing additional resources she has seen at other libraries such as sensory and robotics kits. Though both Benton and Benda said doing so depends on available funding.

“Our list is long, it’s just being able to execute it,” Benda said.

Related Topics: EAST GRAND FORKS
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 701-780-1267 or

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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