The Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library is a haven for curiosity, but even its newest addition expands its collection to new ground.
Ten portable air sensors were added to the Library of Things in April through a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 office serving the Midwest. The sensors track particulate matter in the air, including humidity, noise, and temperature. The sensor collects data, which is uploaded to the EPA via a smart device and helps the agency track particulates in local air. The kits come with an air sensor, user guide, a smart device, and a lanyard so users can wear the sensors around their neighborhood.
“By having these sensors available, we’re raising awareness of local air quality and promoting improvement in our community,” says Heather McKinney, EVPL’s writing and social media specialist. “Air quality is not something you think about every day, and it creates empathy for people who aren’t able to breathe well because of things in our air that we can’t see.”
The kits have become even more paramount as a result of a recent string of ozone Air Quality Action Days declared in Southwest Indiana by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management on June 14, 21, 25, and 29. Action days are called when the Air Quality Index, a measurement of air pollution, reaches unhealthy levels. The declarations ask children, older adults, and those with respiratory diseases to take precautions and encourage everyone to reduce exposure to air pollution such as limiting physical exertion outdoors.
Established to expand EVPL’s collection of rentable items, the Library of Things itself encourages environmentally friendly use of common household items. Instead of purchasing a new Instant Pot, specialty cake pans, or film projector that is used once and then collects dust, library patrons can borrow the item as needed, saving money and resources from being spent unnecessarily.
All Library of Things items are checked out and returned like a regular book. Checkouts are free to patrons with an EVPL library card. To register for a card, visit any of EVPL’s eight locations and have your proof of address and valid photo ID on hand. You can also sign up online here.