"Libraries Rock!," the theme of the Bexley Public Library's Summer Community Read program, has more meanings than one.

The library is host to a variety of music-related programming this summer, including a new program that enables cardholders to check out guitars and ukuleles.

The library acquired two guitars and two ukuleles through a grant from the Friends of Bexley Public Library. Making the instruments available to patrons stemmed from discussions among library staff about how to expand the library's collection beyond books, periodicals, movies and other traditional items, said Ben Heckman, the library's director.

"We think we have a good range of items to offer," he said. "We'll get the feedback to explore more nontraditional items to circulate."

The library staff studied the offerings at other central Ohio libraries and found that communities such as Grandview Heights offer musical instruments to library patrons, said Ken Flower, director of advancement and community relations for the library.

"Some of the first patrons who came in and checked these (instruments) out were really excited to take these home," he said. "It was pretty neat to see how excited people were."

The library introduced the instruments at the Summer Community Read Kick-Off Party on June 3.

The Yamaha FG-800 acoustic guitars and Ohana CK-10 ukuleles can be borrowed for 30 days and include a hard case, accessories such as a strap, tuner, special BPL guitar picks and a beginner's learning guide.

Later this summer, the library will make telescopes available for checkout, Heckman said.

"We have a beginner's model and an advanced model, for people who have done this before," he said.

The library's Summer Reading Program continues through July and patrons can sign on at any point, Flower said. Participants can count time spent reading and monitor their progress on "Libraries Rock!" reading trackers that can be obtained at the library, 2211 E. Main St. All youth who log their reading for 30 consecutive days on the reading trackers can receive a new print book provided by the Friends of Bexley Public Library.

"They have a few different options for different reading levels," Flower said. "It ties right in with our commitment to literacy."

The library's music-related programming this summer includes concerts by jazz ensemble Clave Sonic, 3 p.m. July 15; the indie-pop group the Bascinets, 7 p.m. July 16; and a Harlem Renaissance-themed event with the Jazz Arts Group, 3 p.m. Aug. 12.

For more information, visit www.bexleylibrary.org.

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