A viral tweet led to nostalgic tales of childhood cakes born from the local library.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated August 28, 2019
Credit: Annabelle Breakey/Getty Images

In the firehose of words that is Twitter, occasionally (very occasionally!), interesting tidbits about life find their way through. One example comes from journalist Annemarie Dooling who recently tweeted a photo of a library in the Philadelphia area — specifically, the Ludington Library in Lower Merion — where people can check out specialty baking pans for a week at a time.

The tweet has generated quite a response, racking up over 57,000 likes and another nearly 5,000 retweets. But perhaps more importantly, it also opened up a discussion about how baking pans at libraries may not be as uncommon as it might sound. (In fact, all the non-book things you can find at libraries may surprise you.)

The Akron-Summit County Public Library responded with its own photo, writing, "We lend cake pans, kitchen tools, and artwork!" And in a less official capacity, someone replied to Dooling's post, writing, "You can do that in Brookline, MA, too." Apparently, according to other responses, the same goes for the Coffey County libraries in Kansas and plenty of other more vague places like "Central VT."

Meanwhile, others chimed in with their own personal anecdotes of growing up using library baking pans. "My hometown library, in Cambridge Nebraska, has been doing this since at least 1981," reads one response. "I have fond childhood memories of going with my mom to pick one out for my birthday in the 80s." Another person wrote, "The library I visited as a child had cake pans for checkout. My stepmom would take me there to choose my birthday cakes. I thought that was how cakes worked."

In the end, the takeaway is clear. First, if you haven't dropped into your local library to see what sort of stuff they're loaning out, you might be depriving yourself of some very wonderful baking opportunities (or who knows what else). But of equal importance, if you have baking pans — or other useful non-book things — that you're looking to get rid of, maybe consider phoning up your local library to see if they are interested in accepting them as donations. Not that books aren't wonderful, but as I've said for years, "Cakes are tastier than Shakespeare."