Special Collections

The library hosts several special collections of unique things you can borrow from the library! These special collections are often made possible with the help of community partners and organizations. 

Special Collections

Barrie Seed Library

Visit either library location to 'borrow' seeds and get your garden growing! The Barrie Seed Library is located in the small grey cabinet by the printer and main desk Downtown, and in the colourful pots in the RBC Living Room at the Painswick Branch. 

Hawthorn Farm Organic Seeds

Thank you to our official seed supplier, Hawthorn Farms Organic Seeds, for making this seed library possible and sustainable!  

Borrowing Seeds
Patrons can 'borrow' up to 3 packets of seeds to plant and grow your own garden. Once you make your selection, please record the type of seed and how many packages you will be taking on the sign-out sheet in the binder. 

Returning Seeds
All we ask is that when you harvest your plants, you save some seeds to 'return' back to the seed library. We also gladly welcome donations of new seeds! This allows the whole community to continue benefiting. If you donate seeds, please label your envelope with the seed type, the date the seed was harvested or purchased, and your contact information. 

Musical Instrument Library

Huronia Symphony Orchestra Logo

Our Musical Instrument Library includes guitars, bass guitars, violins, ukulele, mandolin and keyboards. Instruments can be borrowed from and returned to either location by visiting a Service Desk with your library card and photo ID. We also have 'learn-to-play' books and DVDs available to get you started. To find the instruments in our catalogue, search for 'Musical Instrument Library'. 

Loan Periods & Fines

  • Library members may borrow one instrument at a time for a period of 3 weeks.
  • If there is no hold on the instrument, you may renew up to two times.
  • Fines will be $2 per day up to a maximum of $20
  • If an instrument is returned damaged or not returned at all, a damage or replacement cost will be assessed

Thank you to Huronia Symphony Orchestra, who has kindly purchased the instruments and will provide all regular maintenance.

Book Club Kits

We make it easy to get books to all your book club members! Borrow a Book Club Kit for 6 weeks, which includes includes 10 regular print, 3 large print, and 2 audio CD copies of your chosen book, plus criticism and question sheets.  Click here to view the Book Club Kits in our catalogue and contact the library to book your kit in advance.

  • Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 
  • Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  • Caring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
  • Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
  • House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay
  • Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  • Magic Strings of Frankie Pesto by Mitch Albom
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown 
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead 
  • Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak
  • Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
  • End of your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
  • Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

TackleShare Program (Fishing Rods & Tackle)

Through the TackleShare Program, library members are able to borrow a fishing rod and tackle box for up to 3 weeks from the Downtown Branch. The program runs from the May long weekend to the end of the summer.

All library card holders can borrow a fishing rod and tackle box. For ages 18+ we encourage you to have your own fishing license (which is a requirement by the province of Ontario). For under 18, a free Youth Fishing License card is available to give youth the experience of having a fishing license. 

One fishing rod is allowed per library card, for a period of 3 weeks. Up to 3 renewals are allowed if there are no holds. 

The TackleShare Program is offered in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and is sponsored by Ontario Power Generation.   

For more information visit http://www.tackleshare.com

Multicultural Book Club Kits - offered by Simcoe County Libraries

Books are a great way to learn about, and gain appreciation for, other cultures. In an effort to celebrate Simcoe County’s diversity while providing a resource for building cultural competency, Simcoe County Libraries have teamed up to provide book club kits with titles designed to educate and enlighten readers from all backgrounds. The themes of inclusivity and tolerance are central to all the titles. They feature multicultural characters who face inter-cultural challenges. Titles include popular novels such as Kite Runner, as well as foreign-language international titles that have been translated into English. The kits are designed to spark conversations about inclusion and acceptance within books clubs and groups of friends across Simcoe County. The kits are available for loan to members of any Simcoe County library, including BPL, through an online booking system on the Simcoe County Libraries Multicultural Book Club website. Bookings can be made up to one year in advance. Check the calendar on the website for availability.

Each kit consists of ten (10) copies of the book, discussion questions, and a canvas book bag. Replacement fees will be charged for any book or canvas book bag that is not returned.  The kits circulate for six weeks with no renewals and can be picked up at either BPL location with your Barrie Public Library card.  Note: you must have a membership with the Barrie Public Library to pick up these kits at the Barrie Public Library.

There are currently just over 30 kits and Simcoe County Libraries intend to expand on these kits with time. They plan to include titles and authors from as many cultures as possible so be sure and check back often for new titles and authors!  In the meantime, if you have suggestions, please email them to library@simcoe.ca.