Alaskans with a library card can now check out moose antlers, stuffed fish, fur pelts, and all kinds of other dead animals. Visitors to the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services library enjoy an extended range of borrowing options over your usual library, with objects available to check out for up to two weeks.
You’ll have to take a trip to the library itself to borrow anything, but you can search the online catalog to see what’s available. Tap “realia” into the search engine, choose ARLIS as a filter and you’re off. You can peruse walrus and porcupine skulls, marten fur, whale baleen, and even entire ducks, polar bear paws and more, and even download a PDF catalog of available animals.
While you could borrow a few animal parts to dot around the house, thus ensuring your reputation as the neighborhood weirdo, the library has plenty of customers with more conventional needs. Schools are a big user of the library, for example, as are movie set dressers. You’ll have top be a little more careful than you are with a paperback, though. According to Alaska Dispatch News’s Suzanna Caldwell, “Anyone who checks out the pieces has to sign a statement of responsibility. Mounts must stay in Plexiglas cases the library provides, the tags can’t be removed, and people are held financially liable for any damage.”
Accidents do happen though. ARLIS’s Celia Rozen told Caldwell that a polar bear skin once came back with a slice up the middle.
Rozen says she doesn’t know what happened, and it’s probably best not to ask.