Library loans taxidermy animals for science, education, and Harry Potter parties

In Anchorage, Alaska anyone with a public library card can visit the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services library and check out a taxidermy ring-necked pheasant, black rockfish, or hundreds of other mounted animals, skulls, and furs. From Smithsonian:

While the majority of users are local teachers, who incorporate the pieces into their lectures and lesson plans, and biologists and researchers using items for studying, non-educators are also known to check out pieces too.

“We have a snowy owl that has been used on several occasions as a decoration for a Harry Potter-themed party,” Rozen says. And filmmakers reportedly used a number of items during the making of the 2013 movie The Frozen Ground to design the basement lair where the film’s villain would keep hostages captive. Just like with library books, ARLIS expects that lendees take good care of any items checked out.

Interestingly, ARLIS’s existence is largely known by word of mouth, both for patrons and locals who want to donate a piece of realia to the collection. The vast majority came from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with a lesser amount from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, however the library does also take donations from the public.

“Earlier today someone called me and offered us a raven that he found in the wild that had been killed,” she says. “Ravens are frequently requested, even by English students doing presentations on Edgar Allan Poe.

"This Library in Anchorage Lends Out Taxidermic Specimens" by Jennifer Nalewicki (Smithsonian)

Learn more in my post from 2015: "Library where you can check out dead animals"