Four Mid-Continent Public Library branches in the Kansas City area now offer free checkout of fishing gear, thanks to a partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Discover Nature — Fishing program. Anglers can check out rod and reel combos along with tackle boxes that include items such as hooks, weights, lures and bobbers. The fishing gear loaner program helps families and new anglers connect with nature through fishing.
MDC's Discover Nature — Fishing program includes partnering with public entities such as libraries so anglers can check out loaner fishing tackle. Four branches of the the Mid-Continent Public Library system currently offer the service in the Kansas City area. Missouri Department of Conservation photo.
Mid-Continent branches participating in the program include: Antioch Branch in Gladstone, Liberty Branch, Blue Springs South Branch in Blue Springs, and the Colbern Road Branch in Lee’s Summit.
“We’re very proud to offer the Discover Nature — Fishing program through the Missouri Department of Conservation,” said Colbern Road Branch Manager Seth Moses. “We average at least one pole checkout per week and have noticed that the program is very popular among families with young children. Many of these families do not own their own equipment but want to get out in the local community and enjoy nature.”
MDC also provides instruction on how to fish through the Discover Nature — Fishing program. A series of four free classes, which includes actual fishing, provides the knowledge and confidence that newcomers need to have fun fishing. The rod and reel loaner program helps provide an affordable opportunity for people to try fishing. They also gain experience using gear that is regularly maintained in good working order by volunteers.
“At Mid-Continent Public Library, our goal is to provide resources and services that enhance the lives of our fellow community members,” Moses said, “whether that’s through an inspiring movie or novel or a fishing rod and tackle box that a child will use to learn how to fish. At the end of the day, what we’re really checking out are experiences that will be cherished for a lifetime.”
Partnerships enhance the reach of Discover Nature — Fishing. Deanna Rittel, MDC angler education specialist, recently provided classes at the Fountain Bluffs Sports Complex in partnership with the Liberty Parks and Recreation Department. Rittel also provided an overview of fishing opportunities in the Kansas City area during a presentation at Mid-Continent’s Liberty Branch.
"Libraries are places for learning and exploring lifelong literacy skills,” said Brent Sweany, Access Specialist at the Liberty Branch. “Reading, technology, and financial skills are something we have traditionally focused on, and we are incredibly excited to connect people of all ages to the outdoors. Fishing is a rewarding skill that can be enjoyed at any age, and the library as a community-oriented space is the perfect place to start."
Many MDC conservation areas, municipal parks and state parks offer fishing opportunities in ponds, lakes and streams, Rittel said. Anglers often have easier access to the water from shore at smaller lakes and ponds.
MDC also welcomes volunteers who would like to help expand the program to their community, or to help with existing loaner gear or class presentations. Some volunteers simply help maintain gear. Others help with fishing classes. Some do both.
“They absolutely love it,” Rittel said. “It is so rewarding to be able to do this and help people get introduced to fishing.”
For more information on Discover Nature — Fishing, including lesson schedules and rod and reel loaner locations, visit http://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZkB. To volunteer, contact the MDC Kansas City Regional Office at 816-622-0900. Information about the Mid-Continent Public Library system is available at http://www.mymcpl.org/.
Information for this post provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation [Website]