Patrons of the Hennepin County Library will be able to check out more than just books and DVDs. Starting tomorrow, the libraries will add portable energy meters to their catalogs.
The meters plug into a standard outlet. Users can then plug electrical devices into the meter to calculate how many kilowatt hours of electricity each one uses.
"It's neat to see if you turn on a blow dryer, how much energy it's using at that one particular time," Leah Hiniker, Hennepin County's energy manager, said. "It's just fun and exciting to get a better idea of what you have in your house, and how much electricity you're using."
Hiniker said she expects the meters will be popular.
"With the economic crisis right now, and the real push on greenhouse gases and electricity, I think this is becoming a priority for a lot of people," she said. "It's definitely a good way to start watching the pennies and cutting your electricity bill."
The library system has 50 meters available for checkout starting Thursday. Already, 49 people have reserved meters in advance. The meters can be checked out for three weeks, and cannot be renewed.