What is a Tool Library?

tool library(source)

If you take the time to think about it, the concept of a library is quite clever. Simply renting a book to read for a short period of time saves you both money and the hassle required if you were to purchase the book for yourself. The basic idea behind a library is often applied to a variety of other items, including companies that let you rent designer dresses for weddings or Redbox, which allows you to rent movies for a single viewing.

A that has just been brought to my attention are tool libraries. Much like a library where you rent books, these stores or set-up shops allow residents to rent tools from their inventory. These tools can include a wide variety, such as automotive tools, woodworking items, electrical tools, home maintenance tools and much more. The majority of the tools are donated from people who are done using them or use them very infrequently.

Not everyone who owns a home needs to spend their money on a full set of tools or hardware, especially with the high cost of certain products. Tool libraries help residents stay on their budget and cut unnecessary¬†spending costs. Usually, the tools are rented by a “pay-what-you-can” cost or small membership fee, although each community has different rules and guidelines. You will also save money in the long run by fixing or updating an item with the tools instead of throwing it away and buying a new one. More often than not, doing-it-yourself is the best way to go.

Tool libraries come in handy specifically for those random, one-time home projects that we all deal with. For example, there's no need to spend the money on a pressure washer when you end up using it once every few years. These items just take up space, collect dust and waste your money.

These tool libraries not only help the residents with their home remodeling projects, they also are great for the environment. Re-using products helps to reduce our carbon footprint on the Earth by saving resources and energy. Think of all the gas you'll be saving by walking down the block to rent a tool than driving to Home Depot to look for one yourself. Think of all the materials that can be saved when you borrow a paint sprayer instead of purchasing one.

These community libraries also encourage others to become more familiar with the different types of tools, as well as using them properly. Some communities provide workshops or educational guides along with the tool libraries, which can be helpful for those of us who aren't contractors or repair men.

To find a tool library near you, this is a good starting list. Try searching online or speaking to your local representative to find out if your area has a tool library. If not, why not volunteer your time and help create one? This website has some helpful tips.