Have you heard about Toronto’s new library? Unlike most of the city’s community libraries, there is no fear of getting shushed for talking here because instead of lending out books this one offers patrons a massive selection of tools to choose from. Retailing anywhere from $68 to $800, most tools are fairly expensive to own and often spend more time idling on shelves than being used, so it makes perfect sense to share them. For example, the average power drill only gets used 13 minutes in its lifetime, while a chop saw costs can run three times as high as an annual tool library membership.
Enter Toronto’s first Tool Library! The initiative is retooling Toronto’s approach to ownership of rarely used items by enabling anyone in the community to sign out tools for home or community repair, maintenance or building projects. The library officially launched in March 2013 and since its inception has garnered plenty of attention from the media and local community. There are more than 40 tool libraries throughout the United States, the oldest and most popular of which was started in 1979 in Berkeley California. It has at least 4,300 tool checkouts per month and three part-time staff. The Toronto Tool Library has received over 1,000 tool donations and currently averages 250 tool checkouts per month. To complement the equipment, it also offers training workshops with “how to” workshops.
“If we learn to share the resources we have, and give economic incentives to participate in more sharing, there is no limit to how much we can expand these kinds of concepts,” says Ryan Dyment, co-founder of the Toronto Tool Library. The library has already loaned out over 1,100 tools, making DIY projects and home renovations affordable and possible for Torontonians. With an influx of new donations each month, the library is expanding quickly and is scheduled to open a second location on the East side of Toronto this fall.
Check out the full story at InsideToronto.