Enter the Vancouver Tool Library, which loans out more than 2,000 items. It is part of a movement of Libraries of Things (LoT), which are taking the classic “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra to new heights. These social enterprises share with the public everything from backpacks to boomboxes, baby carriers, and beer-brewing equipment. Some even rent ties and suit jackets for job seekers.
Share Shed is a Library of Things in Totnes, in the southwest of England, where over 350 items are available for members of the project to borrow at a nominal fee. After watching many people coming in from nearby villages and towns to borrow equipment they didn’t require regularly, Share Shed coordinators began to think about creating a mobile version of the project.
The Share Shed is a library of things in the town of Totnes in the southwest of the UK (also home to the Transition Town network). People can donate useful items to the library – like ladders, drills, carpet cleaners, camping, cooking and gardening equipment, and sewing machines – and others can borrow them for an affordable fee.
Libraries of Things are both starting to expand to multiple locations, and also connecting with other similar or complementary organizations to form local and regional networks.
The Network of Wellbeing with support from the Big Lottery Fund helped launch the Share Shed Totnes in Devon, U.K., this year. It acts as a “library of things,” a place where people can borrow tools and other equipment that they need. These are all things that people might not be able to afford or want to buy.
The Toronto Tool Library in Ontario, Canada, is a model tool lending program. With four locations and a variety of workshops and community events, it is a pioneer of the lending and sharing movement.