Toronto's First Tool Library!
What is a Tool Library?
A tool library works like a regular book library in many ways and also provides many distinct
advantages. Tool libraries loan specialized tools for both experienced and inexperienced
community members who are interested in repair, maintenance and building projects. One of the
first tool libraries in the United States started in 1979 at Berkeley University. It began with a
portable trailer filled with about 500 tools and one full-time employee. Since then, Berkeley’s tool
library has grown to house over 2,500 tools, employ 4 part-time staff, and items can now be
renewed and reserved online. In North America, tool libraries have sprouted in several locations
including Vancouver, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Portland (who have 3 tool libraries!), loaning
thousands of tools to communities each year.
Remarkably, an average power drill is used for just 12-13 minutes in its lifetime! Tools like these
are examples of products that have high idling capacity and do not need to be owned but rather
accessed when needed. Local tool libraries can provide this access by making tools and training
available to communities and empowering members to transform their homes and landscapes
into vibrant spaces that reflect a commitment to sustainability and environmental concern. A tool
library will act as a community resource that will reduce the costs of improving and greening the
places where we live, work and play.
IRBE has partnered with the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC) at 1499 Queen Street West to start Toronto's first Tool Library in early 2013!
To see an introductory video on Tool Libraries please check out this video from our friends at 'The Centre for a New American Dream':