Courtesy of FlickrCC/Josep Ma. Rosell Image by: Courtesy of FlickrCC/Josep Ma. Rosell
Tool libraries have been popping up all over Canada, including major cities such as Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver. For an annual fee of $50, you can borrow whatever tool you need, then return it when you're done. As long as you keep the tool in tip-top condition (aside from normal wear and tear) and clean it well before returning, a wide selection, from table saws to arc welders are yours for the borrowing.
The London Tool Library, in Ontario, opened in April and features a growing collection of about 350 different tools, including belt sanders and chisels. Project coordinator Jim Hamell says the library is almost at full capacity. With close to 100 members already, the library has decided to partner with another not-for-profit group to potentially expand storage space.
Tool libraries are an excellent way to lower access barriers for the general public since annual fees are much lower than the cost of owning, or renting, many tools. A Bosch gliding mitre saw, for example, retails at The Home Depot for $800 and rents for $44 a day with a $75 deposit on credit. At a tool library, on the other hand, once you pay the annual fee, you can borrow tools for free all year. It's hard to argue with a deal like that. In addition to the London Tool Library expansion, Hamell is looking at a monthly-payment tier so people don't have to commit to a yearlong membership. "The idea is to give people access to these tools," says Hamell. "We do deals for not-for-profit organizations and people with low incomes. Ultimately, it's a sharing economy."
Hamell explains that not only is this system environmentally friendly (less product waste) but it's also good for people. Tools that might normally not get used much are passed around for everyone to benefit, which brings the community together to share resources. The London Tool Library also has plans in the works for classes to train DIYers to use woodworking tools such as circular saws this summer.
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