Lending Libraries, or A Library of Things, work much like a regular library, but instead of lending books they lend any number of things. In this case, I want to start a Tool Library. Tool Libraries offer an infrastructure for participants to borrow and lend tools to one another. Many also offer workshops and education on how to use tools.
Last year I installed a PEX plumbing manifold in my home. To do so I bought about $150 in tools to allow me to effectively complete the task. In all likelihood I won't need any of these highly specialized tools for at least another couple of years and when I do need them I might need them for a day or two. With all that down time these tools could be lent to others, helping them save the $150 in tool costs, but also helping them potentially save hundreds of dollars in repair costs and strengthening our community.
A few weeks ago I saw a neighbor boy using a broken plastic rake to clean up his parents' front yard. I walked across the street and offered my rake. He used it and promptly returned it to me. Now I know one of my neighbors that I didn't know before!
Of course, without a tool library you can lend you tools to a neighbor and get to know them a littler better, but the power of a tool library is that it normalizes sharing and makes it easier to connect tools with people who need to use them.
Imagine a neighborhood where everyone has easy access to edgers, wheelbarrows, pruners, racks, and shovels. That's a neighborhood with curb appeal and beauty.
The support of the Monroe Park Neighborhood Association, Habitat for Humanity (which is in the neighborhood and has offered to help us with spaces), the Buy Nothing South Bend (South) FB Group, and handful of dedicated neighbors is behind this project.
*Note: the MPNA has the creation of a tool library in their strategic plan.
Funded by South Bend, IN (May 2021)