February’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Bettina Vollmerhausen and Frédéric Sune, to support memberships for those less able to pay to the tool library they are in the process of starting up.
“The Ottawa Tool Library,” explains Bettina, “will be a lending library similar to a public library. However, instead of borrowing books, a member borrows household tools — from hammers, wrenches, and power drills to juicers, blenders, and stockpots. Our mandate is putting underused tools back into circulation and making them accessible to all.” Tool libraries are already operating across Canada, including in Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver, and Calgary.
“We believe there are many people who are seeking a greater value from products and services,” Bettina says, “while redefining their relationship with ‘stuff.’ The Ottawa Tool Library will also host workshops and classes held by passionate tool educators in the community who will teach new skills, address safety and proper tool usage, and assist or showcase do-it-yourself projects of all kinds.”
The Ottawa Tool Library will differ from traditional tool rental in that it will use a membership model. Members will pay a nominal annual fee that will allow unlimited access to the entire tool collection. Those who cannot afford a membership will have the option to volunteer — or to be considered by Bettina and Frédéric for a subsidized membership out of the Awesome Ottawa award.
Bettina is an entrepreneur and community connector interested in sustainability and social innovation. Frédéric is an information technology professional running two companies — a managed services provider and a web agency.
Funded by Ottawa, ON (February 2015)