What is a tool library?
Tool libraries are a fairly simple idea: rather than everybody in
an area buying all the tools they need for all the DIY and creative projects they want to do, only to use the things once or twice and then leave them sitting around in a shed rusting away; tool
libraries let people borrow what they need to hang that picture, clean that stoop for the first time in ages, or create that birdfeeder with their little one!
Tools can be expensive, and there’s a lot of CO2 tied up into the production of the steel and plastic that goes into these things. So by sharing them, fewer tools need to be produced. The waste of money and resources is doubled if you buy a cheap tool only to have it break on the first or second time you use it!
At present, we’re thinking that the library will be free (as we are grant funded- come see what your tax money has helped pay for!), with loan periods specified by the user and no late fees- just chasing. This might all change as details get finalised, of course, or as we find out what does and does not work for the library. We’re also thinking of a simple, pen-and-paper based system to control loans; this means that pre-booking (reservations) will not be possible at first. Should the library become super popular, this choice of lending system will also be revisited.
The Climate Challenge Funding has covered the purchase of some tools; but donations of more are always welcome- you’ll be able to borrow out your old tools (first come first served!) so why not reclaim space from your purchases and put them to good use?
What about theft?
Members of the Penicuik community have expressed concern about tools not being returned; this is something that we here in the Penicuik Carbon Challenge office have taken consideration of. First off, we trust people to generally do the right thing, with some evidence to back it up: Out of the 22,000 loans that the Edinburgh Tool Library has given out since 2014, only 4 tools have not made their way back to that library. I’d like to think that Penicuik people are at least as honest as Edinburgers! (source: Advice for new sharing libraries - Edinburgh Tool Library) For those (hopefully!) rare occasions where tools do not return to the library in a timely manner, we will have the email address, phone number, and residential address of all members securely stored. We will issue reminders over email and/or phone, and a final reminder via letter before contacting Police Scotland. This approach has been accepted by our insurance company as reasonable, so should the worst happen and tools not come back, we’ll be able to replace them.
As we develop our Tool Library, we want to know: what do you want out of it? What do you want to make (or mend)? What tool would you love to have access to but is out of your reach to purchase or store? (for me, it’s a C&C machine or maybe a 3D printer!)