Getting the yard ready for summer or taking on a new DIY project often involves tools that not everyone has, and not everyone is willing to buy to only be used once. A new tool library initiative in Victoria will allow anyone to borrow the equipment they need whenever they need it.
“You borrow it just like a book in a library. Take it home, do the things you need to do, bring it back, let somebody else use it,” said Edie Irons, one of the organizers of the Victoria Tool Library. “The idea is to make the widest range of tools accessible to the most people as possible.”
The idea came from seeing how successful tool libraries are in other cities around North America.
Irons, originally from California, said she often used the tool libraries in Berkeley and Oakland. When she moved to Victoria, it was a service she missed.
Vancouver, Halifax and Calgary also have tool libraries.
“There’s such a strong DIY culture in Victoria, we need a tool library here,” said Laura Hebert, another Victoria Toll Library organizer.
Many tools are expensive and are only required once in a while, said Irons.
“It doesn’t make sense for everybody to go out and buy their own tools, and most people don’t. Then they decide not to do the project they want to do because they don’t have the tools available.”
Currently, organizers are scouting a location for the tool library.
“We’d like a location with parking, accessible so people can drive up and load things, fairly transit accessible . . . and we’d like a location that’s central in Victoria, although we envision the library serving the whole CRD area.”
Irons added they are also looking for a place with water and electricity, and ideally a workshop space.
“We are really committed to education and empowerment around tools, because not everybody knows how to use them,” she said. “We want to be teaching people new skills and strengthening our community in the process.”
The tool library will be membership-based, with an annual fee. While the price still needs to be worked out with the budget, Irons said it will be as affordable as possible.
“We don’t want to turn anyone away for lack of funds.”
The library’s tools will likely be collected mostly by donation, but Irons said the goal is to have high quality, durable tools.
“The beauty of the tool library is that you can donate your tools to us and still use them.”
Organizers of the Victoria Tool Library are collecting input from the community through an online survey at victoriatoollibrary.org.