It’s been one busy year since the Victoria Tool Library first opened its doors, and to celebrate, the team of volunteers who keep it hopping are holding an open house and demo day Saturday (Feb. 17).
In February of last year, the library – which serves all of Greater Victoria – opened with just over 450 tools and a team looking to grow membership. Fast forward a year and 145 members now regularly borrow from a collection of more than 900 tools, ranging from screwdrivers and hammers to table saws, a sewing machine and even a pasta maker.
Another new member today, someone who had recently moved to #VictoriaBC and consequently lost his old network of people he would normally borrow tools from. With a #toollibrary, it's no problem, you always have access to the tools you need! #whatsmineisyours #sharingiscaring pic.twitter.com/HQ6omVjj8N— VictoriaToolLibrary (@VicToolLibrary) January 6, 2018
“We’ve doubled the size of our collection just by accepting donations from the public,” says president and founding board member, Stephanie Ferguson. “On the whole, everything has been from the community, so that part has been amazing.”
The tool library operates on the same premise a book library does, complete with a reservation system and late fees. Borrowers must be members and the annual fee is a sliding scale cost of $50 to $100, which allows you to borrow up to seven tools at a time for one week.
Ferguson says members range in skill and knowledge, but the affordable alternative of trying out a tool or having one available without having to invest in it, appeals to everyone.
“The best part of doing this work is when members bring back tools they’ve borrowed and tell us about their projects, their household maintenance or their renovations,” she says. People are often familiar with more common tools, but have perhaps never seen a router or a planer.
The tool library launched a workshop series they intend to broaden, she adds, after a successful first run attended entirely by women.
“One participant told me, ‘When I was in high school, they wouldn’t let girls do shop class so I never learned how to use these.’ It was so exciting and so rewarding to see people using the library as a resource to build their skills.”
The anniversary day event will run during the library’s regular Saturday hours, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at their location in Esquimalt, 858 Devonshire Rd. Memberships will be available for a special price of $40 and board members and volunteers will be on hand to accept donations.
“Our collection is still growing and there are definitely still things on our wish list,” Ferguson says, rhyming off items like a power washer, impact driver or heat gun. “There’s definitely more growth we’d like to see in the next year.”
For more information, visit victoriatoollibrary.org.