The idea of having a tool library, where people can borrow tools when needed instead of purchasing new ones, is gaining momentum in Victoria.
The Victoria Tool Library, established last summer, hopes to set up a tool sharing economy similar to a public library. People purchase a membership and can borrow from a wide inventory of tools such as ladders, hammers, sewing machines, gardening tools, and painting equipment, and return them when they’re finished.
The idea of tool libraries has been growing in popularity across the country. There are currently tool libraries in Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. The Berkeley Public Library also established a tool library roughly 30 years ago, which is still in operation.
Stephanie Ferguson, vice president of the Victoria Tool Library, said everyone needs tools for home improvement, gardening or repair from time to time, but don’t have the space to store such tools or can’t afford to buy new ones.
“We’ve got a lot of condo and apartment users, like myself, who just don’t have the space to store these tools. The tool library is just going to provide access to everybody,” she said, adding tools will be donated or purchased.
“It’s also about the waste that’s involved. Why go out and buy a tool and use it only once or twice, when your whole neighbourhood can use the same tool?”
Last year, the organization conducted a survey of roughly 400 people, asking what types of tools people want to have access to. The most requested item was a ladder, along with saws.
Now, the details of the project are being hammered out.
The group has established an online fundraising campaign to raise $15,000 needed to establish a storefront and cover any start-up related costs such as getting insurance, and investing in computers and software to set up the borrowing system.
So far they’ve raised more than $2,400 in the past week.
“It speaks to a lot of people because maybe you want to try something or you don’t have the skills and you feel intimidated. This is something that brings down those barriers,” said board member and Victoria resident Laura Hebert.
“I think people have felt that way at different times of their life. This is a really good, simple solution to a problem which is not having access.”
The organization is still on the lookout to find a store to run the operation. Ferguson said a location in Fernwood or Fairfield are possibilities, as many of the survey respondents were from those communities.
The group hopes to have the project up and running by the end of the year.
For more information visit the campaign at victoriatoollibrary.org.