Communal Tool Sharing


Ever embarked on a home project, but didn’t have the tools needed or the money/space to buy and store them? Like most renters, buying a huge stash of tools isn’t feasible for me anytime soon. That’s why there are resources like the Berkeley tool library. One of the first libraries to lend hardware to local residents (with a library card), Berkeley Tool Lending Library was started in 1979 with a $30,000 federal community block grant. Since then, the budget has grown more than three-fold, and borrowers number in the thousands. Gardening tools (including lawn mowers), carpentry tools, electrical tools, plumbing tools, power tools, and ladders are among the many categories of tools that Berkeley residents can borrow.

Although tool libraries aren’t yet as common as book lending libraries, there are currently additional tool lending libraries in Oakland, Grosse Pointe, Kansas City, Missoula, Buffalo, Rochester, Columbus, Portland, Burlington, and Seattle. Tool libraries are a great way for communities to share resources!

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About Ann Benoit


  1. I used tools from this very library when I lived in Berkeley. It was so great to have such a resource, saving money and resources (why do you need to buy a power tool to have it sit in your garage 99% of the time? The only one that benefits is the tool companies and hardware stores). The other cool thing about this kind of library is that community groups (like gardens, for example) can use the tools and spend their money on other things. My good friend helped run one of the community gardens there and used the tools for education programs for local school kids. It was a great cycle of people borrowing tools, learning to grow food, and sharing the food and gardens. Talk about a great use of tax dollars!

  2. Pingback: Sharing, A Truly Radical (and Green) Idea » Eco-Chick

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