You don’t often need the likes of a power sander, or a gazebo, or an extendable ladder, but when you do need one, nothing else will really do. Now, given that these are pretty costly items for using maybe once or twice a year, you might not want to buy one outright. Besides, if you do, where do you store it? This is where the nifty idea of a library of things comes in.
A Library of Things is a place where you can go and sign up to borrow useful things, things that you only need once in a while, by the day or by the week. The libraries also offer skill sharing through DIY, sewing, and repair events. The primary aims of the libraries are to build communities and support sustainability.
These aims seem to be working too. On the Library of Things website, it’s reported that 75% of borrowers feel better connected to their community because of the Library of Things, and borrowers are 60% more likely to repair or recycle items having used the library.
It all started after being inspired by similar ventures in Berlin and Toronto, a group of three close friends set up a pilot Library of Things in their local London neighbourhood. They then tested the idea more fully with over 400 Things from two shipping containers and had over 1000 borrowers in the space of just 18 months. It took hundreds of volunteer hours to make it work, but work it did, and the Library of Things soon had more branches established all across London.
Similar initiatives are spreading to cities other than London though, with similar borrowing schemes already established in places such as Frome, Oxford, Totnes, Guildford and Bath. So if you don’t have a Library of Things near you, you could maybe consider getting involved in the movement or asking your local council to establish a similar borrowing facility.