5 Innovative Libraries That Lend Things Other Than Books

Libraries can lend out more than books. There are a number of organizations in countries around the world where people can go to borrow everything from tools to seeds to kitchen appliances. Many of these groups also provide members with helpful information regarding the project they're working on. If you're interested in learning more, check out the lending libraries listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Helpful Lending Libraries

Name Location
Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library Richmond, CA
Ottawa Tool Library Ottawa, ON
Denver Zine Library Denver, CO
Library of Things London, UK
ToolBox Project Eugene, OR

Tips For Starting Your Own Garden

  • Use a stool to stay comfortable while you work
  • Or avoid crouching down altogether by having a raised garden
  • Light the garden so that you can enjoy it at night as well
  • Remember to mark your plants so you know what you're growing
  • If you're having trouble with pests, put up a fence
  • Prune your plants regularly
  • If you don't have a good environment outside, try growing an indoor garden

The Benefits Of Tool Libraries

6 Reusable Products To Replace Single-Use Versions

Borrowing items instead of buying them is a great way to cut back on waste. If you want to get even closer to zero-waste, take it to the next level by replacing disposable products in your life with more sustainable alternatives.

  1. Reusable grocery bags
  2. Stainless steel straws
  3. Reusable K-Cups
  4. Silicone food bags
  5. Beeswax wraps
  6. Reusable water bottles

Why Should I Do DIY Projects?

There are many different reasons people choose to do their own home improvement. For one thing, there's cost. Hiring professionals to come in and modify a home is expensive, and not everyone has room for it in their budget. Borrowing tools, rather than buying expensive equipment, can make the project even more cost-effective. Then there's the appeal of customization. Buying home goods from the store, customers are limited to the options they have on hand. But people who make things themselves have complete control over the style, size, color, and more. Builders can tweak their DIY projects to reflect their unique taste and personality. Finally, it can be fun to take on these kinds of projects. It lets people be creative, work with their hands, and feel a sense of accomplishment.

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In Depth

Contrary to what many people think, not every library is full of books. There are innovative institutions across the world, lending out everything from power tools and pasta makers to heirloom seeds. Here, in no particular order, are several community spaces that feature diverse collections and provide important services.

Up first, in the #1 spot, we have the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library. This non-profit organization allows home gardeners to borrow seeds for free at various locations throughout Richmond, California. The library is open to everyone, and it also provides education about preserving biodiversity and organic gardening.

Borrowers let a portion of their crop go to seed, and then return some of the next generation seeds for others to borrow. Richmond Grows is committed to saving and sharing rare and unique varieties, particularly ones with local significance. It also provides access to fresh, healthy food that may not otherwise be available.

It also provides access to fresh, healthy food that may not otherwise be available.

At #2 on our list is the Ottawa Tool Library, a non-profit that provides tools, expertise, and a workspace for projects. It is located in the heart of Ottawa, within Makerspace North. Members receive unlimited access to the organization's inventory. The WorkSpace is available for personal projects whenever the OTL is open.

The library hosts free, community-led events where visitors can find assistance with repairing broken household items. DIY enthusiasts can attend workshops and demonstrations on a wide-range of topics such as leather working, bike repair, canning, and zero-waste living. The OTL's Tinkering School provides educational programming for children.

Next up, in the #3 spot, we have the Denver Zine Library. Founded in 2003, this non-profit organization houses one of the largest zine collections in North America. The organization is entirely volunteer run, and the public can access the full library and archives during open hours.

Founded in 2003, this non-profit organization houses one of the largest zine collections in North America.

The preserved collection, with over 20,000 independent and alternative titles, is available for lending. Zine librarians are available to conduct workshops in a variety of settings. Each year, the DZL organizes the Denver Zine Fest featuring writers, comic artists, and independent publishers from around the country.

Coming in at #4 is the Library of Things, a place where people can borrow useful objects and learn how to use them. Located in the Crystal Palace region of south London, the Library of Things was brought into existence thanks to crowdfunding by members of the local community.

By borrowing things rather than buying them, members prevent waste from going into landfills. Members also save money and cut down on clutter in their homes. The library also hosts events like DIY classes, restart parties, mending meet-ups, and more. In 2020, the Library of Things launched a delivery program.

In 2020, the Library of Things launched a delivery program.

And finally, #5 on our list is ToolBox Project. This organization serves the local community by providing low-cost access to home and garden tools. In 2016, the library was constructed by an all-volunteer crew. All Lane County residents over the age of 18 are welcome to become members.

This library carries a wide range of hand and power tools for building and garden projects, ranging from hammers to table saws and trowels to post-hole diggers. In partnership with the city of Eugene, ToolBox Project also hosts events where community members can get items repaired at no cost.