Tool Banks and Tool Lending Libraries

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  • Berkeley Public Library Tool Lending Library
    • Unconventional library service that increases opportunities for patrons. Libraries can combine tool libraries with volunteer instruction programming from their neighborhoods to expand patron base.
  • Atlanta Community Tool Bank: Programs
    • Very successful tool bank program in Atlanta, shows the possibilities of tool libraries for a community and community service. "Tool Lending Library: The ToolBank Home Repair Program began to develop a large cache of tools and equipment to serve its mission of providing no-cost critical home repairs to senior homeowners. Local churches and nonprofits began to inquire if they might borrow some tools for their own community projects. The process of tool lending was soonafter formalized, and the Tool Lending Library was formalized...Today, more than 45,000 volunteers use ToolBank tools each year in every conceivable type of communty project. The Tool Lending Library outfits every significant community service day in Atlanta, including Hands On Atlanta Day, MLK Day, National Youth Service Day, Georgia Tech's TEAMBuzz, and many others. Available tools include ladders, power tools, landscaping equipment, carpentry tools and over 150 other tool types."

The Atlanta program is highly successful and shows the popularity of tool loaning programs for individuals and civic groups. Such programs could be useful across the nation, if they get basic infrastructural support, primarily storage space and basic loan services. Many public libraries are already capable of offering such support. Adopting such programs would also expand the idea of what libraries are "for" in the minds of patrons and staff. This would encourage libraries to sponsor informal, community learning and civic support by facilitating a wider array of learning experiences.