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Berkeley, California’s always-forward-thinking library offers a lot more than books — and we’re not talking about medical weed. In fact, their Tool Lending Library offers hundreds of tools which Berkeley residents can check out just like books and videotapes.

The library’s tools range from simple fare like staple guns and drill bits to more difficult-to-find items like a surform plane and a spokeshave. Would-be gardeners without a tool budget can also borrow lawn mowers, garden spades, and even pitchforks.

Just remember to return everything on time. Holding on to the library’s 50′ electric drain snake beyond your allocated three days will run you $15/day — still cheap compared to rental, assuming you can find one.

(Thanks, Ingorrr, for the great CC-licensed photo.)

Tool Lending Library [Berkeley Public Library]


6 Responses to Why Doesn’t Our Library Check Out Tools?

  1. Old Coot says:

    But wouldn’t all of their tools only operate to the left? Just curious.

  2. Stuart says:

    Very cool idea! I could see the downsides of it though such as tool neglect and abuse.

  3. bidwell says:

    Takoma Park Maryland used to have one, but I think it’s gone. There’s a list of tool libraries on wikipedia of course. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tool-lending_libraries

  4. Maureen says:

    Yeah, Old Coot, I think the tools would have a serious problem there. 😛

    But that doesn’t mean if *my* library adopted that system, the tools would operate to the left! So I really wish my library did do that. It’s a really good idea. And it’s only in California and Seattle that you would have that problem.

  5. Atlanta has a substantial tool bank that is organized around tools for non-profit service projects: http://atlanta.toolbank.org/Default.aspx

  6. Eiki says:

    Ah, books are different than tools, though — books are digital, tools are analog. You have to seriously damage a book before it becomes unreadable, but tools get progressively duller, wobblier, less accurate, less able to hold a charge, etc., just with ordinary use. Not that it’s a bad idea, mind you, I’m just trying to answer the question in the title of the post. 🙂

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