Libraries throughout the world are changing. Not only can you have a virtual library at your fingertips, swiping through pages, and defining words with the tap of a finger, but at many libraries you can now check out things other than books. A “Library of Things” is literally just that.
Some are specific, such as a Tool Library, lending out (you guessed it!) tools from wrenches and pliers to sanders and pressure washers. Others are more general, lending out items such as sewing machines, musical instruments and board games.
Some of these Libraries of Things are their own entity, while others may be a floor, room or corner of a public library. Whatever their format, a Library of Things has several positive effects, both at the personal and community levels.
Imagine if all of those tools in your garage or basement (that you use once a year) disappeared, leaving you with the open space you deserve and desire. And what if you could have those tools back again when you needed them? What if all of those Yahtzee dice, chess pieces and Monopoly dollars were cleared from your living space, but still accessible (and in good condition) for family game night? No more stepping on Legos, no more storage dilemmas; a Library of Things helps to can the clutter in your home!
Speaking of accessibility, a Library of Things makes tools, toys, sporting goods, cooking utensils and other gadgets available to people who would otherwise not have access to such items. Some Libraries of Things require a rental fee for certain items, while others are available to check out for free. This creates limitless opportunities for people who would not be able to afford items such as violins and sewing machines.
Creating independence is another positive impact that these libraries are having. Having access to items like lawnmowers and basic household tools, without having to purchase or store them, can help maintain an independent lifestyle for the elderly, disabled, single parents or anyone seeking less dependent living.
Community is not contrary to independence. Rather, sharing items as a means to independence can create a greater sense of community among people in a neighborhood or city.
Another major benefit of a Library of Things is the impact to the planet. Borrowing items, especially large items that use excessive natural resource to produce, lessens the amount of pollution created in manufacturing. It also reduces the waste of unused and unwanted items being tossed in the landfill.
If you’re wondering where you can find one of these genius establishments, contact your local libraries or consider starting one in your area. Here’s an article from shareable.net that details what you need to get started.
A Library of Things can help individuals and families reduce clutter, while having a world of items available; it can give access to those in need; it can create independence and community, all while saving the planet! What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, books! Don’t forget about the books!