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Tool library launched in Smiths Falls

The Rideau Environmental Action League (REAL) has launched the tool lending library to promote the use of used tools, saving tools from landfills and reducing the need to buy new tools for short-term use.

“It’s a collection of tools that we can lend out to anyone who would like to use them for a week at a time,” said Barb Hicks, a board member at the REAL.

The library was launched on Oct. 1, and has already been in use. The library is located inside the REAL Deal Reuse Store in Smiths Falls.

The tool lending library will be running on a membership basis with an introductory six-month membership for $25, and a 12-month membership for $45 which gives users access to a collection of tools to borrow for a week at a time.

The goal is to promote the use of the lending library instead of purchasing a tool only for short-term or single use, with the item inevitably ending up in the landfill or sitting unused in a basement somewhere.

Using the library encourages the circular economy.

“Not everyone needs to own everything, especially because there’s a lot of people who buy a tool to use for a weekend project and it sits down in the basement for years and years,” said Hicks.

Hicks explained that the library will also make tools available for people who may not be able to buy their own collection of tools or just may not have the space to keep tools for long.

According to the REAL website, the majority of the tool inventory came from donations and it is mostly used items or tools bought second-hand.

“We’re sharing more things and getting more use out of those items rather than creating new ones and buying new ones,” said Hicks.

The library has quite the collection of tools available to borrow.

“They’re mostly hand-held, battery operated,” said Hicks.

According to Hicks, they’ve established a set of about 60 tools so far, which are mostly small, portable power hand tools, including drills, sanders, saws and chainsaws, a compressor, a shop vac and more.

Before launching the library they spoke with another tool lending library in Ottawa to see what kind of things were borrowed the most and what was most needed.

The Smiths Falls tool library was lucky enough already to have some tools in their collection that were donated before the project, and put out a call for tools or bought them from other sources to create the large collection.

The tools have no extra cost, but the library will be charging a $3-per-day late fee, and certain tools such as the shop vac must be returned clean or the user will be charged a $5 cleaning fee.
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