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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tool time

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 4:01 PM

The Halifax Tool Library’s selection (so far) - RILEY SMITH
  • Riley Smith
  • The Halifax Tool Library’s selection (so far)

If you need a hammer, you buy one. But what if you could save money, and space, by borrowing one? A group is working to provide this service to the HRM with the Halifax Tool Library, opening in June in the north end.

"Part of the beauty of the idea is the simplicity," says Lars Boggild, a founding member. "A lot of the mechanics is really in the name–basically there will be a borrowing policy where anyone can borrow any tool that is available in the collection."

But there is still a lot of work to do before the library becomes reality, like raising money for basic insurance, rent, maintenance and staffing, along with expanding the collection. Through online crowdfunding, the HTL has raised a quarter of its $8,000 goal.

Tool drives at Ecology Action Centre, Parker Street Food Bank and the Dalhousie Student Union Building have worked to increase the collection.

So far, it consists of everything from boxes of books, crowbars, brand-new screwdriver sets (still in the package) and an insane amount of handsaws, chainsaws, a full table saw and–apparently–the world's tallest ladder.

Just like a regular book library, people will be able to come in and borrow tools for a certain amount of time with a membership. Tools returned late will be subjected to late fines. There are still kinks to work out with that system as well, says Boggild: "Right now, we haven't opened our doors, we haven't been lending tools so we haven't been able to say how long you borrow a hammer for compared to a drill yet."

It's not a new idea–there are lending libraries in the US, Toronto and Vancouver– but the tenacity of Boggild and his colleagues is what will make it happen here. Turns out they were all discussing the need of a tool library separately, they just needed to come together. "As soon as the right people were in the room with each other," says founder Tristan Cleveland, "the thing took on its own momentum pretty quick and has been going ever since."

To people in Halifax who don't have the money or space to keep a lot of tools, like low-income individuals, students or apartment renters, the library will provide the ability to do it yourself when you otherwise wouldn't be able to.

Organizations will also benefit, says Boggild, because without tools, "groups like non-profits, whether it's fixing their building or something for one of their own campaigns or projects haven't been able to do so or haven't been enabled in that way.

"As we grow and the memberships grow, there is a huge opportunity to really have a large group of people," he says, "a large volunteer base, folks that we know are safe to use tools and excited about working with their hands out in the community."

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