List of tool-lending libraries

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Tools available for borrowing at Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, Vermont

The following tool libraries allow patrons to borrow tools, equipment and "how-to" instructional materials, functioning either as a rental shop, with a charge for borrowing the tools, or more commonly free of charge as a form of community sharing. The Tool library performs the following main tasks:

  • Tool Lending: all kinds for use in volunteer projects, facility maintenance and improvement projects, community improvement events, and special events.
  • Tool Advocacy: for the complete and timely return of all borrowed tools, to guarantee the long-term sustainability of available inventory. Staff also seeks compensation for lost tools and tools returned late.
  • Tool Maintenance: performing routine maintenance and repairs on all equipment to ensure good condition and to extend the lifespan of the inventory. This function is typically performed by volunteers and community service workers.


Makerspace are places where people perform the following main tasks:

  • to learn about technology, crafts and other kinds of making;
  • to share knowledge and skills with others; and
  • to apply this knowledge and skill by creating things.


A tool lending library was started in Columbus, OH in 1976. Originally run by the City, the Tool Library is now operated by Rebuilding Together Central Ohio, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that works to preserve and revitalize homes and communities in Central Ohio. The RTCO Tool Library makes available over 4,500 tools free of charge to both individuals and non-profit organizations.[1] This tool library was among many in what could maybe be considered the first generation of tool libraries - including The Phinney Tool Library in 1978 and The Berkeley Tool Library in 1979 - most of which were founded in the late 70s or early 80s. Many of these libraries were started with community block grants.[2] A variation of the tool lending library model exists in Atlanta, Georgia. At the Atlanta Community ToolBank, the tools are reserved for use only by nonprofits and other community-based organizations who are performing volunteer and facility maintenance projects. The ToolBank tool inventory is not available to individuals.

More recently, in 2009, the community of West Seattle in Washington started the West Seattle Tool Library, which provides a wide variety of tools and resources for individuals and organizations while specifically encouraging sustainable urban living. In 2011, Popular Mechanics recognized "Building a Local Tool Library" as one of its top ten ways to change the world, while highlighting the West Seattle Tool Library.[3]

In response to that recognition, "Share Starter" began to offer a free "Tool Library Starter Kit" to any community interested in starting a lending library of their own.[4] The kit includes start up guidelines, frequently asked questions, and sample documents. Also, Center for a New American Dream published a webinar recording, which highlighted insights from a handful of tool libraries on how to get started.

Given their increasing popularity and proven history of success, tool libraries and tool banks are now playing an exciting role in the burgeoning sharing economy and can be found everywhere from local public libraries to makerspaces. There are even multiple software platforms for managing tool and other types of lending libraries including "Local Tools" from ", PBC". The most recent addition to the global tool library network, The Edinburgh Tool Library was opened on March 7 in Edinburgh, Scotland


  • Melbourne, Victoria Maribyrnong City Council / Braybrook Community Centre's Tool Library – Woodwork facilities can be hired for classes and activities.
  • Brunswick (Melbourne), Victoria Brunswick Tool Library


  • Kortrijk, West-Vlaanderen, Instrumentheek vzw – All tools (both hand tools and powertools) available for free rental.
  • Brussels, Tournevie vzw – Hand tools and power tools, community projects & workshops
Vancouver Tool Library, 2011


Ottawa Tool Library


  • זייפר – Lending a variety of tools for home improvement and instruction.
  • Hamafkid – Israel lending tools and other equipment site

New Zealand[edit]



  • Internet platform - Verktygsbibblan
  • Borås – Mötesplats Norrby, Borås Public Library
  • Malmö - ToolPool, Malmö Järnhandel
  • Gothenburg - A tool library at a student community in Gothenburg (SGS Ceres)

United Kingdom[edit]

  • Edinburgh – Edinburgh Tool Library: home repair, community projects, gardening/ landscaping

United States[edit]


  • Globe / Miami – Globe, AZ Tool Lending Library
  • Phoenix Tool Shed – Phoenix AZ


  • Boulder – ReSource Tool Library
  • Colorado Springs - One Voice Toolbox
  • Denver - Denver Tool Library


Tool Lending Library at the South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library
Tool Lending Library at the South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library
  • Berkeley – Berkeley Public Library's Tool Lending Library [5]
  • Milpitas - Lend-a-tool shed (by appointment)
  • Oakland – Oakland Public Library's Temescal Tool Lending Library
  • San Francisco – San Francisco Tool Lending Center (recently re-opened, check site for more information)
  • Santa Clara – Silicon Valley Power Tool Lending Library (energy-related only)
  • Sonoma County (Santa Rosa) – Santa Rosa Tool Library
  • Loma Linda – Loma Linda Redevelopment Agency's Tool Lending Library
  • San Francisco – PG&E Pacific Energy Center Tool Lending Library (commercial and industrial energy efficiency projects)

District of Columbia[edit]

  • Washington, DC - ARTillery Tool Library


  • Atlanta – Atlanta Community ToolBank



  • Bloomington – Mother Hubbard's Cupboard Tool Share
  • Glenn Carter Memorial Toolshare


  • Cedar Rapids – Matthew 25 Tool Library
  • Dubuque – Washington Tool Library
  • Des Moines – Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity Tool Lending Library
  • Iowa City - Friends of Historic Preservation Tool Lending Library at the Salvage Barn


  • Wichita – Community Housing Services of Wichita/Sedgwick County's Tool Lending Library (defunct)


  • New Orleans – New Orleans Tool Lending Library


  • Portland – Maine Tool Library


  • Mount Rainier - Mount Rainier Community Tool Shed - City of Mount Rainier tool library.
  • Baltimore - Station North Tool Library - City of Baltimore tool library.


  • BYEN Tool Library - 2010 Columbus Ave., Roxbury, MA
  • Northfield Tool Lending Library - Caldwell Road (Transfer Station)
  • Somerville Tool Library - 577 Somerville Ave. Somerville, MA


  • Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor District Library (energy meter only)
  • Grosse Pointe – Grosse Point Public Library and the Grosse Point Rotary Club's Tool Library


  • Duluth – 1 Roof Community Housing's Tool Lending Library
  • Minneapolis - Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library


  • Kansas City – Westside Housing Organization's Tool Lending Library
  • Springfield – Urban Neighborhood Alliance – ToolBox[6]


  • Missoula – Missoula Urban Demonstration Project (MUD) Tool Library

New Mexico[edit]

  • Santa Fe – Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity ReStore Tool Lending Library

New York[edit]

  • Buffalo – PUSH Buffalo and Buffalo ReUSE's Tool Library
  • Buffalo – University Heights Tool Library
  • Rochester – Corn Hill Neighbors Association's Tool Library
  • Manhattan – Tool Lending Library
  • Troy – The Tool Library at CAC Woodside


  • Central Ohio – Rebuilding Together Central Ohio Tool Library


  • Portland Community ToolBank
  • North Portland – North Portland Tool Library[7]
  • Hands on Greater Portland – Hands on Greater Portland (only non-profits can borrow tools)
  • Northeast Portland – Northeast Portland Tool Library
  • Southeast Portland – Southeast Portland Tool Library
  • Kitchen Share Northeast - Northeast Portland Kitchen Tool Library
  • Kitchen Share Southeast - Southeast Portland Kitchen Tool Library
  • Green Lents Community Tool Library -Lents and adjacent neighborhoods
  • Salem Tool Library - Salem and Keizer areas



  • Philadelphia – West Philly Tool Library
  • Pittsburgh - Garden Resource Center (Grow Pittsburgh)


  • Austin – Tool Shack


  • Boulder- Boulder Community toolshare at Red House Farm
  • Orem – City of Orem Tool Lending Library
  • Orem – Habitat for Humanity of Utah County
West Seattle Tool Library's Community Workshop


  • Burlington – Fletcher Free Library


  • North Seattle – Phinney Neighborhood Association's Tool Lending Library
  • West Seattle – The West Seattle Tool Library
  • Northeast Seattle - NE Seattle Tool Library
  • Southeast Seattle - SE Seattle Tool Library


  • Madison – The Atwood Tool Library
  • Milwaukee - Housing Resources, Inc. - Tool Loan Center


  1. ^ "Tool Library welcomes borrows in Columbus." The Columbus Dispatch. October 18, 2009.
  2. ^ "Library Dispenses Tools and Home-Repair Advice". Berkeley Daily Planet. August 19, 2005. 
  3. ^ Amanda DeMatto. "DIY Heroes: 10 Backyard Builders Changing the World". Popular Mechanics. 
  4. ^ "How to Start a Tool Library". Shareable. 
  5. ^ "Interview with Peter McElligott of Berkeley Tool Library". Jonathan Gray. 
  6. ^ "Library puts tools in people's hands". American Public Media. May 7, 2009. 
  7. ^ Green, Emily (23 December 2015). "North Portland neighbors test a new economic model". Street Roots News. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 

External links[edit]