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.


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][3] 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.

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. 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".



Vancouver Tool Library, 2011


  • Toronto – Toronto Tool Library: home repair, community projects, gardening/ landscaping & The Kitchen Library: small to medium sized appliances for cooking and baking, serving equipment, culinary workshops
  • Ottawa – Ottawa Public Library – pedometers, energy meters
  • Kingston – Kingston Frontenac Public Library – pedometers, energy meters
  • Calgary - Calgary Tool Library: home repair, community projects, gardening
  • Calgary, Alberta – Calgary Public Library – Energy meters
  • Vancouver – Vancouver Tool Library: home repair, gardening/landscaping, and bike maintenance tools
  • Halifax – Halifax Tool Library: home repair, gardening/landscaping, automotive, electrical, plumbing, metalworking, and bike maintenance tools


  • 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 States[edit]




  • Berkeley – Berkeley Public Library's Tool Lending Library [7]
  • 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]


  • Atlanta – Atlanta Community ToolBank [8]





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


  • New Orleans – New Orleans Tool Lending Library, 1717 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA


  • Portland – Maine Tool Library, 224 Anderson St., Portland, ME 04101


  • 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 - [1]
  • Northfield Tool Lending Library - Caldwell Road (Transfer Station) - [2]


  • 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


  • Kansas City – Westside Housing Organization's Tool Lending Library
  • Springfield – Urban Neighborhood Alliance – ToolBox[9]


  • 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





  • Boulder- Boulder Community toolshare at Red House Farm
  • Orem – City of Orem Tool Lending Library[12]
West Seattle Tool Library's Community Workshop




  1. ^ "Tool Library welcomes borrows in Columbus." The Columbus Dispatch. October 18, 2009.
  2. ^ "Tool Lending Library". Berkeley Public Library. 
  3. ^ "Library Dispenses Tools and Home-Repair Advice". Berkeley Daily Planet. August 19, 2005. 
  4. ^ "Braybrook Community Centre". Maribyrnong City Council. 
  5. ^ "Brunswick Tool Library". Brunswick Tool Library. 
  6. ^, Instrumentheek vzw
  7. ^ "Interview with Peter McElligott of Berkeley Tool Library". Jonathan Gray. 
  8. ^ "Atlanta Community ToolBank". Atlanta Community ToolBank. 
  9. ^ "Library puts tools in people's hands". American Public Media. May 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ "West Philly Tool Library". Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. 
  11. ^ "Keep Austin Beautiful's Tool Lending Library". Keep Austin Beautiful. 
  12. ^ "Tool Lending Library". City of Orem. 
  13. ^ "Tool Lending Library". Habitat for Humanity of Utah County. 
  14. ^ "Phinney Neighborhood Association Tool Lending Library". Phinney Neighborhood Association. 
  15. ^ "The West Seattle Tool Library". Sustainable West Seattle.