Tools aren’t the sort of thing you buy every day, but when you consider that an average drill is used 13 minutes in its lifetime, it makes no sense for everyone to own one: it will spend almost all of its life gathering dust.
When you think of all the tools needed for jobs around the house and garden, the costs and space taken up for tools you don’t use really add up.
Edinburgh Tool Library (ETL) started in 2015 as the UK’s first tool library, allowing members to access as many tools as they want for an annual flat fee (ranging from £10 to £40) - thousands of tools ranging from hammers to drills to routers to lawn mowers.
The popularity of ETL’s services means a large proportion of those tools are used regularly and that the cost to buy and maintain the tool can be done ‘at scale’: there’s also no hassle of maintenance / spares as all this is managed by ETL’s volunteers.
Since 2015, ETL has saved their members a total of over £875k which would have otherwise have been spent on idle tools.
Access to tools is great but knowing which tool to choose, which attachment to fit and how to use it safely can be challenging. That’s why a really important part of what ETL does involves helping borrowers, community-building, running workshops, delivering community projects and mentorship: all run by helpful and knowledgeable volunteers from the community. This allows people who may not have previously had the confidence to use tools to learn and develop these whilst improving their community connections and local environment.
Part of what Edinburgh Tool Library does involves helping borrowers, community-building, running workshops, delivering community projects & mentorship.
Until now, ETL has only had locations in North East Edinburgh – meaning a long trip across town for people from the South and West. To overcome this, we are very pleased to announce a partnership between ETL, South West Edinburgh 20 Minute Neighbourhoods (SW20) and Colinton Village Enterprise (CVE) SCIO to open a new SW ETL Hub in ‘The Shed’ in Spylaw Park, Colinton.
The hub will launch with the most commonly used tools but also have access to the tools from other ETL locations too. Volunteers will transfer tools from other ETL locations via the SW Edinburgh community community cargo bike. New members will be able to join ETL and access the tools at the Hub. We are also hoping to run workshops to allow members to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence, as well as meeting other members of the community and participate in community projects.
The hub will launch with the most commonly used tools but also have access to the tools from other ETL locations too.
We are currently finalising plans, hopefully to launch in Q2, but keen to hear from people who may be interested in joining as members or volunteers.
Published in Konect May 2023
Contributors: SW Edinburgh 20 Minute Neighbourhood and The Edinburgh Tool Library