For many people, spring often brings plans of home and garden projects, but buying tools for these projects can become costly. The Edmonton Tool Library, a new resource near Borden Park, provides a low-cost alternative.
While collaborating on a different community project a few years ago, Stacey Cann and Leslie Bush discovered that they had both been toying with the idea of creating a lending library for tools, inspired by a similar initiative in Calgary. They connected through their networks to several other people with similar ideas. Along with Shannon LeBlanc, Max Turner, and Robyn Webb, they eventually formed the founding board of what would become the Edmonton Tool Library.
They opened their doors in January of 2017 at the Bellevue Community Hall on the eastern edge of Borden Park.
To make the dream into a reality, they drew on the experience and advice of the tool libraries in Calgary and Toronto. All the tools are donated, and the variety is impressive.
“People are surprised by the amount of larger power tools we have, like band saws, table saws…all the saws!” said current board member Daniel Kielback.
“We have all sorts of tools except for gas-powered,” added Cann, explaining that safety requirements for the storage of gas-powered tools are prohibitive.
In the two rooms they occupy at Bellevue Community Hall, library members can find just about anything they might need, from plumbing equipment, to tile cutters, to post hole diggers.
Volunteers are still looking for donations for a few items: cordless drills, pressure washers, air compressors, manual post hole augers, floor sanders, and electric chain saws. However, they are fully stocked for screwdrivers, socket sets, wrenches, and hammers.
An annual individual membership costs $50. Members can borrow tools for a week at a time, and can extend online to keep items for longer. The library is open at Bellevue every Saturday afternoon from 1 to 5 pm.
Membership is also open to community leagues. Cann said Alberta Avenue Community League holds a membership, and Parkdale Cromdale Community League used some of the tools to build the raised beds for their community garden. A league membership is $250 per year and provides full access to the library for all league members.
My family and I regularly borrow tools for tasks around the house and yard. Last year when we resurfaced our deck with cedar, we borrowed several drills, shovels, levels, and other equipment from the library, saving hundreds of dollars on the purchase or rental of tools.
Our experience has been that the library is a great resource in terms of accessing equipment, and the volunteers who staff it every Saturday afternoon are helpful and fun.
So before you buy or rent another drill or sawhorse, consider the Edmonton Tool Library. They might be able to save you money, storage space, and time.
As Kielback said, “If someone has a project and they need the tools to complete it, we have the tools they need.”
EDMONTON TOOL LIBRARY
Open 1-5 pm on Saturdays
Bellevue Community Hall
7308 112 Ave
Featured Image: The Tool Library is open on Saturdays at Bellevue Community Hall. | Rebecca Lippiatt