Handy Edmontonians plan to open city's first tool library

The public library is a place where you can borrow books, music, videos and more. But what about a library for tools? A couple of Edmontonians are looking to start one.

In need of some home improvement? The tool library could help

Assortment of tools.
Justin Lemphers, president of the Yukon Labour Federation says there have been several complaints made in the past year of jobs advertised and people hired at lower-than-list wages. (CBC)

Edmontonians will soon be able to add tools to the list of items available for checking out from the library, thanks to a new non-profit initiative in the works.

When up and running, the Edmonton Tool Library will operate similarly to a public library, said co-founder Leslie Bush on Wednesday. 
Locals have begun the first steps to forming a tool library in Edmonton, including the logo design. (Edmonton Tool Library)

"It's like a book library except with tools."

Similar libraries have already opened in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, but Bush came up with the idea of opening an Edmonton edition while he was renovating his new condo downtown.

As renovations progressed, "I realized I was accumulating a bunch of tools," he said.

Instead of buying all of the tools he needed, Bush opted to rent some of the more specialized items. However, he quickly grew tired of the cost and inconvenience that came with tracking down the required tools, which he generally needed for only a few hours at a time.

So, he paired up with three friends to make it a little easier for Edmontians who lack the money, space or inclination to start their own tool set.

Hammering out the details

The plan is to open the new tool library downtown, where many residents don't have the room to store many tools.

Edmontonians who sign up for an annual membership will be able to borrow tools for limited periods of time. Staff will also be on site to teach borrowers how to use the tools properly.

Bush said the group is still figuring out what costs will be associated with the annual membership. He hopes the Edmonton edition will be able to follow in the footsteps of other tool libraries across Canada that offer a pay-what-you-can or work-in-trade service.

While the borrowing costs are still being worked out, Bush said there are no concerns when it comes to finding tools for the library.
Robyn Webb (left) and Leslie Bush (right) have formed a non-profit initiative to start Edmonton's first tool library. (CBC)

"After thinking that we were going to have to shell out a lot of money for tools," he said he learned from other tool libraries that, "a lot of them continue to get tool donations after they started asking for them."

He's also hopeful Edmontonians will donate some of the spare tools that they would ordinarily throw away.

"There are tools out there that don't have a home and we'd love to have one for them,"  he said.

The group doesn't yet have a firm opening date in mind, but is hoping to be up and running later this year. The organizers have put up a facebook page to keep people updated as their plans move forward.