'Library of Things' comes to Kitchener-Waterloo

For $40 a year, residents in Kitchener and Waterloo will soon be able to borrow household items such as kitchen supplies or camping gear through the 'library of things.'

For $40 a year, members can borrow household items such as kitchen supplies or camping gears.

Items donated from a donation drive organized by the team. (Submitted by KW Library of Things)

Starting in January 2018, residents in Kitchener-Waterloo will have access to the region's 'library of things,' where people can pay an annual membership fee to borrow anything from kitchen utensils to camping gear. 

Members can go online to see an inventory of the items offered and sign it out for a week, said Devon Fernandes, a co-founder of the library. 

He said the purpose of the project is to also use the membership fees to provide employment and "livable wages" to people living with "barriers." 

"Instead of just borrowing items, we'll be creating a sense of community for Kitchener-Waterloo," Fernandes told CBC. 

The library is being started by Extend-A-Family Services in Waterloo Region, a non-profit agency that serves adults and children with developmental disabilities, and the Sustainable Society Consulting Group. 

Embrace' life

About a week ago, Fernandes and his team hosted a donation party where they collected over 350 items from the wider community to cross items off their "ultimate wish list." He said they received everything from crock pots to tile-cutters. 

"We want people to imagine what could be in this library," Fernandes said. "Anything you don't use frequently but really need to embrace various parts of life in different ways." 

Members who return their items late will be charged fees. If they break an item, Fernandes said there will be "tool doctors" who can fix it up. 

"People are more careful when it's a community-based item," he said. 

Fernandes said a goal of the project is to also reduce waste, as the landfill in Waterloo will reach its full capacity by 2030. 

"The average drill is used for about 12 minutes in its lifetime," he said. "Instead of accumulating dust in your basement, why can't we just share these items?"