Sudbury library's Repair Café builds community of fixers

The Mackenzie Street branch of the Greater Sudbury Public Library is hosting a Repair Café Saturday, Dec. 7, starting at 10:30. This café focuses on mending, knitting and crocheting.

Overwhelming response to Repair Café, says library staff member

Brittany McNamara is a community programmer with the Greater Sudbury Public Library. She says the response has been 'overwhelming' to the library's Repair Café. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

How many of us are in the habit of simply throwing something out instead of fixing it?

The Mackenzie Street branch of the Greater Sudbury Public Library has a suggestion — check out the Repair Café, Saturday Dec. 7 at 10:30 a.m. It runs all day.

Brittany MacNamara is a community programmer with the Sudbury library. She says a Repair Café is a way to build a community of fixers.

"A lot of people don't fix their things because going out and buying the tools to fix things is where the cost kind of starts to come in and you're never going to use those tools again," said McNamara.

"But the Makerspace has a bunch of them that people can use for free," she added.

McNamara decided to have a special repair day each month at the library.

"We're doing stitching and crocheting and they are going to be finishing a little project that the Girl Guides started," said McNamara.

She hopes that those who turn up at the Repair Café will make a few small blankets that can be donated to NEO Kids, northeastern Ontario's hub for specialized children's care at Health Sciences North.

But anyone can come in with an item that needs mending, or if they're interested in trying knitting or crocheting for the first time.

"There's definitely people here that'll be able to teach new people how to do those things," said McNamara.

She says the community is lucky to have so many volunteers who are willing to pass along their skills to those who are want to learn.

"For example, we have a group from the South End library that gets together and does what they call a Sit and Stitch," said McNamara. 

She's hoping to recruit others with different skills and talents that they want to share with others.

McNamara says the response so far to the Repair Café has been overwhelming.

She says the Facebook post was the "most liked, most shared, most viewed post in a really long time and a lot of people thought it was a really good idea."

McNamara says people have suggested that youngsters come in and help adults fix their technology at a Repair Café, and seniors are offering to volunteer their time and show what they're capable of.

With files from Martha Dillman


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