Tool borrowing scheme launches in Edinburgh libraries

Local library users will soon be able to borrow a hammer with their hardback, thanks to a pioneering partnership initiative in the capital.

Visitors to Portobello Library will now have access to a fully-equipped ‘tool box’ contributed by the Edinburgh Tool Library – the first of its kind in the UK – from which they can borrow and return a range of tools.

Portobello LibraryThe Edinburgh Tool Library, which launched in 2015, lends equipment for DIY, gardening and decorating, meaning members don’t need to buy or maintain rarely-used tools. The charity also supports young unemployed people to learn about tools, maintenance and customer service, under the mentorship of retired professionals, from their workshop in Custom Lane, Leith.

Following the launch in Portobello Library, tool boxes will be located in Craigmillar and Piershill Libraries from August. In addition, members will have access to the Custom Lane workshop, where they can receive guidance and DIY advice from experienced volunteers. 

Councillor Ian Perry, Education, Children and Families Convener, said: “Our libraries provide a local hub for so many people – whether they go there to meet like-minded people, learn a new skill or simply take out a book – and now they can borrow their tools too.

“This worthwhile project will not only offer the public access to worthwhile resources, but will support people to learn skills and gain experience, to the benefit of the surrounding community.”

Anna Raymond, Edinburgh Tool Network Coordinator, said: " At the Tool Library we are incredibly excited to expand our reach beyond Leith and share our tools with the residents of Portobello, Piershill and Craigmillar. We hope to work with these communities to help them learn new skills, save money and save the planet!"

Chris Hellawell established the Edinburgh Tool Library after discovering a similar project in Toronto, where he witnessed the benefits the model could have for those starting out in a trade career with few tools and low funds.

Since opening in a police box on Leith Walk, the tool library has grown to offer 4000 tools, including hand tools, power tools and gardening gear, and leads an extensive programme of community projects, helping local charities and groups to design and build.

Annual membership of the Edinburgh Tool Library is purchased by making a chosen donation to the charity. Membership can also be bought as a gift for someone else via the organisation’s ‘pay it forward’ scheme.

Founders now hope offer services to engage with and support community initiatives around the three libraries involved.

Portobello Library Tool Library sessions take place on Mondays, 4.30pm - 7pm. Find out more on their Facebook page.


The City of Edinburgh Council news blog - letters, opinion, news snippets, video, photos and more.....

Recent posts