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The West Philly Tool Library

I think the concept is obvious from the name, so read the post for organizing and management details, and tips on how to start your own. Here's the part that caught my eye:

People who liked libraries or cooperatives were the first tier of folks that joined. The second tier were mostly college educated folks with jobs– young couples, people who bought fixer-uppers, etc. After the word got out, the Tool Library started to attract more working class and poor residents from the neighborhood. Although no demographic data is officially collected, Froehlich estimates that currently, the membership is about two-thirds individuals and families who would be characterized as middle class or “professionals” and one-third working class or poor.

It's nice to see classes mixed, no? Tends to create empathy, humanize "the other."

And in this university town, all the adjuncts -- who essentially bear the parasitical administrators on their backs, much as slaves, in feudal times so much unlike ours, would bear the nobility on their backs in litters or palanquins -- think of themselves as "middle class" but are as working class as any tatooed fry cook, who probably makes better money and isn't in debt. And they could probably really use a tool library.

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techno's picture
Submitted by techno on

In you divide the world into Producer and Predators, then all those who know how to use tools are in the same class. Yes there are gradations of tool sophistication within the Producer Classes, but we technologically literate types tend to look down on those who are clumsy with tools with considerable scorn. I personally think of them as the partially evolved.

Tool libraries are an incredible idea. It's like having a bunch of really good neighbors.

Submitted by Lex on

are a great idea. Good tools are expensive; cheap tools generally suck; and most people don't use tools often enough to make the purchase of a quality tool worthwhile.

If possible, a household should have the basics on hand. A tool library is a great solution to the rest of them. I love my chop saw. Do i use it that often, no, no i don't. I like to use a project as an excuse to purchase a tool. IMO, a tool is also an investment in self-sufficiency and resiliency. But if there was a tool library here, i'd take advantage of it.

As an aside, i would strongly recommend that if one is looking for a drill/driver for light to medium duty household tasks, the Black & Decker cordless utilizing the 20v lithium ion battery is a good way to go. It's still a cordless and so not a serious workhorse, but it is a good all-around tool. It can sit, with a battery connected for months and still work when you need it. It holds a charge quite a long time. And the best part is that B&D makes other tools that use the same battery. So when i bought a cordless weed whip (so lovely and i can do the whole yard on a single charge), i got two more of those batteries and another charger.

Submitted by Lex on

It would also serve as a good spot for getting people together for general purchases.

For example, people want to make low hoop houses. Everybody chips in and buys a big roll of greenhouse plastic, divides it, and gets what they need.

It would be excellent for tillers and chippers and heavy equipment like that which only get used once a year in most cases.