Doing things right means choosing the right tool for the job. But when the right tool is at the hardware store (with a hefty price tag), we often decide to improvise. That’s when projects get wrecked and injuries happen.

St. John’s Tool Library is a new initiative, setting out to make tools available to everybody. “We have circular saws, hand saws, hammers, screwdriver and socket sets, clamps, and mitre saws, wrenches and Shop-Vacs…” says Ian Froude, founder and Executive Director of the initiative, listing off a few of the tools on hand.

For $75 per year, members get access to the whole inventory for week-long rentals. The shop will open February 28th, but memberships are currently available. More than 60 have been sold so far.

“The St. John’s Tool Library is a not-for-profit tool lending service for anyone in our city who wants access to the hand and power tools they need to do projects in their home, garden, neighbourhood or small business,” says Froude. “We are an innovation that reduces costs to individuals and the planet.”

The arrangement is similar to car sharing, co-working space and others.  By providing a place where people can borrow tools instead of buying, or renting, it reduces the cost of doing projects in your own neighbourhood, home, and garden. “We all want fresh and local food, but getting set up to grow in your backyard is sometimes a challenge, says Froude. “We want to make that easier by providing the tools to be able to do it.”

Beyond the convenience, Froude has big goals for the project. “Our goals are to reduce waste produced by the manufacture and shipping of hundreds, or thousands of tools that are sitting in basements or sheds unused, or underused,” says Froude.

As for cost, the $75 fee was decided with middle and low-income individuals in mind. “Cost is a barrier to many people to do home renovations, DIY projects, and more,” says Froude. “A $75 membership goes a lot further than $75 spent on buying a tool. Members get access to thousands of dollars of tools for their $75.”

It takes a village to build a tool shed, so Tool Library is accepting hand and power tool donations of any sort. “If the tools need a little TLC, we will take those as well, says Froude. “We will even come pick them up, so no hassle on the donors part.”

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