Borrow tools from a local library

August 23, 2009 5:27:13 AM PDT
A library in West Philadelphia isn't offering books, but tools.It's called "The Tool Library," and people stop by to borrow hammers, saws, and even power tools.

It's located at 46th and Woodland.

RELATED LINK: The West Philadelphia Tool Library

"We have hand tools and everything up to larger power tools," said Eric Rivera of the Tool Library.

The shelves are stocked with 1,600 tools that were donated or purchased with grant money. Members pay $20 per year to borrow whatever they like.

So far, there are 400 members.

The tools are used for everything from light handy work to full scale renovation. Just two weeks ago, volunteers used 100 loaner tools to build a playground at 47th & Sansom.

Alyce Miller borrowed a tree trimmer to cut back high branches. A 40 foot ladder is next on her list to shore up bricks on her 3 story rowhome.

"I'm a tool user. That's why I'm so thankful I can come around here and get their tools. A lot of tools I don't have in my home," Miller said.

The West Philadelphia Tool Library is one of about 20 to 30 across the country. The oldest dates back about 30 years.

Members love the financial flexibility borrowing tools affords them.

"I have a big old house we renovated, so I don't have to buy every tool that you need to use once. It's been convenient and they have so many tools in here," said member Gloria Prusakowski.

The 8 foot ladder and pipe wrench Prusakowski borrowed were among the half dozen borrowed tools she's used this year that could cost hundreds to buy or rent.

"You might need a large expensive tool once and you don't want to drop $300 for that. So the idea you can use it once for what you need then someone else in the community can use it," she said.

The library also offers how to books, classes and advice. It's a tool cooperative that saves dollars and makes sense in tough economic times.


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