Join the Tool Library Sharing Economy

Back in December and in March 2015 I wrote about tool libraries and the state of the sharing economy in Canada. During my research I encountered wonderful volunteers building DIY sharing economies across the continent. For a tool-using guy like me, it’s really quite thrilling.

While some cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Denver, Halifax, and Calgary have already launched their tool library programs with great success, there are some places in Canada where things are just heating up. Ottawa offers one great opportunity to pitch in personally.

Ottawa Tool Library, Ottawa ON

Bettina and Donna with tools
Bettina Vollmerhausen and Donna Henhoeffer from the Ottawa Tool Library certainly love tools, but more than that they’ve also got energy, vision, stamina and the ability to take on the challenge of bringing the sharing economy to Ottawa.

The Ottawa Tool Library (OTL) begins it’s inaugural year with a big effort. Looking to provide services beyond the basic tool lending programs, the OTL will be supporting DIYers with educational workshops and opportunities for hand’s on building experiences to get their feet wet before sending them home with tools. They’re bringing the kind of hard-working, Canadian spirit that’s a big reason why these types of endeavors have met with such success in other cities, marrying it seamlessly with a love for everything Ottawa and everything tools.

How Can You Help?

Ottawa Tool Library Logo
The Ottawa Tool Library is always looking for volunteers and tool donations. In addition, if you’ve got a few dollars kicking around, you can donate right here to their crowd funding campaign.

La Remise – Montreal, QC

La Remise (English translation by Google) is an up-and-coming tool library that is in it’s formative stages. They’re not setting the bar low either, as they intend to create the most complete collection of publically-available tools in all of Quebec. In a region where much of the population lives in apartments, La Remise aims to provide space, tools, and support for makers and craftsman at every level of skill, from novices to professionals.

La Remise is the upstart Montreal Tool Library. They're doing an awesome job organizing and bringing together community support for tool libraries in Quebec.
La Remise is the upstart Montreal Tool Library. They’re doing an awesome job organizing and bringing together community support for tool libraries in Quebec.

Whether it’s limited space, limited funds, limited helping hands or a lack of access to quality information, La Remise seeks to fill in the gaps with a sense of community and shared growth. Their program has low barriers to entry and is very ambitious, and wouldn’t be possible without their incredibly talented volunteer staff.

La Remise will also be an informal space to fight social exclusion. It will value the manual skills and enable people of all ages, all backgrounds and all social classes to meet.Therefore, La Remise will be a place conducive to the development of informal networks of support and integration.

How you can help La Remise?

La Remise has the unique proposition of requiring volunteers in the form of excellent translators, both those capable of translating materials from French to English, and vice versa. This might include transcribing video captions, marketing information, website content, how-to books and guides, and much more. Get in touch at [email protected]. You can also make a contribution to their current crowdfunding campaign here.

Steve, I don’t live in a big city. What about us?

Tool libraries aren’t just big endeavors for big places. The idea of sharing economies is as old as mankind. If your community doesn’t have a tool library that doesn’t mean you can’t start one where you live. Tool clubs and cooperative garages/workshops aren’t anything new at all. People have been doing it forever. There are many anecdotal references in film and television from days past about pesky neighbors borrowing tools and not returning them. It’s a trope that writers relied on for many years to create dramatic conflict between actors that audiences could relate to. Imagine that! Tool Sharing certainly has a storied history in the growth of our culture, I’m excited to see what happens next!

That said, the best solution is often times a strong case of action. If you’ve got the tool sharing bug, maybe it’s time to look at what you can do in your community, or even just your neighborhood. Get together with your friends and neighbors and talk about tool sharing, and how access to tools and know-how from within the community can make it better.