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Borrow & Build: The Tool Library Turns Seven

Before and after…

Seven years after first opening its doors for business, the all-volunteer University Heights Tool Library has gone from a few dozen tools and a handful of members, to an inventory of over 2,500 tools, more than 15,000 completed loans, and a membership closing in on 1,000. To celebrate its seventh birthday, the Tool Library is hosting its first ever Roundtable to imagine what the next seven years could look like.

The Roundtable will take place on Saturday, April 28th from 1:00PM-2:30PM at the University Heights CoLab (9 W. Northrup Place) located right next to the Tool Library.

For those who might not be familiar with the Tool Library, the concept is simple. You sign up for an annual membership, borrow tools on an as-needed basis for up to a week, and return them when you’re done. Based on a sharing economy model, the Tool Library aims to save people time, money, and space whether they’re master gardeners, novice DIYers, or block club members looking to make a difference in their neighborhood.

“Our mission at the Tool Library is to provide communities with the tools they need to create the change they want. What that means and what that looks like on the ground can be radically different from member to member and that’s the beauty of the Tool Library, it becomes a springboard for so many diverse and exciting projects, programs, and initiatives” said Darren Cotton, Founder of the Tool Library.

Over the past seven years, the Tool Library has worked with close to 5,000 volunteers who have clocked more than 18,000 volunteer hours on community projects ranging from park cleanups, tree plantings, building board-ups, mural painting, repair cafés, raised bed construction, and much, much more! During that same time, more than three dozen DIY classes, workshops, and activities have been held at the Tool Library’s next door neighbor, the University Heights Community Laboratory (CoLab), to teach people new skills and train them how to get the most out of their Tool Library membership.

Fresh off forming a board of directors and incorporating as an independent nonprofit, the Tool Library is embarking on a strategic planning process to build on these past successes and needs your help! How can we build a stronger, more inclusive Buffalo with shared tools and resources?

Tool Library board members will be facilitating different interactive stations for you to provide your input, ideas, and feedback. Topics for the day include:

  • Expansion & Satellite Locations
  • Volunteer & Member Incentives
  • Partnership Development
  • Tool Wishlist
  • DIY Classes and Workshops
  • Community Projects

You bring the ideas and a few friend and they’ll provide great food, drinks, mad post-it notes, and some sick beats!

Those interested in attending can RSVP on the Tool Library’s website:

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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