Author: Darren Cotton

Darren has over a decade of experience in the fields of community development, urban planning, and information design. Working as Director of Community Development & Planning at the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA), Darren was responsible for writing and administering over $2 million in grant funding focused on commercial corridor revitalization, small business development, alternative transportation planning, historic preservation, public art, and community capacity building in Buffalo's University District. As a graduate student at the University at Buffalo, Darren founded The Tool Library, a community-based tool lending library, with an aim of providing affordable tool access and building the Sharing Economy in WNY. With a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and Linguistics and a Master's Degree in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo, Darren works to bridge the gap between research and policy through planning, design, and grassroots activism. and is a firm believer that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Next City recently published an op-ed by Darren Cotton, founder and executive director of The Tool Library, highlighting the significance of local repair movements in reshaping attitudes towards disposability and waste. The op-ed was prompted by New York State’s Digital Fair Repair Act, the first comprehensive right-to-repair law in the nation, which took effect on December 28, 2023. This law mandates that manufacturers of common electronic goods make repair parts, tools, and guides accessible to all, and several states are now considering similar legislation. While legislative strides are needed for systemic change, the op-ed emphasizes the pivotal role of local repair movements…

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Cash Mob @ Parkside Candy! 11 AM this Saturday, March 23. University Heights is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in Buffalo. It’s home to great restaurants, pocket parks, lovely architecture, the North Buffalo Rail Trail, and even a world-class research university. The University Heights Collaborative (UHC) is on a mission to help Buffalo experience The Heights in a new way. We are working to support small businesses dotting Main Street through Cash Mobs, a concept that originated in Buffalo in 2011. The idea (the Cash Mob concept was born in Buffalo) is to organize a bunch of people to simultaneously show up…

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The Tool Library announces it will be hosting a winter 2024 series of Dare to Repair Cafes. These volunteer-powered events put tools and talents to use in the community in an effort to reduce waste by diverting usable items from landfills. Individuals can bring broken household items such as lamps, vacuums, and small electronics to be repaired free of charge by volunteer fixers. The winter series will consist of 3 separate Dare to Repair Cafes at the following locations and Saturdays from 11 am to 2 pm: Anyone interested in bringing appliances or household items to be repaired are strongly…

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The Tool Library will be celebrating International Repair Day this Saturday October 21st by hosting a Dare to Repair Café at the Orchard Park Public Library. és are pop-up community events where individuals can bring broken items (lamps, small electronics, vacuums, toys, clothing, etc.) to the repair café and have volunteer “fixers” try to repair the item alongside them for free! This volunteer-powered event puts tools and talents to use in the community in an effort to reduce waste by diverting usable items from landfills. “Repairing the things we already own is one of the simplest ways we can take action in creating…

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The Tool Library will host its annual fundraiser and garden party, Gather Garden + Grow, on Saturday August 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Plot Flower Farm located behind the former Cantalician Center at 3233 Main Street. During the event, guests can play lawn games, tour the garden, enjoy fresh-cut flowers, participate in basket raffles, a silent auction, activities, and more. New merchandise and memberships will be available for purchase and projects built by Tool Library members will also be on display. Tool Library volunteers will be present at the event for community members to learn more about…

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When your stuff breaks, don’t ditch it – fix it! Don’t know how? The fixers with Dare to Repair will show you. Join The Tool Library and Buffalo Recycles for their January Dare to Repair Cafe on Saturday, January 21st at 11AM at the Tosh Collins Community Center in South Buffalo. Details for the event are as follows: What is a Dare to Repair Cafe you might ask? It’s a popup community event where you can bring a broken item and work with a team of fixers to try and repair the item for FREE! Dare to Repair’s goal is to share repair skills, save…

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When your stuff breaks, don’t ditch it – fix it! Don’t know how? The fixers with Dare to Repair will show you. Join The Tool Library and Buffalo Recycles for their December Dare to Repair Cafe on Saturday, December 3rd at 11AM at the Frank E. Merriweather Public Library. Details for the event are as follows: Location: Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Branch Library – 1324 Jefferson Ave, Buffalo, NY 14208 (https://goo.gl/maps/ibt3Xg6y8guNmtCYA)Date: Saturday, December 3rdTime: 11am – 2pm  What is a Dare to Repair Cafe you might ask? It’s a popup community event where you can bring a broken item and work with a team of fixers to…

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Buffalo, NY – The Tool Library’s service events return to put their tools and volunteers to work with a calendar of community service events every Saturday in October and on November 5. Each of the six service events provide an opportunity to beautify, strengthen, and contribute to the WNY community through direct, hands-on action. This fall’s schedule includes park and trail cleanups, planting in community gardens, and gardening at William Gaiter Parkway, and cleanup in Dewey Park. In addition to focusing on neighborhood improvement activities, The Tool Library’s service events provide an opportunity for volunteers to learn new skills, such…

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The Tool Library will be celebrating another year of borrowing and building at Gather, Garden & Grow, their annual fundraiser and garden part on Saturday, August 13th from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Plot Flower Farm, Buffalo’s smallest (and newest!) urban flower farm, located behind the former Cantalician Center at 3233 Main Street. Tickets are $20 for adults and free for children under the age of 12 and can be purchased online. During the outdoor event, guests can play lawn games, tour the garden, participate in loads of basket and fresh cut flower raffles, and dine on award winning jerk chicken from…

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When your stuff breaks, you should have the right to repair it. The fixers with Dare to Repair will show you how! Join The Tool Library and friends for the first Dare to Repair Cafe of 2022 on Saturday, June 4th at 11AM at the Lancaster Public Library. Details for the event are as follows: Location: Lancaster Public Library – 5466 Broadway, Lancaster NY 14086 (goo.gl/maps/ekRupwCZ6CQC5Btd6)Date: Saturday, June 4thTime: 11am – 2pm After over a year hiatus, the Dare to Repair crew is back in action fixing your stuff FOR FREE and teaching you how! Can’t make it this weekend? No problem! There will be two more Dare to…

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