A new kind of library: “Instead of lending books, we’re lending tools”

Buying all the appropriate equipment could add up quickly and you might not ever use those tools again, and renting tools from big box companies is sneaky pricey too. But there are ways to get that new project done on the cheap.

“I’ve always built things, I’ve always loved to do that.” Halden Sproule wants to spread his affinity for building with his upcoming tool library. And yes, it is what it sounds like.

“Instead of lending books, we’re lending tools.”

Sproule, who moved to Hamilton from Toronto, lives in a one bedroom condo, and understands the needs of urbanites who might not have the space or cash to have many tools. “People who have a small living space, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a lot of tools because there’s nowhere to store them. Other people just can’t afford it.”

The library was inspired by a Toronto project and will charge members an average of $50 a year to borrow the mainly donated tools. In comparison, it costs anywhere between $11 and $200 to rent just one tool at a big box store.

A similar program is already underway in Hamilton: a group operating out of the former St Peter’s Church on King St E has a small space where anyone can borrow tools free of charge.

“Back when i was doing more construction i was able to borrow some saws that i needed and some hand tools.”

And the tool library just won’t be a place where you can rent equipment. If you don’t know the difference between a hedge cutter and a jig saw, they’ll coach you up.

“We’ll have people from the community who know how to work a shop or know how to build things and they’ll teach classes.”

Tool libraries have been popping up all over the world from Vancouver to New Zealand and Sproule is learning that the interest is alive in Hamilton.

“They just immediately want to get involved and connect me with other people in the community and it’s been really amazing, it’s kind of endeared me with Hamilton even more.”

“He’s coming into the city to take advantage of something we already started and give another opportunity to happen more easily.”

To make sure it all happens, Sproule is looking to raise $80,000 to get this project underway – he’ll be starting a fundraising campaign in mid-September. In the meantime you’ll be able to set up donations and memberships once the website is up and running next week.


  1. I hope he has better success than we did. People were careless & brought back items missing pieces and/or broken, or they never brought them back at all.

  2. This is a great idea as long as the people borrowing don’t take advantage of it…. a couple of rotten apples can spoil it for the rest of us…. absolutely great idea though!

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