This hugely exciting pilot project aims to provide everyday tools and items to people which they can borrow from their local library, resulting in a positive environmental and social impact.
Have you ever considered the enormous amount of stuff that sits abandoned in sheds, garages and lofts up and down the UK? How many of us have a sewing machine, carpet cleaner or gazebo that gets used possibly once or twice a year? What if instead of taking up precious space in our homes, these items could be borrowed by the local community from their library, saving time, money and space? This is exactly the concept behind a ‘Library of Things’, where instead of only borrowing books from the library you can also borrow an array of useful items for that DIY project, birthday party or cleaning task. Other ‘sharing shops’ are popping up across the country, and are proving incredibly popular as people try to reduce their environmental impact and take part in a sharing economy.
There is also a huge environmental footprint of each household owning one of every item, if everyone on a street owns a drill that is only used once a year, imagine the emissions and natural materials saved by sharing these occasional tools instead. In the midst of the cost of living crisis, borrowing tools and party items can also be a smart move, saving money and connecting people with their local community. Three groups have come together to collaborate on a pilot project to test out this idea right here in Cheltenham, Charlton Kings Parish Council, Planet Cheltenham (a project of charity Vision 21) and Gloucestershire Libraries will be running the project at their site in Charlton Kings.
A survey was run to ask people in the community what items they would most like to borrow and from that survey the team has put together a list of items that they’re asking people to donate to the project.
Do you have any of the following, in good working order, with any instructions or accessories?
- Carpet cleaner
- Pressure washer
- Garden Gazebo
- Steam Cleaner
- Electric Sander
- Tile cutter
- Edge trimmer
- Window Vacuum
- Sewing Machine
- Candy Floss Maker
- Fabric bunting
- Basic tool kit
- Paper shredder
If you have any of these items and want to donate them, please drop them off to Charlton Kings Parish Council offices opposite Co-Op in Church Piece 10-2pm Monday to Friday, alternatively items can be donated to the Charlton Kings Library on Saturday 17th June at the Charlton Kings Summer Fayre.
Raechel Kelly from Planet Cheltenham said ‘Libraries of Things are great ways to reduce your environmental impact but perhaps more importantly are a great way to trial a sharing economy where communities can borrow not buy the stuff they need.’
Felicity Parnham, Charlton Kings Parish Councillor said ‘I am very pleased that Charlton Kings Parish Council has been able to support the Library of Things project both practically and financially. We hope that the scheme will benefit members of the community, particularly at a time when household financial pressures are growing’.
Jo O’Dea from Gloucestershire Libraries said ‘We can’t wait to open the Library of Things in Charlton Kings library.’
The hope is to launch the Library of Things at the library in Charlton Kings on the 3rd July, so make sure you have a library card and account to get ready to borrow!