Way back in the day I used to run a blog called The Lavender Experiment. It wasn’t very interesting and I think approximately 6 people read it, but it holds a special place in my heart nonetheless. I can’t remember if it was on The Lavender Experiment or somewhere else, but I wrote a post many years ago about creating a tool sharing co-op. A place where people donated their under-used tools and appliances and, as members, could borrow from all the items in the library whenever they needed to.
It was an idea I first tapped in to after listening to Rachel Botsman’s TED talk, where she spoke about the average life span of a power drill, and how, on average, that drill might be used for 10-12 minutes. Ever. I loved the idea of pooling and sharing resources, but I had no idea where to begin exploring it, let alone how it would be received. Plus, I had two babies and no time, so the idea stayed in my head. BUT, fast forward a few years and that future is now.
Today I speak to Justin Morrissey, the founder of Toolo, the Blue Mountains’ first tool library and co-op, and I couldn’t be more excited. A huge part of slow living is based in community and environmental stewardship, and tool libraries are a big step in the right direction.
In this episode Justin and I get really practical, as he explains to me how he began the library (and what drove him to do so in the first place) as well as his advice for people who may want to start a library in their own community. We also look at how the organisation is structured and the work that went in to it before launching, as well as the vital role that volunteers play in its ongoing success.
We also talk about the issue of convenience, and why our mindset needs to shift from one of immediacy to one of preparation (we can’t expect these resources to operate in the same way as the local Bunnings or big box store) and how learning to let go of the ego of ownership is a big part in the change too.
If you listen to today’s episode and want to know more about starting or running a tool library yourself, I’d really encourage you to get in touch with the team at Toolo, as they’re a wealth of expertise and are happy to work with other communities looking to make the change. And if you live in the Blue Mountains, sign up and support Toolo! They need to make it to 150 members by 2018 in order to keep running and that means it’s on us to support them.