The West Seattle Tool Library is pleased to announce that we are going mobile. Thanks to a few generous sponsorships and the ongoing support of our growing 700-plus member community, the tool library has purchased a trailer and refurbished it to serve as a mobile extension of our well-loved collection of tools.
The new mobile unit, sized 7×14 feet, will be stocked with a variety of the most popular tools. The trailer will allow for members who do not have a vehicle, who need a tool that doesn’t fit in their vehicle or simply want the convenience of having it delivered, to do so for a fee of $10 each way. The mobile tool library will also be available to community groups who are working on a project and need a large number of tools on site.
Members will be able to request a pickup or delivery by contacting the library by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (206) 317-4671.
“This mobile unit will dramatically increase accessibility to the West Seattle Tool Library for a number of our neighbors who, for one reason or another, can’t always make it down to the tool library itself during open hours,” said Patrick Dunn, tool library founder. “It’s a really exciting opportunity to reach out to the community and ensure that everyone has access to the tools they need to take on projects of all sorts.”
The bright red unit, which resembles a horse trailer and was purchased in used condition and refurbished to a pristine state by Tool Library Director Micah Summers, will be officially rolled out to the public Thursday night, July 12, at the Tool Library’s regular DIY community meetup and “Ask an Expert” night. It will then be on display at the GreenLife exposition (part of West Seattle Summer Fest ) this weekend in the West Seattle Junction.
Held at the tool library’s permanent location in the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way, the “Ask an Expert” event runs from 6-8 p.m. and offers area residents an opportunity to bounce project ideas off fellow DIYers and receive advice from experts in a variety of home improvement and sustainability fields.
The mobile unit was made possible by grants from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, the West Seattle Garden Tour and other donors.
The West Seattle Tool Library officially opened its doors in June of 2010, offering free community access to a variety of more than 100 tools out of a small storage closet. Just two years later, that modest collection has grown to over 1,500 mostly-donated tools, serving a membership of around 700 people from a renovated workshop space at Youngstown.
The tool library also hosts a wide range of educational classes and workshops, a fixer’s collective and social events geared toward the Do-It-Yourself community. Besides Summers, an intern and a number of volunteers help keep the library open and humming on weekends and Thursday nights.
The West Seattle Tool Library officially opened its doors in June of 2010, offering free community access to a rather decent variety of over 100 tools out of a small storage closet. Just two years later, that modest collection has now grown to over 1,500 tools, serving a membership of around 700 neighbors from a wonderfully renovated workshop space at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.
Though an incredible amount of volunteer effort, staff time, and member support certainly helped bring this community resource to life, The Tool Library also owes a tremendous deal of gratitude and thanks to its generous donors. These donors include The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, The West Seattle Garden Tour, Alaska Airlines, and, most recently, The Grainger Foundation.
In honor of The Tool Library’s achievements – and to ensure its ability to pursue all its exciting potential – The Grainger Foundation recently awarded The Tool Library with a extremely generous grant in the amount $10,000. As an organization that encourages sustainability, community involvement, technical training, and disaster preparedness, The Grainger Foundation identified The Tool Library as a natural partner. We couldn’t agree more!
Our heartfelt thanks goes out to the entire Grainger organization for all their support and recognition, as well as all the other great work that they continue to support throughout the country.
Pictured in this photo taken in The Tool Library’s Workshop are (from left to right) Bob Noble, Grainger Assistant Branch Manager; Gene Boyington, Grainger Branch Manager; Christina Hahs, SWS president; Richard Garrett, Grainger Customer Service Associate and National Sustainability Chair; Micah Summers, SWS Tool Library manager; and Patrick Dunn, SWS Tool Library Founder.
In response to the demands from our membership and the greater community, The Tool Library will now use these funds to support our education curriculum, continue to develop our mobile operations, and increase our open hours to make The Tool Library even more accessible to all our neighbors throughout the region.
After two full years in operation and with all of this generous support, in many ways we kinda feel like we’re just getting going!
Thank you for your continued support of Sustainable West Seattle and the West Seattle Tool Library.
The Seattle Share Fair
Tuesday, February 21st, 6-9pm
The West Seattle Senior Center
4217 SW Oregon Street
You may have recently heard the terms collaborative consumption, meshing, or the sharing economy. Basically, this is just a fancy new vocabulary for the time honored practice of sharing with your friends and neighbors. But now local services are springing up everywhere to promote the practice and provide inexpensive or even free access to almost all the various things you might need in your everyday life. Through these services, it’s now more attractive and simple than ever to share with both your inner circles as well as neighbors you haven’t even met!
At Seattle Share Fair, you’ll learn how to use all these services to gain easier access to thousands of tools and household items, workshops, cars, media, and even land for gardening. You’ll also learn how to personally start up similar services, just in case you’d like to have a Tool Library in your own neighborhood. The Seattle Share Fair is the place to get started!
The Course of Events
6-7pm: Share Fair Tabling: Get Involved!
7-8:20pm: Feature Program
Facilitator: Gene Homicki, Local Tools
Speaker: Patrick Dunn, Share Starter
Billy Thomspon, Zipcar (Car Sharing)
Max Hepp-Buchanan, Cascade Bicycle Club (Bike Sharing)
Micah Summers, West Seattle Tool Library (Tool/Stuff Sharing)
Ken Gollersrud, Seattle Public Libraries (Information/Stuff Sharing)
Peter Rothbart, We Patch (Land/Garden Sharing)
Willow Brugh, Space Federation (Space Sharing)
8:20-9pm: Socialize & Sign up!
How to Share “The Gettin’ There”:
West Seattle Senior Center
4217 SW Oregon Street
If you can’t walk or bike, you might explore a few other options before you drive to the Share Fair by yourself:
Public Transit (Destination, Date, & Arrival Time Already Entered)
Zipcar (Car Sharing)
Avego (Ride Sharing)
If you’d prefer not to use any of these services but would still like to carpool, please comment to let us know and we’ll try to set something up the old fashioned way…by email.
Seattle Share Fair Reading & Resource List
It ain’t all reading and it is totally optional. Just in case you’re the type that likes to do some prep work….
The Sharing Revolution
What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption
Hardcopy available at The Seattle Public Library.
Audiobook available on itunes.
The Sharing Economy, Fast Company
In A Down Economy, Sharing Takes Off, NBC Nightly News (video)
Steve Case, Founder of AOL, on The Sharing Economy , The Colbert Report (video)
Various Other Articles on The Sharing Economy
Seattle Tool (and Stuff) Sharing
Share your Stuff, Yes! Magazine
Ten Ways to Save the World: Build a Local Tool Library, Popular Mechanics
Tool Library Grand Re-Opening At Youngstown, West Seattle Herald (video)
West Seattle Tool Library
Sustainable NE Tool Share
Phinney Tool Library
Seattle Farm Co-op
Seattle Bike Sharing
Seattle Bike Share Feasibility Study, Department of Urban Design & Planning, UW
How are you participating in The Sharing Economy?
Leave a comment and let us know!
Why keep your skills a secret, especially if you can earn a little revenue by sharing them? We’re constantly looking for new instructors on unique topics to be part of The Tool Library’s ongoing Make-It Workshop Series on Tuesday nights. Propose your class, anything from beekeeping to homebrewing, and we’ll try to find a spot for you. Instructors receive 50% of the proceeds, which could mean up to $150/class. To propose a class, please feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know your interest and qualifications.
On February 21st, Sustainable West Seattle will be giving away 2 roundtrip tickets good for anywhere Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air fly. Raffle tickets will be awarded to all those who complete any of the following before the date of the drawing:
- Join Sustainable West Seattle or renew your membership with a $20 donation;
- Join The Tool Library or renew your membership with a $20 donation;
- Purchase a Tool Library Gift Membership;
- Take a Tool Library Class; or
- Attend any SWS-sponsored activity and purchase a raffle ticket for $20.
Raffle tickets can also be purchased at The West Seattle Tool Library during open hours. Those who sign up or renew their memberships on the web will automatically be entered in the drawing. There is no limit to the number of times any individual can enter, through whichever means. SWS Board Members and their relatives are ineligible to participate.
CURRENT ODDS: 1 in 75
This autumn, The West Seattle Tool Library is proud to be hosting Sawhorse Revolution, a youth carpentry program that aims to bring the spirit of self-sufficiency and craftsmanship to the city during the school year.
Every Wednesday night, a handful of volunteer counselors gather for three hours in the Tool Library’s workshop, teaching wood-working skills to West Seattle highschoolers. Because this is the inaugural after-school event of Sawhorse Revolution, the theme of the 2011 pilot program is ”building a workshop” and the primary focus is basic joinery.
The students are learning how to shape their own mallets out of alder and then wield them, along with pull-saws, combination squares, and chisels, to design and cut mortise and tenon joints into table skirts and legs of clear fir. The Tool Library’s large collection of tools is being put to good use on hardwood unhesitatingly donated by the Blackstock Lumber Company of West Queen Anne.
Sawhorse Revolution is affiliated with the Rubicon Foundation, a Seattle-based 501(c)(3) that has hosted programs in carpentry, wood-working, and construction for Seattle youth from West Seattle, Chief Sealth, and Franklin high schools. Until now, all activities have been at the Smoke Farm, a former dairy situated along the Stillaguamish river in Arlington.
If you would like to know more about Sawhorse Revolution, the Rubicon Foundation, and the second iteration of the pilot program, due to appear next spring, please write to Kyle McCarthy Nunes and Maria Palomo at email@example.com.
Tool Library member, Patrick Baer, was kind enough to send us along some pictures of his working prototype for a cold frame/mini-greenhouse that he built using the Tool Library’s collection. It looks great and we couldn’t help but notice that this is an excellent example of using re-purposed materials for your garden. We also couldn’t help but notice that the outside temps in Seattle this spring and summer haven’t exactly been helpful for the gardening season. No doubt that Patrick is getting a lot of use of his mini-greenhouse. It was a great year to build it!
If you’ve used the Tool Library’s collection to build projects of your own and wouldn’t mind if we highlighted your work, please feel free to send pictures and a project description along to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always curious what the tools get up to when they’re out on the town!
Perhaps there should have been something incredibly scary about giving dangerous power tools to folks who probably had little experience using them. Luckily, the Sustainable West Seattle volunteers who started the West Seattle Tool Library didn’t let that stop them. A year after it opened its doors, The Tool Library is now thriving with over 300 members, a Best of Seattle award, a slew of recognition from both local and national media, and a tool collection so vast that a new home had to be found to accommodate it.
At first glance, that may seem like a whole lot of excitement over a very basic idea. Tool Libraries aren’t anything new to this country nor, for that matter, is the simple idea of neighbors sharing their tools. In that respect, The West Seattle Tool Library is hardly innovative. It was formed from the successful molds of similar operations in Portland, West Philly, and Berkeley, among others. Just like those libraries, the West Seattle Tool Library is really nothing more than a glorified neighbor’s garage. In fact, that’s kinda the point.
The Tool Library is an effort to encourage neighbors to share not only their tools – everything from cider presses to chainsaws – but their knowledge, time, and skills as well. To facilitate that neighborly way, The West Seattle Tool Library hosts events each month, such as Ask an Expert, where all this knowledge can be exchanged, confirmed and enhanced by visiting experts, and then supported by a huge collection of rentable tools. The hope is that a good idea, especially if it’s sustainable, doesn’t just remain an idea but that it soon becomes a good project with a great result. So far, those results are impressive.
Over the last year, hundreds of citizens and community groups have enlisted the help of The Library’s collection to take on projects ranging from chicken coops to community orchards and a hundred things in between. Since all it takes to borrow tools from the Library is two forms of ID, an optional donation, and a signed waiver, the Tool Library’s collection has put in a healthy amount of community service in the hands of a number of productive West Seattle neighbors.
To keep that momentum going and continue to add to its offerings, The Tool Library moved its operations in April from its small, initial home at South Seattle Community College to Youngstown Cultural Arts Center on Delridge Way SW. Not only did the new home quadruple The Tool Library’s square footage, but it also allowed the Tool Library to offer a community workshop space complete with tablesaw, bandsaw, jointer, and most all the stationary tools that make up a complete shop. Now anyone without space of their own to work on their projects has a home and an invaluable resource through that shared workshop.
While the community workshop vastly expands the possibilities for what the Tool Library could offer beyond basic tool access, it’s hoped that this workshop will generally become a home of creative collaboration, as neighbors with different skill sets work side by side and build off each other’s expertise or interests.
Whatever the future holds, The West Seattle Tool Library will continue to explore ways to add to community and sustainability here in West Seattle and hopes to see you at The Tool Library someday soon, if they haven’t already.
By Kate Kaemerle
Dale Roose, one of the founding members of the West Seattle Tool Library, passed away this week in Tucson after a long illness. He was 55 years old. It was Dale and his wife Tina’s 30th anniversary the day he passed.
Dale was active in sustainability, public access media and a proponent in teaching people about the power of community to make a better world close to home. Dale is remembered for his intelligence, hard work, thoughtfulness, love of animals and wry sense of humor.
He worked with Sustainable West Seattle and the West Seattle Tool Library, Indymedia in Seattle and Pan Left Productions in Tucson. Dale made a number of videos as he documented efforts of humanitarians in Tucson that were trying to keep immigrants from dying in the desert.
In January 2010 Dale was diagnosed with a tumor in his brain. He fought to stay alive through surgery and many complications, but ultimately the tumor grew back.
According to his spouse Tina, there will not be a funeral. Dale donated his body to science and will be cremated and buried at sea. Tina suggests donations be made to the American Cancer Society as they provide much needed services to cancer patients.
It wasn’t long ago that we were scratching the rust off our first donated shovel and tucking it into a small little closet up at SSCC. A year later, we’ve now got our own space, complete with a full tool storage facility and a 500 square foot, Community Workshop.
Over 230 members have joined up to use a collection that’s well over 1,000 tools by now. Somewhere along the way, we even managed to receive a few decent awards and a healthy bit of acknowledgment from both local and national media. Needless to say, it’s been a fun first year!
The best part is that we think it’s only getting better! If you haven’t stopped by The Tool Library yet, we’d love to see you sometime and hear your thoughts on what this community resource should grow into. From day one, the volunteers who started The Tool Library have always felt that, in order to be successful, The Tool Library simply needed to represent the interests of those good folks who showed up to play with it. Consider this your invitation!