A Library of Things is an organisation which loans out items to members of its local community, promoting a sharing economy. These items can be anything and generally include DIY tools, garden machinery, kitchen appliances, camping gear, event equipment and generally useful household items.
The benefits of borrowing items from a Library of Things rather than owning them are multiple: we free up space in our homes; save money by paying a fraction of the purchase cost; and ensure items get a full life of use, reducing over-manufacturing and material usage as well as waste and carbon emissions.
The impact on the planet of our existing consumer habits is unsustainable. By borrowing and sharing instead of buying and owning we reduce our collective impact on the planet and ensure the amount of waste is kept to a minimum. Manufacturing processes along with disposal and recycling processes are all carbon-emitting problems that we need to address if we're to tackle the climate crisis.
Since the UK's first high street Library of Things emerged in Frome in 2015 there has been an ever-increasing demand for such organisations.
Our original list of 14 active Library of Things in the UK has been expanded with many more new community schemes - over 40 in total. Not all of these are part of the official SHARE:UK network, but they operate on the borrowing principle. If you have a new Library of Things to add to the list please contact us here.
(Listed by A-Z of name, not town)
Name: Borrow Don't Buy
What do they lend?: Baby & Child, DIY, Events & House Party Supplies, Gardening, Home Maintenance & Cleaning, Kitchen and Cooking stuff, Outdoors & Hobbying, Techy Stuff.
Address: THINQTANQ, Fairbairn House, Higher Ln, Plymouth, PL1 2AN
Name: The Borrow Shop
What do they lend?: Cleaning, DIY, Entertaining, Hobbies, Home. Also has vegan cafe.
Address: Unit E, 15 Caroline Street, Birmingham, B3 1TR
Name: Buy Nowt LS6
What do they lend?: Arts & crafts, Baby & Child, Camping, Cooking, DIY, Gardening, Home, Sports, Toys.
Address: Headingley Methodist Church, Centenary Room, 1-3 Chapel Street, Leeds, LS6 3HZ
Name: Exeter Library of Things
What do they lend?: Baby & child, Gardening, Hobbies, Home, Leisure, Sports, Tech, Tools
Address: 3rd Floor, 178-179 Sidwell St, Exeter, EX4 6RD
Name: Hull Library of Things
What do they lend?: Automotive, Baby & Child, DIY, Gardening, Health and Wellbeing, Hobbying, Home, Outdoor, Party, Technology.
Address: 265A Cottingham Road, Hull, HU5 4AU
Name: Kernow Library of Things
What do they lend?: Camping, Crafts, Decorating, Games, Gardening, Kitchen, Party, Tools.
Address: The Old Gentlemen's Hut, Quay Hill, Penryn, TR10 8JE
Name: Lewes Library of Things
What do they lend?: Baby & child, Camping, Cleaning, DIY, Events, Gardening, Hobbies, Home, Leisure, Sports, Tools etc.
Address: Landport Community Room, 2a Horsfield Road, Lewes, BN7 2TA
Name: Library of Things London ( x 10 locations)
What do they lend?: Adventuring, Cleaning, Cooking & Household, DIY, Gardening, Hobbying.
Location: Bromley, Crystal Palace, Dalston, Finsbury Park, Hackney Wick, Hammersmith, Kentish Town, Morden, Sutton, Woolwich.
Contacts: the main website has links to all 10 schemes
Name: Manchester Library of Things (opening summer 2022)
What do they lend?: TBC, but likely to be tools, home, gardening, hobbies etc.
Address: Levenshulme Old Library, Cromwell Grove, Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 3QE
Name: Share and Repair Bath
What do they lend?: Camping & Outdoors, DIY, Gardening, Home, Parties & Events
Address: 8 Broad Street, Bath, BA1 5LJ
Phone: 07486 518197
What do they lend?: 1000 items from 10 categories: Arts & Craft, Baby & Children, DIY, Events, Gardening, Household, Kitchen, Leisure & Camping, Music/Media/Audio-Visual, Sports & Games.
Address: 3a The Bridge, Frome, BA11 1AR
Name: SHARE Oxford
What do they lend?: Arts and Crafts, Camping, Children, Cleaning, Cooking, Cycling, DIY, Education, Electronics, Entertaining, Gardening, Household, Music, Sports, Travel.
Address: Makespace, 1 Aristotle Lane, Oxford, OX2 6TP
Phone: 07410 942204
Name: Share Shed
What do they lend?: Over 350 items including: Camping, Gardening, Household appliances, Sewing machines, Suitcases, Tools and more.
Address: Mobile library of things based in Devon.
Phone: 07516 908237
Name: Crieff Community Tool Library (Remake)
What do they lend?: Tools: crafts, DIY, equipment, gardening, play etc. Also run repair workshops, second-hand shop, furniture store and second-hand bikes.
Address: Unit 2, Crieff Visitor Centre, Muthill Road, Crieff, PH7 4HQ
Phone: 01764 655733
Name: East Linton Tool Library
What do they lend?: Tools: building, DIY, gardening, sewing etc. Also run repair cafe.
Address: Fixing for a Future, East Linton Tool Library, The Mart, East Linton, EH40 3DN
Name: Ecology Centre Tool Library (Kinghorn)
What do they lend?: Tools: building, car, DIY, gardening etc,
Address: The Ecology Centre, Kinghorn Loch, Kinghorn, Fife, KY3 9YG
Phone: 01592 891567
Name: Glasgow Tool Library
Website: glasgowtoollibrary.com (Facebook @glasgowtoollibrary)
What do they lend?: Tools
Address: 26 Civic St, Glasgow, G4 9RH
Name: RecyKillin Tool Library & Remakery
What do they lend?: Tools: cleaning, DIY, gardening, kitchen, sewing etc. Also runs workshops and repairs.
Address: Morenish Place, Main St, Killin, FK21 8UR
Name: Southside Tool Library (Glasgow)
What do they lend?: Tools: cars, cleaning, DIY, gardening, kitchen, sewing etc.
Address: South Seeds, 514 Victoria Road, Glasgow, G42 8BG
Phone: 0141 636 3959
Name: Transition Linlithgow Tool Library
What do they lend?: Tools
Address: EH49 Hub, 6-7 The Vennel, Linlithgow, EH49 7TF
Phone: 01506 846991
Name: Transition St Andrews Tool Share
What do they lend?: Gardening equipment, kitchen appliances, tools.
Address: 7 Woodburn Place, St Andrews, KY16 8LA
Phone: 01334 464000
Name: Transition Stirling Tool Library
What do they lend?: Over 300 items from sewing machines, drills and saws to mechanical tools, gardening tools and cooking equipment.
Address: Unit 12, Stirling Arcade, Stirling, FK8 1AX
Phone: 01786 357171
Others similar schemes in Scotland
There is also a toy library in Govan (Glasgow), a musical instrument library in Glasgow (Music Broth), and a repair cafe run by Transition Town Forres (Moray). The public library in Fintry (Dundee) is also running the Fintry Gardening Tool Library as a separate scheme.
New Scottish network
In November 2021 the Scottish Government also announced £310,000 funding to create a national network of community sharing libraries and repair cafes, to reduce consumption and cut waste. The scheme is funded jointly with Zero Waste Scotland and is a key recommendation of Scotland’s Climate Assembly. It will be overseen by the Circular Communities Scotland charity in collaboration with Edinburgh Tool Library and Edinburgh Remakery. A map of existing schemes is on the Circular Communities Scotland website. New Share and Repair projects will be established shortly.
Name: Benthyg Cymru
What do they lend?: Camping, DIY, Entertainment, Events, Garden, Hobbies, Homeware, Kitchen, Sports, Tools, Travel,
Locations: various across south and mid Wales including Newport, Monmouthshire, Llandrindod Wells (Powys), several locations in Pembrokeshire, Penarth, Barry, Cardiff. Some are still to be set up.
Name: Benthyg Rumney / Rumney Forum
What do they lend?: Camping, DIY, Entertainment, Events, Garden, Hobbies, Homeware, Kitchen.
Address: Brachdy House, 50 Brachdy Road, Rumney, Cardiff, CF3 3BG
Phone: 07922 546933
Name: Swansea Library of Things
What do they lend?: Camping, DIY, Entertainment, Gardening Homeware, Kitchen.
Address: Quadrant Shopping Centre, Swansea, SA1 3QW
Other sharing ideas or single category libraries
Someone shared (!) a single category sharing scheme with us on Facebook: Tentshare. You can join as either someone lending or borrowing a tent.
And don't forget the original library ... of books! Nearly all public libraries also have free e-books, e-audio books, and some have e-magazines and music and films. Many have magazines and newspapers you can read in the library too. All local authorities in the UK have to provide a public library service so check out your nearest branch (some offer mobile library or at-home services for those who can't reach a branch library).