The GCTL works just like a book library, however its inventory contains tools and other super useful household items. Often referred to as a ‘library of things’, or LoT, tool libraries in other cities lend camping gear, sporting equipment, gardening tools, musical instruments, craft and artist tools, surfboards and SUPs, outdoor games, kitchen appliances, event and party equipment and sewing machines. The list is endless and only restricted by the imagination and suitable donors. The most popular items are often those that are extremely, but only occasionally useful. Please see our Wish List for further inventory ideas.
Our founder David Paynter has always been passionate about reducing waste and had been searching for a way to help transition our cities to a more sustainable way of living, It frustrated him to see so many of the products we buy made as either disposable, or simply made not to last so that they will break or become obsolete and thrown away. He would visit the tip and see all the items that are being trashed and look at them with despair, as there were so many good items that could be used by someone else – if only there was a way to recover and share them. Do we need to, or even want to own all these items we rarely use?
From this the Gold Coast Tool Library was born and in late 2019 became an Incorporated Association in Qld. Our small but passionate volunteer team began planning and are currently in the start-up phase, building all the systems and processes, recruiting volunteers and collecting donations of good quality tools and household items to stock the library inventory. We are also on the hunt for that special location we can call home and aim to open our first lending library to the public later in 2020. Find out how you can get involved.
Become a Member and Loan-Use-Return-Repeat.
As we get closer to opening our doors later in 2020 we will open membership to the Tool Library. Memberships are offered on a subscription bases and form an important source of the funds required to finance this volunteer led community initiative. Other libraries around the country operate with annual fees of approximately $80 or $55 for concession holders, and we imagine our fees will be similar. Enabling access to all is part of our charter and we aim to achieve this through supported library memberships.
Who uses a Tool Library? Well, pretty much anyone however we have identified a few user groups.
- The first are people who are actively choosing to minimise their purchases of items which are underutilised and the associated carbon and environmental footprint. These people are usually early adopters and are enthusiastic members.
- The second is apartment or small home dwellers. They generally have little storage space and can’t afford clutter.
- The third group are those in our society who simply cannot afford to purchase these items. Instead they pay an annual library membership and access a wide variety of items all year round.
- The fourth group is made up of a wide variety of users. They may be regular visitors to their holiday home on the Coast. They may be travellers and only here for a short while and don’t want to be laden down with belongings. Or they may simply want to borrow an item and the membership fee is less expensive than purchasing an item outright. Who ever you are, we would like to make you welcome.
In other global locations, tool libraries have had a hugely positive impact on the communities in which they operate. People donate tools and equipment, giving new life to items that might otherwise end up in landfill. They share their skills, knowledge and culture, they make new friends and develop a support network all whilst giving back to their locally community. Through collaborative consumption, the Gold Coast can reduce its carbon footprint by embracing a circular and sharing economy.
By sharing our tools and other items we free up space in our homes, we reduce the expense of purchasing items we hardly use and it allows others who may not be able to afford an item to still have access to them.
Lending libraries are not a new concept however we are seeing a strong surge of support for such facilities from around the world. There are well established libraries operating in Europe, North America, NZ and the UK. Recent years has seen a wave of new libraries establish in Australia including two very successful start ups in Brisbane. The Brisbane Tool Library at the Qld State Library and Share Shed in Salisbury.
Our intentions are to operate a Tool Library run by volunteers and establish a permanent suitable location on the GC close to public transport, active travel options and within easy commute to the largest number of interested residents as possible. Our long term plan is to have multiple and connected sites across the Gold Coast servicing the north, central, south and western regions. Funding this community enterprise will rely on grants and philanthropy to become established as well as ongoing expenses. The inventory will mainly be comprised from donations of tools and equipment from individuals and businesses and from the ongoing library membership annual fees. The LoT movement challenges people to rethink whether we need (or want) to own goods we rarely use. It also brings people together around a shared vision and reduces wasted resources on a planet that is racing towards exceeding the planetary boundaries around consumption, waste and environmental degradation.
What else could we create at the Library premises?
The most successful libraries do more than just lend items, they also create a strong sense of community within their members and visitors.
GC Repair Cafe – extending the life of our wares. Repair Cafes are also exploding in popularity as more and more people turn away from the linear Take-Make-Waste model and embrace a circular economy model and wish to extend the life of their possessions through repair and reuse. Cafes are run by skilled and trained volunteers where the public can bring along repairable items and together they can fix and repair their items.
GC Un-Rubbish. – waste diversion and re-use for Upcyclers and creative souls. Receiving donations of safe, clean industry offcuts, surplus to needs, faulty/blemished materials, ex theming, promotional or event materials. “Too good to throw away but not good enough to keep.” A huge variety of industry waste suitable for repurpose, upcycling or creative artistic endeavours can be diverted from landfill and sold at a nominal cost to help fund the Library. Similar in concept to the very popular and long running Reverse Garbage in Brisbane and Sydney.
Rent a Bench – workshop space to rent by the hour for DIY. Not everyone has a suitable space at their home to repair or work on DIY items, and if like a large number of Gold Coast residents who live in apartments, a home work bench is next to impossible. The concept is to provide a work bench with access to tools and helpful information that can be booked for a short period of time to complete your repairs or complete a DIY project. Workshops, classes and knowledge sharing.
Makerspace – Our longer term goal is to establish a makerspace which would incorporate the LoT and the above concepts into one wonderful creative space equipped to inspire the creator in us all. This will require some juicy grants and collaborating to bring to life, so if you or your group have been toying with the idea of a Makerspace please reach out and say hello.
Skilling and future employment opportunities – including for disadvantaged members within our community.
The possibilities are endless with other LoT’s currently offering educational workshops and classes on wood work, sewing, safe use of tools, food preserving, repairs of all kinds, bicycle maintenance, upcycling and many more limited only by the desire of the community.
The Library could also be a ShareWaste community composting point, a Terracycle collection point or a drop off point for other community recycling projects, helping further to reduce our impact on the environment. We welcome you to join in and get involved.
Gold Coast Tool Library Inc. became an Incorporated Association in November 2019 and adopting the following Objects in the constitution.
1. Operate inclusive, vibrant and thriving community hubs and services that enhance the natural environment by reducing the demand for natural resources and enable materials to be reused, shared, repaired and recycled.
2. Encourage community awareness and advocate for environmentally responsible long life design and manufacture of products to be repairable, made from sustainable, recyclable and reusable materials.
3. Educate, raise awareness and increase participation in actioning solutions to reduce waste through skills training and skills-sharing in the community.
4. Provide an avenue for disadvantaged people to have access to and use household items through supported library membership.
5. Provide pathways to employment, including to disadvantaged members of the community by providing work experience, teaching life skills and contributing towards their mental and physical health.
6.Support, encourage and collaborate with others who have aims and objectives that align with the association.
You can view our full constitution here.