Edinburgh Tool Library

Community • City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Tool Library not only shares tools but also the skills to use them properly, helping to build a stronger local community with their handy workshops.

  • The Tool Library Team.
  • The Tool Library.

Edinburgh Tool Library's Story

Edinburgh Tool Library is here for sharing. We share tools, and we share the skills and know-how to use them. People come along, borrow a tool, and bring it back for the next borrower to use. We are an inclusive space where everyone is welcome, and we hope to inspire people take our ethos with them, to build a more sustainable future.

We're run mostly by volunteers, who give over 4,000 hours a year in total. We also have five staff and their work is supplemented by freelance workers who deliver particular projects. The Tool Library is open to the community – our volunteers, crew, members too. It's in our manifesto to be as transparent as possible so that everyone has a voice in the decision making process.

We've partnered with Farr Out Deliveries to deliver tools to your door and back to us, all by cargo bike so there's no pollution. Reducing, reusing and recycling are central to the tool library.

REDUCE. We reduce what's bought in shops by sharing all of our tools and using reclaimed resources wherever we can, which fights wasted resources. It means we don't need one of each tool for every household, but can own them as a community. This cuts wasted demand for more new tools made with new resources, as well as the packaging – let's face it, it's bound to be single-use plastic.

REUSE. Sharing tools means they can be used over and over, by everyone, for years to come. We pass on our skills to be reused by others in the community so that everyone knows how to use them, which in turn can help to avoid mistakes that would need extra products to fix. Reclaiming lots of materials reduces the strain on the environment by using what's already been created before creating demand for new products.

RECYCLE. When tools are a bit under the weather, we don't bin them! The Tool Library team repairs them to be used again...again! People donate their tools to us, which is huge for the community as well as reducing pressure on the environment from consumerism. We also pass on tools we might not need to other tool libraries, to circulate that goodwill and generosity even further.

Useful Learnings from Edinburgh Tool Library

Giving everyone a voice is really important to us. We're a community hub, and it's only right that we should be community led: we need voices from all corners to make sure we live up to our word on being inclusive, and that we haven't missed something important to the community because we weren't listening.

Inclusivity can easily be embedded in what we do, if we take the time to listen to all of the voices in our community. We do our best to provide an option for everyone: delivery of borrowed tools, a wide variety of tools, knowledge and skills to share with those who aren't familiar with a tool, for example. There is always more we can do to be welcoming to everyone.

Everyone's circumstance is different. We charge late fees to avoid disappointing other borrowers, but if you let us know as soon as you can, there are occasions where we can waive the fee and give you a wag of the finger or disapproving look instead ;)

Edinburgh Tool Library's Metrics

The number of tools donated.
Number of people who borrow tools from us.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Action Area

Circular Economy

Response to climate crisis





Community, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

Carbon Copy

Updated Feb, 2024

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