Library of Things

Third Sector • Barking and Dagenham, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, and more...

A movement that is community-led, Library of Things enables people to borrow instead of buy things, based on a model that supports local roll-out, saving money and reducing waste.

  • Library of Things Team.
  • Library of Things user using a borrowed item.
  • Library of Things user borrowing an item.

Our story

A Library of Things is set up in a new neighbourhood by invitation only, when local residents want to start and host a centre in their community, for their community. Based on a franchise model, our social enterprise operates the fully insured Thing borrowing service, taking on the majority of risk and responsibility in the first two years while locals establish a new Library. Members of the community host and run the space. Things are borrowed at affordable (daily) rental rates, and items vary by each Library of Things location - from drills to gazebos to carpet cleaners.

Our advice

It's really helpful to run for local educational programming and public events, helping people learn new skills or sharing skills as well as raising awareness.

Library of Things is an enabler, but local communities must take the lead if it's going to happen.

Choice of venue is key to success locally, and there may be opportunities to take up vacant high street space on a short-term 'pop up store' basis.

Make sure that a centre has a sufficiently varied collection of Things (DIY, cleaning, gardening, hosting and hobbying) to appeal to a broad set of interests and needs so that there is sufficient demand.

Our metrics

Number of people who borrow things.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Action Area

Circular Economy

Response to climate crisis





Third Sector, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

Rebecca Trevalyan

Updated Nov, 2023

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