Library of Things

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.

Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Library of Things' 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.

Image: CC Stock Photo

Useful learnings from our research

  • 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.

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