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Source: Auckland Council

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at DIY but don’t want to invest in a bunch of tools you may never use again?

A membership-based tool library located in Kingsland is the perfect place to nail down anything you need to start your DIY journey.

Run by a committed team of volunteers, Auckland Library of Tools now has more tools for the occasional DIYer thanks to a grant from Auckland Council’s Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund.

“This creative and innovative idea is what builds communities and it’s great to see how people have embraced it,” said Margi Watson, Chair of Albert-Eden Local Board.

“Tools can be expensive, especially if you only use them occasionally. Auckland Library of Tools gives Aucklanders the chance to access any tool they need without spending a tonne of money.”

Co-founder Tom Greer acknowledges the WMIF grant was significant, allowing them to expand their tool inventory and purchase a second mulcher due to high demand from members. Power sanders and circular saws are two of the most popular rentals. Since their start last year, around 300 people have made more than 2500 loans.

“We’ve seen so many great projects completed with the tools we have, everything from planter boxes to community gardens and tiny houses. One member has even converted a refrigerated truck into a portable sauna with the tools here.”

Auckland Library of Tools focuses on behavioural change to reduce unnecessary consumption and production, while also reducing the number of old tools ending up in landfill.

“The average drill is probably used for less than 15 total minutes. The rest of the time, it sits depreciating in basements, garages or storage units.

“When you consider the rare earth minerals, materials and other resources that get used up in the process of making and distributing that drill, it makes so much more sense to have those tools available to share instead.”

Despite the challenges the COVID-19 lockdowns have presented, the tool library was able to still operate during the August lockdown.

“We stayed open and ran contactless ‘click and collect’ borrowing using our online reservation system. Our sewing machines and overlocker were all checked out during this period and our members were using them to make their own masks.”

Tom says the inspiration came from the Toronto Tool Library, which started in 2012 and now has more than 10,000 items to loan.

“One story in particular stood out to us. A plumber’s auger had saved the community over $55,000 in one year. It’s a very simple tool used to clear toilet blockages. Most people don’t own one so when your toilet is blocked you have no choice but to buy a moderately expensive tool that you’ll probably use once, or to pay someone over $100 for a relatively basic ten-minute job. To us, that seemed like a waste of resources.”

Library of Tools information

  • Membership fees – $40 / quarter or $85 / year
  • Members can borrow up to 10 tools for 7 days at a time
  • Donations, volunteers and new members always welcome
  • Opening hours : Tuesdays and Thursdays: 5.30pm – 7.30pm; Saturdays: 10:30am – 1:30pm
  • Visit Auckland Library of Tools online for more information

Have you got a great zero-waste idea?

The Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund (WMIF) brings ideas to life and supports our target of zero waste to landfill by 2040. WMIF funds projects from businesses, local iwi, education and community groups that will minimise waste. Learn more about when and how to apply.