Community Tool Sheds Bloom


For those of us without a tool shed out back or a fully stocked workshop down in the basement, the only way to get a drain snake or a rotary impact drill when you need one - and who doesn't need one sometimes? - is to buy or rent.

Actually, there is another way: the little known but growing number of nonprofit tool libraries which let you check out tools - from screwdrivers to belt saws - for free. It's like a lending library for books. Just walk in, find what you need, and you're ready to pound your thumb with a hammer.

Tool libraries are not all that new; they've been around since the 70s in progressive, early green cities like Berkeley, California (and also in Columbus, Ohio). But now, as the bad economy sucks the life out of even home chores, consumers want to save rather than have to spend on an expensive wet tile saw they'll use once. That means tool libraries are getting some much-deserved attention and more traffic.

Ever-so-cool and eco-friendly Portland is about to open its third tool library, the Oregonian reports, and others can be found in Seattle, San Francisco, Philly, Kansas City and Atlanta, among around 25 locales.