New Home for the Library of Things

| Azad Sharma

We have been a huge fan of the Library of Things since they started in West Norwood, creating a space for local people to borrow useful items, learn skills and get to know their neighbours. We’ve written about the work they do and listened to their heartwarming podcasts. They’ve now moved to Crystal Palace and are continuing their great work.

Libraries are usually homes for books, but what if they also lent you those useful once-a-year items like drills, pressure washers, GoPros, gazebos, or even ukuleles? Thanks to successful crowdfunding and support from the Mayor of London, local people can now borrow from a collection of 50 useful items displayed on ‘smart furniture’ at the front of Upper Norwood Library Hub. Prices range from £1 per day for hand tools, to £5 per day for a bread machine, to £20 per day for a carpet cleaner, with discounts available for regular borrowers and those less able to pay.

Local dad Robert said, “I’m going to borrow the hand sander to do up an old chest of drawers over the weekend, and the kids can borrow a kite and ukulele. It’s great – we don’t have space to store this stuff at home”.

Borrowers can also attend practical skill-sharing events like  Mending Meet-ups, Repair Parties or DIY classes. They can volunteer their time to become a Host, Thing Fixer, Ambassador or Skill Sharer, receiving in exchange discounted borrowing and training sessions.

The project is being delivered by three partner organisations working together with the Crystal Palace community. The partners are: grassroots network Crystal Palace Transition TownUpper Norwood Library Hub, and the Library of Things themselves.

Co-director Rebecca Trevalyan said, “We’ve had interest from libraries, makerspaces, cafes, shared workspaces, housing associations and property developers looking to make London life more affordable and socially rewarding for people. We plan to adapt Library of Things to all sorts of communities – and a library, as an open, inclusive space on a high street – is a great place to start”.

If you’re close-by go check out their new spot and it’s great to see the next step in the Library Things’  journey!

Photos provided by the Library of Things 

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