The Library of Things movement is emerging in communities around the world. These spaces give people access to a huge spectrum of items, from board games, party supplies and tennis rackets to saws, kitchen appliances, turntables, clothing and tents, without the burden of ownership.
Specialty libraries, which lend out a specific type of good, have pointed the way for the Library of Things movement and proven the model to be successful. The tool library movement has seen incredible growth in recent years; toy lending libraries, both in library branches and as semi-informal neighborhood projects, are on the rise; and kitchen libraries, such as the Toronto Kitchen Library, give people access to commercial-grade and household kitchen supplies on an as-needed basis. There are also lending libraries within traditional library branches loaning out musical instruments, neckties, learning materials, crafting tools and much more.
As Gene Homicki, co-founder and CEO of myTurn, a platform that enables people to create their own lending platform, explains, many community-based Library of Things locations lend over 1,000 items per week, offer classes, and have workshops or makerspaces.
“The most successful Libraries of Things are the ones do more than just lend items,” he says, “they also create a strong sense of community. For example, some offer sliding scale subscriptions based on income or usage to help ensure a diverse community can afford to access the library.”
Through myTurn, Homicki sees the growth of the movement firsthand as he works with universities, businesses, cities and hundreds of lending libraries of all types.
“We’re helping build a future in which anywhere you live, anywhere you work, and anywhere you travel, you’ll be able to access what you want and need at a Library of Things in our network,” he says.
The Library of Things movement challenges people to rethink whether we need (or want) to own goods we rarely use. It also brings people together around a shared vision and reduces wasted resources. Here are 8 of our favorite Library of Things…
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