· By Mackenzie Bush
The Tool Library in Buffalo
When The Tool Library started over 12 years ago, our tool borrowing program was at the heart of what we did. It is the core service we provide out of our brick and mortar storefront location. In 2022, we served more than 1,100 members from over 70 zip codes in WNY. Members were able to save more than $587,000 in tool costs by borrowing rather than buying. We also provided over 1,100 tools to 27 different nonprofit and community organizations across WNY to aid in their missions. After nearly three years of searching, The Tool Library successfully completed a move to 2626 Main Street in Buffalo in June of 2023, a building that effectively doubles the organization’s available space.
Our Dare to Repair Cafes are pop-up community events where individuals can bring broken items and have a team of volunteer fixers try to repair the item alongside them for free. By saving people money, diverting usable items from landfills, and teaching basic repair skills, Dare to Repair is helping to build the circular economy locally. To date, we’ve organized over two dozen events, have worked with more than 1,200 participants, successfully repaired nearly 600 items, and have diverted more than three tons of usable items from the landfill.
Through our Spring and Fall Service Days, The Tool Library partners with over a dozen community organizations to put our tools to work improving shared spaces. These events bring together community members, teach new hands-on skills, and help steward public spaces like parks, community gardens, and trails. Every year, our Service Days engage hundreds of volunteers who invest thousands of hours of sweat equity planting trees, picking up litter, stewarding trails, and building garden beds.
We’ve seen that when we share tools with our neighbors, not only do they save money, they learn new skills, live more sustainably, and build stronger, more connected communities."