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#511 Online: The Chicago Tool Library


Vivek Doshi, Chicago Tool Library

The Chicago Tool Library is a nonprofit community lending library with the goal of providing everyone with equitable access to tools, equipment and information so they can learn, share and create. They’re open to all Chicagoans over 18 with a pay-what-you-can membership model. By removing many of the typical barriers, the Chicago Tool Library is hoping to help the city reshape its relationship to ownership, consumption, and creativity.

With everything from lawnmowers and table saws to sewing machines, camping equipment, and food dehydrators, there is truly something for everyone. The inventory seeks to fill a number of different needs for borrowers. It has the thing that’s too expensive; the thing you only need once; the thing you’ve been wanting to try out; the thing that’s too big to store in your space and the thing you never knew you needed. Members have used the tool library to renovate their homes, start businesses, create art, and even furnish their weddings!

Just three years in and the Chicago Tool Library already has one of the largest user bases in the country. As it continues to grow it’s operations, the Tool Library is juggling the needs of a diverse city, its own operational capacity and a vision of what’s possible. What does it really take to go from being an exciting new organization to a fundamental community resource?

ASL This event will not have an American Sign Language interpreter.