Why buy when you can borrow – Why Lane Cove needs a Library of Things

Since we started ITC Lane Cove Chat, we have seen members ask to borrow numerous things.  Members have requested to borrow crutches, water pressure cleaners, small projectors, bunny ears for a TV, jigsaw puzzles and heck even a Collingwood Jersey (don’t worry it was for a community theatre event).

Why buy when you can borrow? That is why the Library of Things is a brilliant international movement.

What is a Library of Things?

What would a library of things look like? A place where you could go to borrow freely, or cheaply rent, a range of tools or objects that you temporarily need – for making something, doing something, enjoying something.

The library of things is a great way to reuse and recycle.

In the UK, the Library of Things is a vast movement.  This is how they describe a Library of Things:

“Library of things is on a mission to make borrowing better than buying. More affordable and convenient: 90% of borrowers say they now have more money to spend on things important to them. More socially rewarding: 75% of borrowers feel better connected to their community because of Library of Things. Kinder to the planet: Having used Library of Things, borrowers are 60% more likely to repair or recycle items.

We were three close friends when we started Library of Things. We tested the idea for two years+ in our South London neighbourhood, inspired by similar ventures in Berlin & Toronto. We put in 000s of hours between us, unpaid, because we saw how powerful it was when neighbours became friends & local spaces became home. When a shared collection of high quality Things unlocked experiences for everyone.”


In some cities around the world, they have even created some specific libraries.

  • Brisbane has a tool library;
  • Canada’s Kitchen Library, where citizens can check out kitchen appliances like juicers, crockpots, food dehydrators and other gadgets;
  • New Hampshire’s Telescope Library, for interested would-be stargazers;
  • Louisiana’s Tent Library;
  • Florida’s Broward County library in Florida loans out fitness trackers, jump ropes, pedometers and frisbees for patrons. 

What would a Lane Cove Library of Things stock?

We do live in Leafy Lane Cove so it would be essential to have gardening tools.  We have recently discovered the joys of baking, so there has to be some kitchen equipment.  We used to have a toy library so it would be significant to stock big bulky items that parents could borrow and return. When Miss ITC was younger, we lived in an apartment, and we borrowed heaps of big things from the Toy Library, so we did not have them cluttering up the apartment when she grew tired of a particular toy.

Where could a Library of Things Be in Lane Cove?

In this year’s Lane Cove Budget, an amount has been set aside to refit the old police station across from Coles for the Men’s Shed.  This is an excellent idea as the Men’s Shed movement started in Lane Cove, and their current location is tiny.  The building could be made into a sustainability hub right in the middle of Lane Cove with the Men’s Shed, The Library of Thing and the very popular Repair Cafe.

The Library of Things and the Repair Cafe only operate on weekends so it would be complementary to the Men’s Shed.  Why not take the opportunity to refit the building so it could be a community asset right in the heart of Lane Cove?

How good would it be to have a Sustainability Hub on the very street where Lane Cove has embraced Sustainability Lane in Lane Cove?

Are you interested?

You can help the Library of Things to get off the ground in Lane Cove by:

  • Filling out this survey and letting the organisers know if you have any items you could donate;
  • In due course, volunteering at the Library of Things;
  • help to raise funds to start the Library of Things email here if you have a brilliant fundraising idea;
  • just go ahead and fundraise between friends; or
  • Contact the organisers if you have some contacts in the tool or appliance industry that could donate some items

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