What is the West Philly Tool Library?
The West Philly Tool Library is a place where fellow community members can borrow a variety of hand, power, bike and garden tools to help us fix up our homes, maintain our yards, build furniture and other objects, and even start new art projects!
How much does it cost?
In order to belong to the Tool Library, you need to become a member. The Tool Library uses a voluntary sliding scale membership fee schedule. We ask that you pay between $20 and $50 per year based on your individual income. Here’s what we suggest:
|Annual Income||Annual Membership|
|up to $25,000||$20|
|$25,000 to $50,000||$30|
|$50,000 to $75,000||$40|
Lifetime memberships are also available for a one-time investment of $200.
How long has the Tool Library been open?
The Tool Library unofficially opened in September 2007. We had our grand opening on March 15, 2008.
Where is the Tool Library?
The Tool Library is located in a warehouse at 1314 South 47th Street. We’re on the west side of the street, about 200 feet south of Woodland Avenue.
What are its hours of operation?
The Tool Library is open every Saturday morning from 9am to 3pm, and Monday through Thursday evening from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
How does the Tool Library make sure that no one steals the tools?
The Tool Library is a community project operated by community residents from West and Southwest Philadelphia. We hope that community members will return the tools promptly and without undue damage. In order to help to ensure that tools are returned, however, we ask that all members provide two forms of identification (including one government-issued photo ID and one ID with a current address) and provide the names and contact information of two references. If tools are not returned on time, members will be assessed late fees.
What happens if I break or lose a tool?
Before members borrow their first tools, they must read and sign our tool borrowing policy. Members are expected to return the tools in the same condition as they were issued, barring normal wear and tear. The member is expected to pay for the loss of or damage to any tool.
For how long can I borrow a tool?
Member can borrow as many tools as they for the project they’re working on for up to seven days at a time.
Are there late fees?
Yes. The Tool Library charges $1 per tool per day that the Tool Library is open that your tool is late.
Can I renew a tool if I need it for longer than seven days?
Due to our current member volume, we cannot renew loans. If you need a tool for longer than seven days, just calculate the late fee and bring that amount in when you return the tool. But don’t feel so bad about that: all money generated from tools kept out longer than seven days goes directly to buying more tools for you!
What tools does the Tool Library carry?
The Tool Library currently carries over 2500 tools, from hand tools to power tools to gardening tools. Look at the “OUR TOOLS” page for a list of the tools that are available.
Who runs the Tool Library?
Currently, the Tool Library has a steering committee of eight people and employs two librarians. We receive help developing policies, recruiting members, and raising money from more than a dozen others. The Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) is our fiscal sponsor. Interested in getting involved? Talk to a tool librarian the next time you’re in the Tool Library.
Are the membership fees alone enough to pay for the Tool Library?
No. Membership fees pay for about half of the Tool Library’s annual budget. The rest of the budget is raised from community supporters and grants.
Do other tool libraries exist?
Yes. There are over 20 other tool libraries in other cities in the United States, including Rochester, NY; Buffalo, NY; Columbus, OH; Portland, OR; Atlanta, GA; and Oakland, CA.
Can I donate tools to the Tool Library?
YES! We welcome all tool donations. Because we are a project of UAC, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, all donations are tax deductible. For more information about donating tools, please click here.
How do I become a member of the Tool Library?
To become a member, please complete a Membership Application and pay your membership dues. You can also join online. When you come in to borrow your first tool, you will be asked to sign a waiver form acknowledging liability for the use of the tools and agreeing to follow our tool policy.
How can I become more involved in the Tool Library?
We welcome others to become involved in starting and running the Library. If you would like to become more involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m interested in starting a tool library in my community. Do you have any advice?
The West Philly Tool Library receives at least one inquiry per month from someone wanting to start a tool library in their community. We’re happy to share what we know and the lessons we’ve learned. Click here for more resources on starting a tool library in your community.
How can I find out more information?
Please talk to any member of the Tool Library for more information or check out our website at www.westphillytools.org.