Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

What is the West Philly Tool Library?2021-04-17T18:30:57+00:00

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! You can learn more at our Mission page.

Where is WPTL located?2021-04-17T18:32:00+00:00

The West Philly Tool Library is located at 1314 S. 47th Street in Philadelphia. To see it on a map and/or get directions, visit our Contact page.

What are WPTL’s hours?2021-04-17T18:33:12+00:00

You can find our current hours of operation on our Contact page.

How long has WPTL been open?2021-04-17T19:00:53+00:00

The Tool Library unofficially opened in September 2007. We had our grand opening on March 15, 2008.

Who runs the WPTL?2021-04-17T20:22:05+00:00

The Tool Library employs a small staff, but we also rely on community volunteers to help with operations and to serve as members of our various committees. The Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) is our fiscal sponsor. Interested in getting involved? Learn how to donate your time and talent on our Donate page, or talk to a tool librarian next time you’re in the Tool Library.

Do other tool libraries exist?2022-03-16T23:43:03+00:00

Yes. There are numerous tool libraries throughout the country, including Rochester, NY; Buffalo, NY; Columbus, OH; Portland, OR; Atlanta, GA; Oakland, CA; and many more. You can check out this map to see tool library locations all around the world!  New ones are popping up regularly, and the West Philly Tool Library often serves as a model and resource for these new tool libraries.

I’d like to start a tool library in my community. Do you have any advice?2022-03-16T23:45:03+00:00

The West Philly Tool Library regularly receives inquires from folks looking for advice on how to start up 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 Much It Costs

How much are annual membership dues?2021-04-17T18:49:17+00:00

Membership dues are on a sliding scale based on annual self-reported income. We rely on the honor system and ask members to pay only as much as they are able. Further, we have memberships for individuals and for organizations, and you can even give someone a gift membership. View our suggested annual dues at our Membership page, and while you’re there, consider becoming a Lifetime Member.

How much does it cost to borrow tools?2021-04-17T18:46:19+00:00

Nothing. OK, OK, there are some exceptions: if you return tools late or fail to return them, there may be some costs associated with borrowing. But for the most part, you can check out as many tools as you want per year for only the cost of your annual membership, which is usually less than you’d pay to rent a tool for one hour at a big box store.

Do you charge late fees?2021-04-17T20:00:19+00:00

Yes. The Tool Library charges $1.00 per tool per day. The $1.00 fee will only be enforced for days that the tool library is operating. Example: your tool is due back on Wednesday, but you don’t return it until Tuesday of the following week. That week, WPTL was open for their normal schedule, so the late fee would be $4.00 per tool (Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday); if we had closed for a holiday on Monday, the late fee would only be $3.00 per tool.

Becoming A Member

How do I join?2021-04-17T19:41:27+00:00

The West Philly Tool Library offers several types of memberships, including ones for individuals, organizations, and gift memberships. You can even become a Lifetime Member. All the details are available on our Membership page.

Do I need to live in West Philly to become a member?2021-04-17T18:48:03+00:00

Absolutely not. We have active members from all over the city, as well as from neighboring counties and New Jersey.

Can I borrow tools as soon as I join?2022-03-16T23:38:44+00:00

New members can typically expect to be able to borrow tools during their first visit to the tool library. However, that’s contingent on a complete membership application, including getting in touch with your 2 references. If the tool library is particularly busy when you come in, you may need to come back at a later time once we’ve been able to contact your references and complete the application.

What documentation do I need to provide?2021-04-17T20:10:27+00:00

Currently, we require all of the following to activate your WPTL membership:

  • a government issued photo I.D.
  • proof of address in the form of a piece of mail or something similar
  • two references that we will call when you come to the tool library for the first time
  • a signed waiver
  • paid membership dues for the year
How do I redeem my gift membership?2022-03-16T23:27:48+00:00

Just come on in with the name of whoever thought to give you such a thoughtful gift. With that, we can pull up the payment record and then you can join to become a member.