Need to iron a shirt for a special occasion, but don’t know your neighbours well enough to ask? Or how about a drill to finally fit that bookshelf, but no one in your family owns one either… There’s no longer a need to splash the cash on one-time-use items, Share Bristol Library of Things has found the solution.
In the far eastern edges of Bristol, on Kingswood high street, you’ll find a library that doesn’t deal in books. Instead, you can borrow everything from gardening equipment to DIY tools to camping gear. This new kind of library boasts over 500 different things to borrow, with hundreds of regularly active members.
It’s a brilliant idea, but such a shame the rest of city is missing out on such a helpful service. Well, the volunteer team behind Share Bristol are hoping to change that by opening a second site on East Street in Bedminster soon. They need help from local people who know the area though.
“Most people have loads of things that they only use a few times a year, sitting around cluttering up their homes,” said Anna Perry, a volunteer director of Share Bristol. “By donating something to the library, you’re getting it out of the house, but can still borrow it whenever you want.”
How does the Share Bristol Library of Things work?
All you need is an annual membership, which costs £50 per year. There are also concession memberships for people receiving benefits at £20 for a year. After the membership is paid, everything is free to borrow. The plan is that the library on East Street will be spacious enough for people to gather and learn how to use the things on offer – from sewing machines to niche DIY tools.
Share Bristol have recently secured a ‘match fund’ from Aviva Community Fund too, meaning that for every pound donated, Aviva will also donate a pound. They smashed their initial target within the first week, but are now eager to meet the stretch target of £5,000 – to properly fit out their new shop in Bedminster!
Share Bristol are also offering gift certificates for a year’s membership for every £50 donation. So if someone wants to join the library, they can donate £50 through the Crowdfunder page, receive a gift certificate to start their membership whenever they choose and Share Bristol will receive £100 in total. This works for concessions memberships too
None of this is possible without local help, however. The Share Bristol team needs the people of Bedminster to get involved if it is to be a success. To lend a hand or donate items, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or their website.