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Posted on: August 9, 2017

Tool drive helping to build a better community

Support from our community is needed to build the inventory of North Dakota’s first tool library.

The Minot Tool Library, created by the Resilience AmeriCorps VISTAs and the Minot Public Library, will be a free service for Minot Public Library patrons to borrow landscaping, gardening, and home improvement tools. On Sept. 1 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the public is invited to contribute new and used tools in good working condition to a tool drive. Donations will be collected on the parking lot of the Minot Public Library. Charitable donation receipts are available.

The mission of the Minot Tool Library is to empower Minot residents by providing them with the proper tools and workshops needed for making improvements or modifications to their residence. The process to become a patron is a simple one; to obtain a library card, present photo identification and proof of a Minot residence to a staff member at the Minot Public Library. Just as patrons can check out books, DVDs, and other items for an allotted period of time, they will also be able to check out tools for a limited number of days. In an effort to train Minot residents on how to use the tools they rent from the library, the Minot Tool Library plans to offer workshops that patrons can attend free of charge. Volunteers who possess relevant experience are needed to lead workshops and to repair and maintain the library’s tools. 

The tool library concept has been a growing trend in recent years with about 150 tool libraries now registered in cities throughout North America. They have been started by non-profits, local governments, businesses, and individuals. While all the tool libraries operate slightly differently, the ultimate goal remains the same: to facilitate community sharing of resources by distributing tools that would normally go idle to individuals in need of them.

“Libraries are about more than just books and the tool library is just another step the Minot Public Library is taking to meet the needs of our community,” said Janet Anderson, library director.

Minot residents could benefit from having access to a tool library. Some residents from low to moderate income households are still making repairs to their property that was damaged in the 2011 flood. By providing the renovation tools and necessary training to these residents they have an opportunity to improve their home. Helping fellow city residents to better the appearance and safety of their homes strengthens our collective resilience as a community.

Low to moderate income families are not the only residents to benefit from a tool library; many of Minot’s residents are living here temporarily due to the nature of their jobs with the military or the oil fields. These residents may not have established strong connections to neighbors who they could ask to lend tools. The solution here is simple: borrow, not buy, the tools you need. Similarly, certain tools are commonly bought for a single project and never used again. Instead of collecting dust in a garage these tools can be given to the tool drive.

With a tool library, anyone in Minot who requires tools to complete their projects will have access to them. In this way, the Minot Tool Library will help foster connections to both people and resources in Minot—an important step to building a better community in the Magic City.

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