The North Columbia Environmental Society is opening a lending library in downtown Revelstoke.
“It’s exactly like a library but you have the opportunity to borrow not just books,” said Kate Borucz, executive director of the society.
“We’re looking to fill the space with tools, hand-tools, power-tools, gardening supplies and outdoor recreational gear like tents, sleeping bags and camp stoves.”
The idea behind a tool lending library is not new, with a similar facility having opened in the Kootenays community of Kaslo.
There is also a kitchen equipment rental library in Revelstoke at Big Mountain Kitchen.
Borucz sees the NCES project as a great opportunity for people to have access to the kind of tools and gear they may only need to use once or twice a year, rather than faced with buying the item and seeing it largely stored away unused.
“The whole point is that we’re trying to give people the tools they need to live more sustainably,” said Borucz.
She offered examples such as someone living in their van for the summer who needs to do renovations but doesn’t have the space to store tools, or someone wanting to start a vegetable garden who doesn’t already have all the gardening tools they need.
By being able to borrow and return items they may need only a handful of times, people can complete their projects more sustainably.
In addition, Borucz sees the camping/recreational gear side of the library as a great opportunity to get more people involved with the outdoors and environmental stewardship, especially people who may not be able to afford gear.
“When people get connected to the outdoors then they’re more likely to act to protect it,” she said, connecting the goals of the lending library to the environmental advocacy work of the society.
To gain access to the library, people will have to buy an annual membership (price to be determined).
Memberships for the lending library specifically will be available, but being a member of the society will also automatically gain you access to the library.
Society membership fees are $21 annually, or $41 for a lifetime membership.
There will be a small rental fee imposed depending on the item, “anywhere from $2 to $10” a day, said Borucz.
The society has received funding for the library from the Revelstoke Community Foundation and the Columbia Basin Trust, as well as having fundraised $3,000 themselves from an annual bike and gear swap.
All these funds will go towards acquiring tools and gear, buying insurance and renting a space in the basement of the United Church, located at Third Street and Mackenzie Avenue.
The society also plans to host a tool drive and fundraising event in mid-June, and open the doors to the lending library the first week of July.