Edinburgh Tool LibraryTool libraries are a fantastic way to access materials for your group.

We catch up with Chris Hellawell, founder of Edinburgh Tool Library, to find out about this resourceful social enterprise that trades in tools and skills . . .

What is the Edinburgh Tool Library?
It is a library of tools, rather than books, that you can take home and use, saving money and reducing your carbon footprint.  We also have a workshop situated at Custom Lane in Leith that you can use as a member, with larger tools and volunteer support to help you make your project a reality.

Who can join as a member and what are the benefits?
Individual membership is a suggested donation of £20 per year, and is managed on a ‘what you can afford’ basis to allow access for people on a low income. As a member you are able to borrow tools from the tool depot and you can also use the workshop. The Tool Depot is open on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings. The workshop is open on Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. There is volunteers on-hand to give advice, show you how to use the tools and machines safely and assist if needed. 

Organisational membership is also available for community groups for an annual £50 membership fee which allows you to borrow tools in bulk (for a refurb weekend or working party for example). Up to four named people can be registered as part of an organisational membership, who are then able pick up and drop off equipment.

We also run workshops and skill sharing events for members throughout the year as well as social events. If you are interested in becoming a member, please email [email protected] for more information.

Which creative groups are already members? How do they use the Tool Library? 
Our organisational members include groups like the Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh Student Arts Festival and granton:hub.  They tend to use the tool library when they have something big like an event or installation happening, and they just don't own the volume of tools necessary to make the most out of a group of volunteers.

Do you work with community groups / creative projects in other ways?
Absolutely - we have a quarterly Volunteer Assembly, where we give an individual support to make something happen for a local group they are involved with.  They get funding for materials (£500), tools, workshop time, and volunteers to help make their project happen. 

We also make bespoke accessibility ramps for shops, businesses, and anywhere that needs them, and make commissioned pieces out of wood for charities and community groups, including park benches, tables, little free libraries, storage solutions and musical instruments!

Are you open to new partnerships?
We are always on the lookout for creative collaborations with others. Edinburgh Tool Library is founded on sharing, and we take a very positive stance on working with others.  Please get in touch if you have any ideas about how we could do this to make Edinburgh an even more amazing place to live.

Are there any current volunteer opportunities with Edinburgh Tool Library?
The Edinburgh Tool Library wouldn’t exist without our team of 40+ volunteers, who provide support in many ways - from sharing their DIY skills to donating fundraising, marketing and design expertise and helping manage our computer system, volunteers make a huge difference! If you can help or know someone that might be interested, see the Edinburgh Tool Library website for more information and to fill in a short application form.

How to keep in touch and find out more?
You can find out more via www.edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk, and we are on Facebook as The Edinburgh Tool Library, edinburghtoollibrary on Instagram, and Twitter handle is @ETLChris or you can drop Edinburgh Tool Library an old fashioned email - [email protected].  Also keep an eye out on Leith Walk for our lovely police box which is open from 9am-1pm every Saturday.