Tool Libraries Seattle is fortunate to be home to four operating tool libraries, with one more in the works! They are all great community resources, providing low-cost access to a variety of tools, mostly for home and yard maintenance. At CGS we are expanding the concept of a tool. What is art if not a tool that works on human beings? What are toys if not tools for learning? Still, if you need a chop saw, a lawn mower, or an automotive jack, these “old fashioned” tool libraries have got you covered.

Phinney Ridge Tool Library
Northeast Seattle Tool Library
Capital Hill Tool Library coming soon!
West Seattle Tool Library
SE Seattle Tool Library

Other Sharing Projects
West Seattle Time Bank In our time of huge income inequality the idea of trading an hour for and hour is refreshingly human. All lives are made of time. All people have the same 24 hours in a day. An hour for an hour is so simple! This helped push me to consider a “thing for a thing” – humble tools and high art on the same plane.

Beacon Hill Food Forrest I like to think of CGS as a project to create a community scaled “permaculture of things”. It has been great to visit this place, to see and feel how the designers have brought the many components together. The land and the people. The plants, animals, and fungi. The perennials and annuals. The flowers and greens. It’s also been a huge inspiration to read about how this project has attracted energy from people all over the world. I think that we can do the same with a marvelous garden of things!

Impact Hub Seattle This place is doing a great job scaffolding cultural change in the entrepreneur community. They are making a better future for business, by meeting people where they are and helping them stay engaged, stretch, and grow. At CGS we want to do the same for households, and we believe that cultural change at the household level holds immense promise. It is from the coming together of different family cultures, that general “culture” emerges. If we can help families give their young people different experiences of “things” we can help right the unbalanced relationship between humans and the natural material world.

SoDo Makerspace An Awesome resource for creating things that are new on the face of the earth. Their collection of cutting edge machinery includes 3-D Printers, Lasercutters, and CNC machines. No membership is required, you just get yourself trained on the machines and then pay by the minute for use. Wonderful, welcoming atmosphere. Go check it out!


KitchenShare A tool library focused entirely on kitchen tools, with two different locations in Portland. Nearly free, if you are in Portland go use it!

Community Supported Everything This is an inspiring and ambitious project. Emergent programming for cultural change. There is always something new, different, and full of possibility going on at this dynamic Portland cultural hub.

Further Afield
Library of Things  at the Sacramento Public Library. This is currently a small pilot project, but it’s one to watch! Through community input the settled on providing sewing machines and ukuleles.

These three ventures are the ones I’ve found that are most actively exploring the boundaries of what things are useful to borrow. As you can see, they have given up the idea of being “tool libraries” and have settled on being “libraries of things”. At CGS we have a strong focus on encouraging the purchase of high quality ethically produced things, to water the roots of the new economy, that’s why I settled on calling us a “library of luminous things”. I support the folks building low-cost access to already existing stuff 100%. If you know of another “library of things” please send me a link. I would love to keep this list up to date!

Library of Things A sharing shop in London, UK offering a wide variety of things for community members to borrow. This project has been developed by some young people at Impact Hub London! With community help through kickstarter.

SHARE a library of Things A sharing shop in Frome, UK. this group is demonstrating that this model is not something that only works in the big cities. This project, like the Beacon Hill Food Forest, started out as an assignment for a workshop. Hurry for project based learning!

La Remise This group in Montreal, CA is still using the name “tool library” but they include a wider range of things than most. They have traditional tools, but also camping gear, kitchen items, and tools for arts and crafts. The site is in French.

The Toronto Tool Library and The Sharing Depot The Toronto tool library operates four separate tool-lending location in Toronto, and is planning an expansion into camping equipment, sports equipment, house party supplies, games, and childen’s things. They are calling that expansion The Sharing Depot – Toronto’s first Library of Things.

Online/Internet Mediated
The Story of Stuff If you have only seen their videos check out their facebook page, it has a more constructive and less accusatory tone. They shine a light on a lot of great solutions at every level from personal to political.

Buy Nothing Project A wonderful resource. Branches of this group have been popping up like mushrooms in a burned forest after rain, proving that we have just been waiting for the right conditions. If you use facebook search for “buy nothing” + your neighborhood to get connected to a hyperlocal gift economy, right where you live!

On the Commons a wonderful resource on the cooperative economy, one that I have not yet explored enough to recommend with nuance and intelligence, but one that I HAVE read enough to recommend highly!

Shareable a great resource for all things sharing economy!

Impact Hub global network is the organization that nurtures all of the Impact Hub branches that are growing in cities around the globe. Someday I hope branches of The Community General Store – or something very much like it – are similarly scattered through Seattle’s neighborhoods, around the Pacific Northwest, and beyond! Impact Hub Seattle will be hosting the Impact Hub global gathering in July 2016, stay tuned for more news about that as the date approaches!

In Print
A store without merchandising is like a magazine without advertising. Here are some of my favorites!

Taproot Subscribing to this magazine is almost like getting The Community General Store in your mailbox. It covers many topics dear to my heart, with beauty and hopefulness. Living fully, digging deeper indeed!

Yes! Solutions focused journalism from right in our backyard.

Orion A truly beautiful magazine of Nature, Culture, and Place.