SW Portland Tool Library project

Wikipedia: what is a Tool Library?

Project Goal:

To set up a tool library in the SW Portland quadrant, similar to those in other quadrants of the city, that will provide SW Portland residents access to tools. In addition, this library will also seek to serve Downtown, NW and South Portland residents.

A site for the library and volunteer time are immediate needs.

This page is currently a placeholder, but will collect information on the project, and we will hopefully improve the content as the project progresses. Volunteering to improve the web content and branding is clearly an immediate need...

Project Resources:

Objectives: Leaflet
Google Group: /groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/sw-portland-tool-library
Info Email: 4243679591
Next meeting: 6:30pm March 12, The Watershed at Hillsdale (community room)

Links to Portland tool libraries that serve other areas

North Portland Tool Library
819-389-6935
Lamna
Green Lents Tool Library
muleta

Previous and similar current projects

(870) 991-8126
Watershed Resource Center - with Tool Request Form (Gabriel Park)
There is an effort in further Southwest ("Fanno Creek Tool Library") that intends to serve zip codes: 97219, 97223, 97225.
There is also interest in a tool library in the Beaverton/Aloha area.


A small group of interested individuals met September 20th at Lucky Lab SW to review an initial list of parameters (such as boundaries), discuss possible locations and other items suggested on a Nextdoor thread, and set communication cadence. The items discussed are listed below by topic.

Area: Tool libraries should have a defined and limited area to manage inventory and limit travel time to the library, but include a sufficient number of interested users to support the library. This could just be SW Portland, but the Downtown and NW/S areas are sufficiently small and close-in to be included.
Calling the library SW Portland (rather than West) will allow a NW or Downtown library to be established if there is interest at a later date. In addition we believe including the unincorporated areas between West Portland and the suburbs should also be possible, but we will have to see if any contract will be partial to ending at the city/county boundary instead.

Location suggestions: (2 Portland tool libraries are in church space, 1 is in a community building, the fourth is in a Portland Development Commission building)

Location desires:

Hours: Likely will be driven by volunteers available, but a Saturday window and one weeknight would be similar to other libraries. It was noted that the Seattle Tool Library is open Friday night and Sunday as well, to allow tools to have more than one lease over the weekend.

501c(3): Tentative offer from SW Trails org (pending proposal details/board approval) to be sponsor to bootstrap SW Portland Tool Library for a small percentage of donations to cover overhead. There was also interest in storing and perhaps lending the SW Trails tools.
In speaking with the NEPTL they started with a similar arrangement initially out of a neighborhood organization, and did not have their own 501c(3) until this last year.
Establishing a 501c(3) or sponsor relationship early will be important, to accept cash and tool donations.

Finance notes:

Consumables: Interest in how other libraries deal with this. Discussion on options, handy to make some available, but need to set cost. Cheap safety gear (glasses, masks, gloves?) would encourage safe tool use.

Sponsors (possible): Aboy, Parr Lumber, Other (non-tool oriented) businesses (Lucky Lab?)

Software: Tool Librarian would have us share hosting cost for SaaS ~$71. Concerns about long-term maintenance of software and arrangement, but otherwise price and features are fair. In use by NE/SE/Green Lents libraries. No tool reservations in the software. Seattle Tool Library has 2hr reservation to allow users commute time to pick up tools.
Commercial SaaS equivalent: /localtools.org/, /myturn.com/

Tools: Set up poll on Nextdoor for next round of interest.
Policy (as with NEPTL) no commercial use and no gas/hazardous chemicals.
Donations of tools expected.
Request for bike repair tools, auto tools common library items as well.

Outreach: Southwest Connection, Farmer's Market

Miscellaneous: At later date site will require shelving/labels/desk/chair/computer.
Swag/branding: business cards, sponsor shirts, etc. (advertising - sell or giveaway)

Items/info from discussion with NEPTL board

10/14 tour of NEPTL and discussion with Chris Hertel

10/20 tour of Green Lents Tool Library

11/24 tour of NPTL and discussion with Marci

1/15 Meeting at Lucky Lab SW

2/19 Meeting at Lucky Lab SW

  • Attending: Jason, Denis, Alex, Chuck and Alexis
  • Further discussion on options to look at with the Sears building, no reason we couldn't use a shipping container (as SWTrails plans on) either here or elsewhere short/medium term. Set up a tent on tool loan days in front of it. Another vote for community/education space in the final Sears plan.
  • Smith School suggested as a possibility, though it is not easy to get to. Would depend on PPS work to re-open (unknown).
  • Alexis suggested additional churches (PDX Church) she would check on.
  • Chuck would ask Vermont Hills United Methodist Church about space.
  • Chuck agreed to be our second representative to the All Portland Tool Libraries meeting on April 1.
  • Alexis has an extensive non-profit and grant writing process background, and we discussed what may and may not work for us.
  • Discussed constructing our own outbuilding if a church is amenable to the project, but has open land instead of existing sheltered space (option, but not preferred and would have contract details to work out).
  • Jason will continue to work on finance and city agenda documents
  • Next steps: