Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Celebrating Oakland's Tool Library

Those of you who regularly follow this blog are probably already familiar with Oakland's great, Temescal Tool Library located about 1 mile from our house.   How many of you know that it was created in response to the Oakland Hills Firestorm of 1991?  The Tool Library helped affected residents rebuild from that disaster no matter their economic status.

Today this free tool equipment library has been one of the best resources in helping us rehabilitate our 112 year old Vic.  Since we began our blog 2.5 years ago, nearly every facet of our renovations/rehabilitation/rescuing has involved the tool library in one way or another.  We've used their tile cutter to redo our bathroom, their heatguns allowed us to melt off paint from all the beautiful moldings, their cement cutter allowed us to cut out old cement in our backyard for a new tree a few weeks ago. Mostly, we check out a variety of tools that we would need to use maybe just once or twice, in order to get something done.

Not only does this help keep our budget down, it also keeps alive the spirit of community sharing that is sometimes lost in our consumerist, technological culture.   The Tool Library is also much more than the tools that are provided, it is the smart, dedicated people who staff the desk ready to help you get you what you need and teach you how to use something safely and properly. 

Now there are the  'Friends of the Tool Library', a group of dedicated volunteers who work with the Tool Library to help support its efforts as it continues to weather the vicissitudes of  our budget slashing times in Oakland.  The 'Friends' have started their own website that hopes to connect more people with this wonderful resource and to provide support and advocacy for the Tool Library.  Check them out here.

This past weekend featured their "first benefit fundraising event/party for the Oakland Tool Lending Library, which featured a wide array of tools and gift certificates from local vendors, for a silent auction."

Andrea and I went early and enjoyed meeting new people, eating the various potluck meals provided (including delicious snacks made from other peoples' backyard fruit or veggie gardens), and purchased a few small tools that were no longer needed by the library.  We also brought our weed whacker ( a gift from her dad) to donate to the auction.

A surprise early visitor was Mayor Jean Quan who has been instrumental in helping keep libraries operating in Oakland. We chatted briefly and then she went and bought a few tools to show her own personal support for the Tool Library.

We enjoyed ourselves and everybody seemed to be having a good time in what felt more like something you would experience in the main square of a very small town.  Being around other people who work with their hands (and head) building or gardening  was refreshing and it was nice to see people come out to show their support, including the mayor.  I think the 'Friends' did an excellent job on the event and I hope to hear about it more at their regular, monthly get together at the local tavern, which you can also join via their email list on the website.


CREDITS: All photos on this page courtesy of Teresa Mora.  See more photos from this event on

No comments:

Post a Comment