Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Summer 8-2013


Tool Lending Libraries function much like that of a public library, offering users the chance to check out a variety of tools at no cost, as part of a membership fee or on a tool by tool fee basis, far lower than the purchase price for each tool, and below rates offered by for-profit rental agencies. This study attempts to determine what factors make a successful tool lending library and how these operations contribute to community sustainability. Findings for specific criteria were inconclusive, but suggest it is extremely difficult to isolate variables enough that insight will be provided into criteria outside of ability to serve the most tool users with the desired tools. Tool lending libraries have shown to contribute to community sustainability through criteria such as lowering economic barriers to home improvement, reduction in tool consumption, and home energy efficiency improvements. Application of findings were tentatively applied to the Lincoln 501(c)(3) Ecostores Nebraska, including a survey to EcoStores Nebraska customers addressed in the text. Further research into number of areas would be beneficial to understanding the growth trend in these operations.