For many city dwellers, home is not a big house with a garage full of tools and a lawn with plenty of work space, but an apartment or condo with little or no shared outdoor and storage spaces. This makes it tricky to use or store tools, and therefore difficult to undertake at-home projects, making city residents more likely to have to buy things new or hire someone for a simple fix rather than trying to make or fix something independently.
The Ottawa Tool Library aims to tackle this problem by providing a library service for borrowing a huge variety of tools, from home maintenance to electric tools, to gardening tools, and a few cooking tools. For a minimal membership fee, members of the OTL have unlimited access to over 2,000 tools for any of their home projects. Many members appreciate the services of the OTL because it enables them to use a tool once or twice for a project and return it rather than letting it gather dust in storage for years, thereby saving the buyers money and saving the environment from unnecessary purchasing and consumption.
Aside from the tool rental service, OTL offers expert ‘tool doctors’, ‘tool ninjas’, and ‘tool librarians’ to help guide you through the tool rental and usage experience. The OTL is open three days a week at its Hintonburg location in Makerspace North and is amazingly run entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers. Founded by two Ottawa entrepreneurs, Bettina Vollmerhausen and Frederic Sune, who were frustrated by the fact that when completing simple home renovations, it was actually cheaper to buy a tool than rent it from the local hardware store despite the fact that the tool was only needed once. Now working with a large team of dedicated volunteers, Bettina and Frederic have provided an innovative solution with the creation of the OTL. Keep up with them on social media and via their newsletter to become a member and see their success continue to grow!