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Shetland Arts is making preparations to launch a new tool lending library for Shetland, a membership-driven community resource to maximise access to tools and equipment for people across the Isles.

The aim is to encourage people to make, mend or create at home without the need to spend money buying new tools that may only be used a handful of times, thus reducing waste and promoting sustainability and creativity. The scheme will help to change the perspective of wealth by sharing and making access to tools affordable for all. It comes as the Scottish Government announces support for a new national network of community sharing libraries and repair cafes as part of a drive to reduce consumption and cut waste, in conjunction with Zero Waste Scotland.

Chief Executive Officer of Zero Waste Scotland Iain Gulland, said:

Scotland - and the world - urgently needs to address its consumption problem. The current demand on the planet’s finite, precious materials is unsustainable.

The circular economy is one of the best tools we have in our arsenal. We can reduce our consumption by keeping existing materials in circulation and only buying new when absolutely necessary.

Sharing libraries and repair cafes are not only great ways of implementing a more circular way of living, but an opportunity to get to know people and businesses doing amazing work in your community. We hope to see as many of these local initiatives come to fruition as soon as possible.

The Shetland Tool Library will operate like other similar, successful models across the UK, with a wide range of household tools available to borrow on a weekly basis via a database and collection/drop-off facility. The range of tools will be as broad as possible, from small hand tools to power tools, spades, strimmers and more - largely dependent on donations from the public and local businesses.

We want to make this a growing, sustainable resource and so we’re asking for support from anyone in the community who’d like to donate tools to build our tool library. We’ve already had one fantastic donation - a large haul of tools that has set us well on our way.

If, like me, you have unwanted tools cluttering up your shed - perhaps something you bought for a DIY project and have never used since, please consider donating it so that it can be shared with the wider community as part of our new lending scheme.

Jane Matthews, Shetland Arts

Once the tool library is up and running, a small yearly fee will enable members to borrow as many tools as they like on a weekly loan basis.

Jane continues, “Maybe you’ll have something that needs mending around the house, or maybe you’ll fancy trying your hand at making something new, the Shetland Tool Library will give you easy and affordable access to the necessary tools to make this happen, without the need to spend on new equipment. It’s better for your wallet and the planet. We’re very grateful to The Edinburgh Tool Library for helping us to establish this scheme in Shetland.”


Donations of small tools can be delivered to Mareel or larger ones through arrangement with Jane via email (jane.matthews@shetlandarts.org) and further information on what can be donated can be found on the Tool Library page here. All the tools will be checked, maintained and tested by technicians at Shetland Arts and made available once the tool library is established, via an online lending database and collection/drop of scheme which will be announced in detail in the coming months.

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