Holistic local sustainability; food, water, energy, money, people

Tool-sharing Sheds

Brisbane Tool Library

The Brisbane Tool Library is a local initiative that will provide resources, such as tools and skills. People who do occasional home improvements, garden or camping trips, but do not want to buy a tool that they might only use once, could borrow it from our tool library. The tool library enables us to use tools without actually owning them.

The key to the success of such a venture is ACCESS, to overcome individualistic consumerism. It’s just so easy to buy a tool for yourself and keep it handy in the garage where you can go get it anytime you want. When breaks, just chuck it and buy another another one because they’re cheap.

I’ve thought through how our local block could share a bank of tools.  I plan to present this to my neighbours on National Neighbourhood Day in March. When people know each other and live locally, there is a greater likelihood of responsibility-sharing.

Local Tool Shed Proposal

Savings Pool

  • Everyone puts in as many $s & tools as they like. This is recorded, including tools at market value. This means we can make use of our existing equipment until they break down.
  • When new equipment is purchased, it is to be semi-commercial, high-grade, long-lasting.

The Shed and Lending/Hiring practice

  • An accessible garage, shipping container or shed hosted privately by a neighbour or on Council land with approval.
  • Central location, preferably.
  • Shed has a combination lock and a record book and booking system (hard copy, online, i.e. Nabo or Streetbank) showing name/in/out time and date, etc..
  • All equipment is either lent out or rented at a flat hourly rate (to encourage returns) to anyone in the neighbourhood who is known to the group (trusted).
  • Savings Pool members’ contributions can be used as their credit when hiring/borrowing.
  • Hiring can be done on BrisLETS rather than $s.

Guidelines for Use

  • Everyone can take responsibility for repair, maintenance and replacements
  • Clean and whenever possible maintain equipment on return, e.g. check oil, recharge batteries, sharpen blades. Use Repair Cafes to fix things.
  • Breakages: report to Maintenance Crew and note online as ‘booked out for repairs/replacement’. At fault? You pay.
  • Group fund pays for replacements.
  • Maintenance Crew empowered to enforce a token debit penalty against members’ accounts for negligence.


  • Two Treasurers who maintain records and bank accounts and make read-only spreadsheets accessible to all, either on Google docs or in association with the Brisbane City Library network.
  • Treasurers, Maintenance Crew and Shed Hosts can earn LETS stipends (Units), the responsibility can rotate annually, reducing costs.
  • Individual or household account okay.
  • Any member who is a LETS member can earn Units for time (admin/maintenance/hosting) or goods contributed.
  • $20 joining fee for non-Savings Pool members, refundable on exit, minus any penalties.

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This entry was posted on June 7, 2017 by .
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