New tool lending library in Providence removes barriers to entry

  • The library should be open, and start lending, by August
  • The group hopes to promote home improvement efforts for those without tool access

PROVIDENCE — It didn’t start with a hammer or drill, a table saw or palm sander, a power washer or a steam cleaner.

Providence’s newest library, one that lends out things instead of books, started with three software developers excited about the idea and the philosophy of lowering the barrier to entry for everything from home repair to badminton to camping.

PVD Things founder Dillon Fagan said, early on, he “fell in love” with the idea of ​​the tool library. The libraries have popped up across the country, in the Portlands on both coasts, Phoenix, Baltimore, Detroit and Denver. When he finally decided to turn the idea into a reality, he posted online looking for help. By January 2021, a group was meeting by Zoom. By March, they were incorporated as a nonprofit.

Now the group is moving into small space off an alleyway on Olneyville Square for a large area that should be big enough for all the stuff, and a little breathing room for gatherings.

PVD Things founder Dillon Fagan and steering committee members Louis Langer and Sarah Summers set up shop at their new building in Providence.  In addition to tools, the co-op plans to rent games, camping gear and more.

The group plans to open to the public in late June or early July, as they muster volunteers to work as librarians and build their tool collection. So far, their number of members is 70, but they hope that will grow once they open.

Starting a nonprofit cooperative lending library

When they incorporated in March 2021, the biggest problem was always finding a space to physically store the things being lent, from small things, hammers and drills, to big things, like a snow blower and a power washer. Being in the middle of a pandemic didn’t make it any easier to collect, store or distribute the objects.

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