A tool-sharing corner of Asikkala municipal library is a significant step towards circularity

LAB University of Applied Sciences, Maallemuuttajat 2030 project
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The Maallemuuttajat 2030 project (Maallemuuttajat meaning "people moving from the city to the countryside") project started a Library of Things - a tool-sharing library service - in the Asikkala (Southern Finland) municipal library in June 2020. The project, implemented by the LAB University of Applied Sciences, aimed to increase the citizens' awareness of sharing economy.

In an introductory workshop, Asikkala residents were asked where they would like to lend/borrow tools. The municipal library seemed the most appropriate place to set up this service.

Residents were then asked more specifically what tools they were willing to lend. Various tools were identified (sewing machine, serger, steam cleaner, drill, sander, children’s travel cot, board games, sled, instruments, plant dryer, tent, trangia cooker, backpack, blender, wok, skis and thermal camera) which were suitable given the library’s restrictions in terms of space and safety.

The tools were collected through a donation campaign lasting 1,5 months. Residents donated tools in good condition for the common good. After the campaign, the tools were tested and maintained.

The project team planned storage solutions, came to an agreement with the library staff, wrote user manuals for the tools and built a shelf for the library. The tool-sharing library was ready to be opened in June 2020.

After opening, the project team decided how to maintain the tools. A workshop run by local young people is now responsible for fixing the tools when necessary and electronic vehicles are maintained by a local service shop.

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Main results
  • In the first year tools were lent 107 times (Asikkala inhabitants: 8000).
  • A survey was carried out among tool-sharing library users with mainly positive results.
  • The initiative was useful for all residents, increasing their sense of cohesion and community and overall interest in lending.
  • The library staff felt they had acquired new customers thanks to the tool-sharing section.
  • Assuming that all 107 loans replaced producing similar items, 5 900 kg CO2e (+/- 1/2 of an average Finn’s carbon footprint) were saved in a year.
  • Even assuming that just half of the users didn’t buy an item as it was available at the Library, 2 950 kg CO2e of GHG emissions were prevented.
  • The Library of Things will stay open until further notice, and similar initiatives started in Finland.