LIBRARY OF THINGS
A library of things is where you can borrow items you need rather than buying new. It works especially well for those items that you use rarely and take up a lot of space. Jet wash your patio once a year? Need a gazebo for a large garden party? Painting your fences, it's quicker with a spray gun! Fancy starting a new hobby but want to try out the kit before committing? You get the idea.
In September 2020 the Climate Assembly report to the UK government recommended that people should repair goods and share more, instead of owning all their appliances.
This is exactly what Libraries of Things facilitate.
This will save people money, save them space in their own homes and help fight climate change by reducing material and manufacturing waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cultivating resilient communities.
In 2022, CAG Oxfordshire with support from Oxfordshire County Council was provided with the opportunity to facilitate a pilot project into how a Library of Things (LoT) model of reducing material waste could be expanded across Oxfordshire. SHARE Oxford has been a lead partner on this work sharing their knowledge and expertise of running a Library of Things since 2018. Fellow CAGs Oxford Wood Recycling (OWR), Sustainable Wantage and Bicester Green have also partnered in this project, piloting their own Library of Things around Oxfordshire.
We are incredibly excited by this expansion and the opportunity it presents for tackling the climate emergency and the cost of living crisis while forging community bonds.
Your Local Libraries of Things
There are now 5 libraries of things around Oxfordshire. SHARE Oxford is based in North Oxford, Oxford Wood Recycling, are lending tools and based in Abingdon, Bicester Green, based in Bicester, Sustainable Wantage based in Wantage and Oxford Party Library, based in Kidlington where you can hire whatever you need to host a party, eg tents, gazebos, bunting, reusable serving dishes and much more.
You can access their lending sites here:
How the Library of Things Works
Each library has their own site and opening hours. You can find useful FAQs on SHARE Oxford's website. In essence, each library of things works like this:
You can browse the inventory on the libraries webiste without joining, and if you’d like to hire something, here’s how it works:
Create your account
Browse the inventory whilst logged in and choose what you want to borrow by clicking reserve.
Select the time & date that work for you
This adds the item to your cart at the top bar. Click the cart icon and select cart from drop down.
Check the dates and items are correct and add any extra information to the notes for us.
Click ‘Submit reservation’ to finalise.
That’s it! You’ll be emailed details of your reservation and we’ll know to get it ready for you.
Visit the Library at any time during opening hours on your reservation date.
If it’s your first visit, please bring proof of identity and of your address.
A friendly volunteer will get your Thing for you and explain any extra details about it you need to know.
Pay by card or cash in person, or you can prepay via the website when reserving.
Take your item away and complete your project!
Bring the Thing back with all its parts on the day it’s due back – clean and ready for the next borrower.
Notice any damages? These things happen. Please call or email us ASAP so we can warn the next borrower.
Starting a Library of Things
As part of the Library of Things expansion in Oxfordshire, SHARE Oxford have created a resource guide for use by organisations or individuals who might be interested in starting thier own library. We also ran a webinar where each new library shared their experiences, the wins and the challenges. You can watch it on youtube. If you are interested, we are always happy to chat and share our knowledge and resources so do get in touch.
The Library of Things expansion project was made possible with support and funding from Oxfordshire County Council