Wikipedia: what is a Tool Library?
SW Portland Tool Library project
To set up a tool library in the SW Portland quadrant, similar to those in other quadrants of the city, that will provide SW Portland residents access to tools. In addition, this library will also seek to serve Downtown, NW and South Portland residents.
A site for the library and volunteer time are immediate needs.
This page is currently a placeholder, but will collect information on the project, and we will hopefully improve the content as the project progresses. Volunteering to improve the web content and branding is clearly an immediate need...
Objectives: Leaflet Business Plan
Google Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/sw-portland-tool-library
Info Email: info at swptl.org
Next meeting: 6:30pm October 25th, Zoom online meeting
Links to Portland tool libraries that serve other areas
North Portland Tool Library
Northeast Portland Tool Library
Southeast Portland Tool Library
Green Lents Tool Library
Clackamas County Library of Things
Washington County (Beaverton) Library of Things - other Washington County libraries have similar offerings
Previous and similar current projects
Previous SW Portland effort from 2012
Watershed Resource Center - with Tool Request Form (Multnomah Arts Center)
There is an effort in further Southwest ("Fanno Creek Tool Library") that intends to serve zip codes: 97219, 97223, 97225.
A small group of interested individuals met September 20th, 2018 at Lucky Lab SW to review an initial list of parameters (such as boundaries), discuss possible locations and other items suggested on a Nextdoor thread, and set communication cadence. The items discussed are listed below by topic.
Area: Tool libraries should have a defined and limited area to manage inventory and limit travel time to the library, but include a sufficient number of interested users to support the library. This could just be SW Portland, but the Downtown and NW/S areas are sufficiently small and close-in to be included.
Calling the library SW Portland (rather than West) will allow a NW or Downtown library to be established if there is interest at a later date. In addition we believe including the unincorporated areas between West Portland and the suburbs should also be possible, but we will have to see if any contract will be partial to ending at the city/county boundary instead.
Current location under discussion is Gabriel Park
Other Location suggestions: (Two Portland tool libraries are in church space, a third is in a community building, the fourth is in a Prosper Portland building)
- Woodworker's Guild - interest in our project, but cannot host
- Garden Home Rec Center - confirmed "no"
- St. Luke Lutheran church - Environmental Stewardship Team has interest, but current spaces are in use for other charitable purposes
- Hillsdale UCC - response: no space available
- St. Barnabas - request in - so far no response
- West Portland UMC - response: no space available
- Neighborhood House - suggested, but not sure of contact
- Safeway on BHH and space by Rite Aide - lease agents contacted, no response, but also none expected. Lack of revenue likely prohibits commercial space
- Sears Armory - contacted PBEM and local NETs - response: goal to still be west side emergency operations center in the future, usage stalled by ADA improvement costs. We've asked to be included in community feedback when the next proposal is written.
- Multnomah Arts Center - managed by Parks Department. In 2019 two classrooms and two cottages were available, annual rate $13.88/sq foot.
Smaller classroom would be the right size, but is $824/month. Not practical at this time and did not apply for.
- space (200-1000 sq ft) alternatively shipping container info
- hard floor (but no carpet)
- external entrance
- parking (a couple spaces, transit/walkability also important)
- security (not staffed most of the week, so storage as opposed to storefront)
- allow modifications (not a hard requirement)
- network (it would be nice if we can piggyback on something available)
Hours: Likely will be driven by volunteers available, but proposing 6-8pm Tuesday and 9am-2pm Saturday, which is similar to the other Portland tool libraries. It was noted that the Seattle Tool Library is open Friday night and Sunday as well, to allow tools to have more than one lease over the weekend.
501c(3): Tentative offer from SW Trails org (pending proposal details/board approval) to be sponsor to bootstrap SW Portland Tool Library for a small percentage of donations to cover overhead. There was also interest in storing and perhaps lending the SW Trails tools.
In speaking with the NEPTL they started with a similar arrangement initially out of a neighborhood organization, and did not have their own 501c(3) until 2018.
Establishing a 501c(3) or sponsor relationship early will be important for grants or to accept cash and tool donations.
- "Suggested" donation for membership is important to maintaining nonprofit status. NEPTL funding is almost entirely based on these ($12) donations and $2-5 late fees.
- Current suggestion is $20 membership for SWPTL with understanding donated amount may be less. At lower end of one year budget below, would require 439 members contributing full membership. Lending agreement shamelessly cribbed from NEPTL.
- Much of the non-organizational costs (insurance/utilities) will depend on the space available.
- A grant was used to bootstrap NEPTL, and NPTL did seek/receive grants in order to build an annex.
- Organization costs (annual costs/estimates): state filings ($100), insurance ($902), site rent ($6000), utilities ($600), web presence/inventory software ($72), PO-Box ($106), bank account ($0?), tool purchase/replacement/repair costs ($1000-5000). Total of $8,780-12,780 annually.
- No paid staff - decreases paperwork and puts less pressure on finances
- Grants list from The Nonprofit Association of Oregon
Consumables: Interest in how other libraries deal with this. Discussion on options, handy to make some available, but need to set cost. Cheap safety gear (glasses, masks, gloves?) would encourage safe tool use.
Sponsors (possible): Aboy, Parr Lumber, Other (non-tool oriented) businesses (Lucky Lab?)
Software: Tool Librarian would have us share hosting cost for SaaS ~$71. Concerns about long-term maintenance of software and arrangement, but otherwise price and features are fair. In use by NE/SE/Green Lents libraries. No tool reservations in the software. Seattle Tool Library has 2hr reservation to allow users commute time to pick up tools.
Commercial SaaS equivalent: MyTurn (in use by NPTL and Portland's KitchenShare.org)
Possible open source software to base a solution on: Koha
Tools: Set up poll on Nextdoor for next round of interest.
Policy (as with NEPTL) no commercial use and no gas/explosive/hazardous chemicals.
Donations of tools expected.
Request for bike repair tools, auto tools common library items as well.
Outreach: Southwest Connection, Farmer's Market
Miscellaneous: At later date site will require shelving/labels/desk/chair/computer.
Swag/branding: business cards, sponsor shirts, etc. (advertising - sell or giveaway)
Items/info from discussion with NEPTL board
- Sent us insurance info and bylaws
- Only became stand-alone 501c(3) in 2018, originally sponsored by neighborhood association and under insurance of host (church)
- Current board size is 10-12, started with 7-8. Working board (NPTL is not)
- Budget is fuzzy: rent, 10hr/wk employee, annual filings and insurance
- $15K estimated over lifetime of library, mostly in membership donations/late fees
- Sponsors not significant contributions (Parr at-cost tools)
- Initially had volunteers commit to 1 shift per month for a year
- Volunteer experience varies, some have no tool experience
- The 10hr a week employee is responsible for finding volunteers
- The Portland tool libraries meet up once per year
- Consumables - limited, suggested donation of $1, but saw would have a blade
- No interest in inter-library tool exchange, because of recovery challenges
- Limited tool loss, more commonly broken
- Accept volunteers from outside of area
- Green Lents has a lease in a city-owned building
- Indicated that NET is interested in having access (keys) to tool libraries
- Would come to a future meeting for discussions
8/23/2022 Zoom Online Meeting
- Attending: JasonB, Dennis
- Changing near-term meeting cadence to every 2 months.
- Call PPS about Smith School parking lot.
- Will post next meeting time on Nextdoor.
- Jason still needs to call Tri-Met about the Barbur Transit Center location, as well as pick up new contact with PP&R which should be back in the office.
- Jason will contact Commissioner Dan Ryan's office about plans for the Safe Rest Village at the Sears Building.
- Watershed tool shed has moved to fenced location at the MAC building, inquire with PP&R contact for options.
Meeting notes from older meetings are available here
- Collect list of possible grants, visit additional location suggestions
- Revisit financial sponsorship with SW Trails