Library of Things is now open in Kentish Town
Library of Things is now open in Kentish Town. The community-powered social enterprise helps people save money and reduce waste by affordably renting out useful items like drills, sound systems and sewing machines. It also helps people share practical skills like DIY and repair with others in the community.
Thanks to the support of the Camden Council and local community organisation Think & Do Camden, Library of Things will offer over 30 useful household, DIY and gardening items for residents to borrow for as little as £1 a day.
Residents are now able to reserve items online ready to collect on Tuesday 14th September from a self-service kiosk in Kentish Town Library, a short walk away from Kentish Town station.
Library of Things was founded by Emma Shaw, Rebecca Trevalyan and Sophia Wyatt in 2016. Inspired by similar projects emerging in cities like Berlin and Toronto, this women-led social enterprise launched its first self-service kiosk in Crystal Palace in 2018.
It has since run a delivery trial in Brixton to help neighbours access items during lockdown and opened in new locations - Morden, South London and Hackney Wick, East London. Kentish Town will be its fourth location, with a further 4 London locations planned to open this year, before expanding to other areas of the UK beyond London in 2022.
Users of the service have borrowed items over 3200 times and have joined skill-sharing events like repair parties. By borrowing and repairing, members have diverted 16 tonnes of waste from landfill - the equivalent to 1.3 London buses.
“The reuse, repair and sharing of everyday items is one of the most practical and easy ways that we can reduce our environmental impact and promote a circular economy, whilst also saving money.
“I am excited about Library of Things coming to Camden, as this will further enable our residents to easily and cheaply borrow items that they might not have cause to use very often.
“A local sharing economy also helps us to reduce the amount of waste that we produce in Camden and is of vital importance to the borough becoming a more sustainable place to live and work.”
Emma Shaw, co-founder of Library of Things, said:
“We’ve had lots of interest in Library of Things from Kentish Town residents and organisations – so we’re excited that they’ll soon be able to borrow quality items like Bosch drills, Kärcher pressure washers and STIHL hedge trimmers for a few pounds per day. This is an important step for Library of Things, as we expand our work to create a community-led circular economy in neighbourhoods across London.”
Geoff, a borrower, said:
“Borrowing makes sense because maybe you only want it for a day, or to use something every six months. It’s so much easier and it’s cost effective. If you were buying all these things and you only use them once or twice, it’s really common sense that you could get a much better deal by having them hired.”
A survey by Library of Things found that 58% of their members said their motivation for borrowing was to help the environment, while 60% say they're more likely to reuse, repair and recycle having borrowed.
But motivations for borrowing are not purely environmental – renting is also more cost-effective than buying, helps reduce clutter and is a low-barrier way to learn practical skills like repair and DIY.
Residents can now reserve online and be one of the first to give borrowing a try in Kentish Town by visiting libraryofthings.co.uk/kentishtown