As Travis Smith recalls, he and his partner were more than a little impressed when they stumbled upon the Asheville Tool Library after buying their fixer-upper house in Asheville four years ago.
“When we discovered that this existed, our heads kind of exploded,” Smith says. “The idea of a community pooling their resources and sharing tools works amazingly well for us and with our house.”
Similar to a literary library, the Asheville Tool Library provides access to a wealth of common assets; instead of books, however, patrons can borrow everything from lawn mowers to screwdrivers. Yearly memberships range from $50-$150, and the library offers scholarships to students or members of the community who can’t meet the cost.
Smith, who now volunteers and serves on the library’s board, says the nonprofit has reached more than 300 paid members and is still growing. As a result, items such power washers and circular saws spend more time building and cleaning than they do collecting dust.
“You have the reduced consumption of unnecessary cheap tools and less people buying stuff that they’re rarely going to use and that’s going to end up in a landfill eventually,” Smith says.”I feel like the idea of the library really is smart from a sustainable perspective.”
Editor’s note: As part of our monthlong celebration of this region’s commitment to sustainable ways of living and working in community, Xpress is highlighting some of those who are making a difference by taking action on a variety of creative and inspiring initiatives.