Libraries of things

One way of dealing both with consumerism and tighter budgets is to have access to shared resources. In this interview with Gene Homicki, co-founder and CEO of myTurn, we can learn a bit more about how people are starting and running libraries of things.

Imagine going into a neighbourhood shop to borrow tools, kitchen appliances, camping gear, party supplies, sports equipment, musical instruments, and more. You wouldn’t have to buy, repair or store infrequently used items. You’d have access to a much wider variety of goods than you could ever own, and you could easily share things with neighbours. This is the idea behind a Library of Things.”

Although the interview refers to Honicki’s webapp a bit too often, it’s still quite a good overview of both what these places offer, and how they work, going from suggestions for community building and additional services, “not just things, but also ideas and skills,” to how many people you need, how to find them, and what skillset to look for.

The piece also covers the different business legal structures (for profit, nonprofit, co-ops, etc.) and their respective advantages, how people are often more prone to helping nonprofits with donations, grant writing, crowdfunding, investors, budgets, etc.

Another thing to pay attention to, which often comes up with sharing models instead of just buying stuff, is how membership or subscription models might work.

The model that seems to be the most sustainable and popular is the one with monthly or yearly subscription fee, and then having additional fees for more expensive or popular items.

If you’re in Montréal, check out the tool library La Remise and if you want to learn more you can look into Shareable’s What to consider when starting a Library of Things and their whole library collection.

Image: The Sharing Depot.