Tool Library Launches!

October 27, 2021

College Library is pleased to unveil its latest collection – the Tool Library! A circulating collection of equipment, it provides our patrons with access to items they may need in their daily lives, but for a variety of reasons, may not own. These include: tool kits, power tools (e.g., dremels and drills), shovels, ladders, bike repair kits, car repair tools, head lamps, crafting tools, and more. College Library will also provide accessories that are consumable through our existing vending machine. Nails, screws, thread, button components, etc., will all be sold at cost.

Located in 1st floor center, just to the left of the library’s entrance, items in the Tool Library circulate for three days and can be checked out using a Wiscard. Everyone who borrows a piece of equipment must agree to a waiver of liability.

According to Carrie Kruse, director of College Library, “We have seen the success of these types of circulating collections at public libraries. Many students are not at a point in life where they are owning the types of tools that one might need only for an occasional project. The Tool Library is an excellent way to support this need for students at UW-Madison.”

The Tool Library was conceived as a project in 2019 and its implementation was spearheaded by Ian Benton, Crague Cook, and Brooke Schenk, who applied for and received support from the General Library System’s Innovation Fund. As Ian noted, “College Library thinks most students don’t have the space, the money, or even a frequent need to own a lot of bulky tools. But, we remember that getting access to a power drill, jumper cables, or a sewing machine when you need it can make life a lot easier. Well, we’ve got way more than just those things to offer, and we hope this stuff makes your life easier.”

College Library has always looked for new ways to serve patrons academically and holistically. This view means acknowledging that academic success is harder to achieve when your car won’t start, you’re wet from the rain, or the bookcase in your living room is falling apart. The Tool Library supports our mission to promote an atmosphere of inclusion and independence that fosters lifelong learning. It facilitates success by meeting fundamental needs.

There are currently over 45 items available to loan in the Tool Library. Patrons can use the Advanced Search feature in the library catalog and limit by location to UW-Madison → College Library → Tool Library, 1st Floor, Center Area, to see a complete list.

Ian also shared, “And, please, if you want something that we don’t have, make a recommendation through social media, a comment card, or tell staff at the Info Desk. All our collections are designed to serve undergraduates, and listening to suggestions is the best way to meet their needs.”

Welcome to a new way to “get stuff done!”

Graphics for the tool library were created by Julia Vercauteren as part of an iSchool practicum at College Library during summer 2021.