The Future of Libraries

I worked as a guest speaker on waste reduction. There, one of my favorite tangents to go on was the future of libraries. Students are quick to point out that libraries are useful in reducing natural resource waste because we don’t have to cut down so many trees. What they are surprised to find out is that the nature of libraries is evolving.

Libraries aren’t just for books anymore.

Think of all the expensive and natural resource costly items in the average american home that we only tend to use a few times per year – lawnmowers, chainsaws, ice cream makers, tents, juicers, food dehydrators, costumes, weaving looms, etc. Couldn’t all of these items be organized in little libraries throughout town? Well, many are.

There’s a tool library in Portland, Maine:

Two in Portland, Oregon: ,

One in Rockaway, New York:

In fact there is a directory with loads of them! If there’s not one in your city, think if there’s somebody in your circle of influence that might be encourage-able to start one.

Buying used is a great way to reduce waste, but libraries require fewer resources per person hands down. Just as important is the fact that these services increase quality of life for by encouraging community, curiosity, and access to tools necessary for DIY projects.

Fashion doesn’t have to be left out, think of the artistic clothing that could be shared.I look at well designed clothing with awe, and have an appreciation for the work that goes into making it. I consider the high price-tag for local goods often makes sense. Could we have a community sponsored beautiful coat library?

Yesterday, I was walking through a consignment shop noticing the fun shoes I’d only want to wear once and thought, we could have a library for that.



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