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St. John's Tool Library says DIY cheaper

Ian Froude, founder and executive director of the St. John's Tool Library, works on a bike at his new Empire Avenue shop that will help people with a variety of do-it-yourself projects.
Ian Froude, founder and executive director of the St. John's Tool Library, works on a bike at his new Empire Avenue shop that will help people with a variety of do-it-yourself projects. - Sam McNeish

Library reducing waste, saving money and teaching new skills in repair workshop

Sharing tools and skills and helping would be do-it-yourselfers save some hard-earned cash are what a new community venture in St. John’s is hoping for.

The St. John’s Tool Library, in partnership with Ordinary Spokes and supported by the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board is organizing its first Repair Café in St. John’s on March 24 from 1-4 p.m. at its 151 Empire Ave. location.

The St. John's Tool Library hosted a hardwood floor installation and repair seminar earlier this week. Ian Froude, founder of the Tool Library looks over some of the work done during the session.
The St. John's Tool Library hosted a hardwood floor installation and repair seminar earlier this week. Ian Froude, founder of the Tool Library looks over some of the work done during the session.

A repair café is a community meeting place where you can grab a coffee or tea and bring your broken items to get them fixed.
With the guidance of a “repair coach,” participants can take part in the fixing of their item, gaining hands-on experience and knowledge.

“People are trying to save a dollar and be aware there is a need to save a dollar,” Ian Froude, founder and executive director of the St. John’s Tool Library said.

“The principle is to keep and maintain what you have and not have to go out and buy something new,’’ he added.
He said in also leads to a vast amount of waste reduction and saves money for anyone who takes part in Tool Library resources.

The March 24 event will feature eight repair coaches that will work with those who attend in areas such as furniture repairs, small electronic and household appliance repairs, bicycle repairs and someone will be on hand to help fix children’s toys.
“There is a great cross-section of repair coaches who are skilled in a variety of ideas that people need.”

Ian Froude isn't just the founder and executive director of the St. John's Tool Library, he's also a client.
Ian Froude isn't just the founder and executive director of the St. John's Tool Library, he's also a client.

Froude, a civil engineer, got turned on to the Tool Library premise out of a need he had while building a greenhouse at his home. During the construction phase, he needed certain tools to complete his work.

He had to lean on his father and brother for tools to complete the work.
“I didn’t want to have to go and buy those tools and fortunately I was able to get them from my dad and brother. Not everyone has that luxury,’’ Froude said.
“There were rental shops out there where I could get the tools, but those are expensive.”

He had heard of the Tool Library, did some research online to see what it was all about, like what he learned, thus he set out to open one here in St. John’s.

Various volunteer repairers will be available to help make all possible repairs free of charge from 1-4 p.m. at the Tool Library location at 151 Empire Ave. in St. John’s.

People are asked to bring by their small household appliances, electronics, furniture, clothing and textiles, toys and bicycles and work with us to get them fixed.

By promoting repairs, the St. John’s Tool Library wants to help reduce waste.
“This is a very tangible way we can all reduce waste and save money.” Ian Froude, executive director of the St. John’s Tool Library said.

“We throw away too much stuff. Unfortunately, even things needing minor repairs sometimes end up getting tossed and replaced. We want to help get those items repaired and kept out of the landfill,” he added.

The Repair Café concept arose in the Netherlands, in 2009, and was formulated by Martine Postma, at the time an Amsterdam-based journalist/publicist. In 2010, she started the Repair Café Foundation (see Repaircafe.org). This foundation provides support to local groups around the world wishing to start their own Repair Café. The foundation also supports the Repair Café in St. John’s.

samuel.mcneish@thetelegram.com

Borrow Instead of buying

Whether you’re a veteran Do-It-Yourselfer or thinking about getting started on your very first project, the St. John’s Tool Library can help.
It is a non-profit tool-lending service for people who want to create, make, build, and grow. An annual membership ($49.99) gives you access to a broad inventory of equipment — from lawn mowers to power drills, from stud finders to table saws, from gardening shovels to soldering irons — it’s got you covered.

The following is a list of services offered by the St. John’s Tool Library:
• Up to seven-day rental with easy renewals
• Automated reminders to pick up and return tools
• Year-round tool rentals
• Online booking for tools
• Community of makers for inspiration and advice
 

Hours of Operation:

Tuesday: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Thursday: 2:30-8:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m.  to 1 p.m.
During open hours call: 709-754-8665
You can get more information from Ian Froude at 709-771-4582 or go to www.stjohnstoollibrary.ca or its Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/StJohnsToolLibrary

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