The West Philly Tool Library is an excellent source of tools and information about using them, arguably better than the selection and information you’ll get at many big box stores. We know because we became Lifetime Members a few years ago and they’re the first place we go when we need a tool we don’t already own no you’re the only tool we don’t already own! Burn.
Anyway, the WPTL has been operating since 2007 and covers only 40% of its operating expenses via memberships–the rest comes from the generosity of people in the community and the fiscal sponsorship of the Urban Affairs Coalition. They are a 501(c)(3), so all donations of money and tools are tax-deductible. From their website:
The West Philly Tool Library loans tools to community members so they can perform simple home maintenance, tend their yards and gardens, build furniture, start projects, and learn new skills in a safe and affordable manner. We aim to be a community resource to provide home owners, tenants, long-time residents, and newcomers with the tools (and the knowledge) they need.
WPTL offers yearly memberships on a sliding scale, ranging from $20 to $50 a year (the Lifetime Membership is also available, and no, you don’t need to live in West Philly to join). That membership allows you to borrow tools for 7 days with a $1 per day late fee for additional days. To put that in perspective, renting an electric air compressor (comparable to the ones carried at WPTL) costs $26 for 4 hours or $148 per week, plus a $50 deposit, at Home Depot. [Note: Per an associate at Lowe’s in South Philly, none of the area Lowe’s stores offer tool rentals at this time.] If you use air compressors (or any other tool) all the time, you’ll probably still want to buy one for convenience. If not, you should check out the West Philly Tool Library’s online database of over 4,000 tools and borrow what you need. It saves you money and supports a great cause. That’s as win-win as they come.
*The Love Your Block team does not have any affiliation with WPTL other than being members since 2010. This post is an endorsement of sorts, but WPTL did not ask us to write it and we certainly were not paid by them or anyone else. We just like to recognize great things when we find them. **Update 2018 – Tiffany has now joined the board of WPTL and is excited to be working with them–more details here.