Edinburgh Tool Library

Why own when you can share?

Welcome to the Edinburgh Tool Library, a tool-lending library where you can borrow from thousands of tools. And if you don’t know how to use the tools we share, don’t worry – we also bring members together to build and learn by sharing skills and knowledge with one another.

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ETL Reopening Schedule

Whilst the COVID19 crisis is ongoing, many Edinburgh Tool Library services are paused. We are, however, bringing back our services in a phased approach. Currently, you can reserve tools on Tuesdays, pick them up on Friday (2-8pm) and return them on the Monday (2-8pm) from the Spey St Lane depot in Leith. The Tool Library service at Tribe Porty is reopening from the 24th of July, and will have tool collection Fridays (11am-2pm) and tool returns Mondays (11am-2pm). We will gradually open up further services as it is safe to do so.

Specifics around how to join, reserve, and pick up, and the measures we are taking to ensure safety, are on a separate page. ALL MEMBERS SHOULD READ THIS BEFORE RESERVING TOOLS.

Please see the following infographic for more information of the gradual phased reopening of ETL services.

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The tool library during lockdown

Just because corona virus has put our regular services on hold, it deosn’t mean ETL can’t do our bit for the city. In his latest blog, our director, Chris, has outlined what we have undertaken to help combat the effects of the health crisis with our collaborations in Wester Hailes, our interview series, and our work with the Edinburgh Mask Makers .

We need your support

During these challenging times, please continue to help us keep the ETL flag flying. Donate or renew your membership now – you can even renew early, and a year will be put on your expiry date. Log in to renew.

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Our volunteers rebuilding a vandalised pirate ship for Castleview Primary School. Can you help keep the ETL flag flying?

By borrowing tools, sharing skills and learning to live more responsibly, we look to support ourselves, our neighbours and our planet. We believe in access over excess.

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What is a Tool Library?

A tool library is first a simple idea – it works like a normal library but with tools instead of books.

Borrow things like drills, sanders, and steamers by the week.

Join in events like DIY classes, workshops, and community builds.

Meet your neighbours and people from your community, share your knowledge and skills, or learn something new.

Volunteer! Help run the tool library, assist with our events, and build stronger links within our communities.

For us, a tool library is about building a community as well as building things. We run an employability programme, a series of volunteer builds, and a residency programme for young makers. Read more about the programmes and how to support us.

Find what you are looking for among thousands of tools.

How does it work?

As well as borrowing tools to use at home, our members access our workshops several times a week, usually evenings and weekends. We have two wood workshops in Leith and Portobello, two storage units, a pop up location and an electric van.


It’s easy. All you need is an email, *Photo ID, **Proof of Address, and to choose your membership type.

*Photo ID: a driving licence, passport, bus pass, or student card.
**Proof of Address: a bank statement, HMRC letter, job centre letter, or utility bill, dated within the last 6 months and with your current address


Choose the tool you want to use, and select when you want them for.


Visit the Tool Library location where your tool is, and a friendly volunteer will be available to help.


After you’ve used the tool, simply return it, clean, on time, and ready for the next borrower.


Join our classes, open sessions, or events and get making, building, and repairing. Or join as a Volunteer or Mentor and connect to a wider group of sharers and makers.

Make Works came to shoot an introduction to the Tool Library on a sunny afternoon a wee while ago, before we developed our Tribe Porty library and workshop. This video is filmed at Custom Lane, where you can see the Men of Leith Men’s Shed enjoying the workshop during their weekly Tuesday session. We also partner with other groups working with refugee and women’s charities, young people and all sorts of other organisations creating a safe space, inclusive for everyone.

Why buy when you can share?

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The average cordless electric drill is used for just 13 minutes during its lifetime, yet most households own one and spend an average of £110 per year on DIY tools (Office of National Statistics). That’s a waste of money and waste of a tool.

We share tools in order to maximise the number of times each tool is used, reduce waste, and make access to tools affordable for everyone.

  • Save money – Tools are expensive and not everyone can afford them. Whether you’ve got a shelf to put up, renovations to complete, or a space to transform, you will save money by borrowing tools from a tool library rather than buying tools yourself.
  • Save space – Using the tool library means you don’t need to buy tools and have the worry of where to store them.
  • Be kind to the planet – If a drill is used for just 13 minutes of its lifetime and spends the rest of its time collecting dust somewhere, why not share it with your neighbours? By using less and sharing more, the Tool Library helps us all save on the packaging, water, fuel and rare earth minerals that go into producing each tool.
  • Better communities – When you become a member, you become part of a wider community. We run many workshops and programs to help people empower themselves with the knowledge they need to use tools themselves.

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If we all share what we have to offer, we all become richer.

In our first 5 years, we saved our members £875,000 compared to what they would have spent on the tools they borrowed.


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