Edinburgh Tool Library

Edinburgh Tool Library

Why own when you can share? At Edinburgh Tool Library you can borrow from thousands of tools. Don’t know how to use them? No problem! We bring members together to build and learn by sharing skills and knowledge.

Log in or sign up.

Edinburgh Tool Library 1

Covid-19 update

We are gradually bringing back our services in a phased approach as it is safe to do so. As of April 6th we are moving to Phase 1 of our reopening schedule. Details below.

Phase 1
Our Spey Street Lane depot is still operating on a Click & Collect service, but not restricted to essential tools use anymore. Cargo bike delivery is also still available, but not required anymore. All other locations and services remain closed.
Phase 2
Most likely on Thursday 29th April 2021 – Our Portobello space reopen for tool borrowing too, as well as our Tool Sharpening & Renovation service.
Phase 3
ETL workshop spaces open for limited groups, but not regular membership. Classes may begin again at reduced capacity.
Phase 4
ETL workshop open sessions open again to all members. Limited capacity, public health guidelines on social distancing, hand washing and face covering followed.
Edinburgh Tool Library 2
Edinburgh Tool Library 3

Support us

We continue to share tools and knowledge, but we know hard economic times are ahead for the voluntary sector and the rest of the country. Please consider adopting a tool to help secure our long-term future.

Meet the tools from our adoption scheme!

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.

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

How does it work?

As well as borrowing tools to use at home, members can 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. You’ll need proof of address*, an email address, and photo ID**.

Join up.


Pick a tool and choose when you want it.


Our friendly volunteers will have it ready for you at the depot.


Take it back clean and on time, ready for the next borrower.


Join in classes, open sessions or events. Volunteers are always welcome.

*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.
**Photo ID: a driving licence, passport, bus pass, or student card.

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?

Edinburgh Tool Library 4

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.
Edinburgh Tool Library 5

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.


Edinburgh Tool Library 6