Edinburgh Tool Library

What is a tool library?

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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.

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Our Manifesto

About 3

We share. It’s what we’re here for. Sharing tools, sharing skills and sharing know-how.

We fight waste. The three R’s – reducing, reusing and recycling – are central to our work. We repair tools to be reused and we reclaim materials whenever we can. We believe the most important R is the first: reducing the excess tools and materials so often wasted.

We are inclusive. Ours is a welcoming space of respect and tolerance. We work to make it accessible to all, breaking down any potential barriers of gender, race, age, ability, means or experience.

We are open. For everyone in our community, members and volunteer crew, we’re not only as transparent as possible but ready to listen too – everyone has a voice in our decision-making process.

We work for the community. Empowered individuals make for vibrant communities. We bring people together so everyone can learn
from each other, share knowledge and find support.

We inspire. By showing that alternatives work, we’re creating a ripple effect that turns small actions into big waves of change – opening minds to a low-carbon, community-forward future.

The ETL team

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The Tooligans proud of their Volunteer Edinburgh Inspiring Team Award in 2018


The vast majority of the service delivery at ETL is done by our volunteers. They are the superstar Tooligans that run the tool lending sessions, deliver open workshops, and put in many hours on volunteer builds and community engagement. Our volunteers donate 75 hours in a typical week and when you add together all the volunteer builds and one-off events, our members donate over 4,000 hours a year to helping our members and the community.

Staff team

To support our volunteers, we have our amazing staff team. The staff is also there to run our range of charitable programmes and prepare for future challenges and opportunities.

Board of Trustees

Our board is made up of people with a shared enthusiasm and excitement for the Tool Library. We have worked hard to ensure it is diverse and representative of the communities we work with. Our board members have skills, experience, and backgrounds in trade unions, finance, youth employment, charity funding, employability, education, sociology and environmentalism.

Our funders

The Edinburgh Tool Library been fortunate enough to be supported by some great organisations and funding bodies.

  • Bank of Scotland
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Unltd
  • Climate Challenge Fund
  • The Big Lottery – Awards for All
  • OneCity Trust
  • Leith Chooses
  • EDI Group
  • Foundation Scotland
  • The Tudor Trust
  • Social Bite
  • Firstport
  • The Volant Trust
  • University of Edinburgh Community Fund

A big thank you to those who’ve supported us since 2014; we couldn’t have gotten this far without you.

Our friends

These are some of the friends of Edinburgh Tool Library. We receive ongoing support from each of them, for which we are extremely grateful.

If you want to be a friend of the Tool Library and play a key role in leading us towards a sharing economy in Scotland, please get in touch or read more on our Support Us page.