BorrowingReservationsMembershipDonationsThe WorkshopsClassesThe Workshop InductionStuff for sale🎁 ETL Gift cardsRenewals and late feesTool SharpeningMusic Broth (Musical Instruments Library)Sharing LibrariesCovid-19 proceduresColinton pick-up/drop-off


When can I collect tools? When must I return tools?

We’re open twice a week in each tool library hub:
– Meadowbank is open Fridays and Mondays (3 till 7pm)
– Porty is open Thursdays and Mondays (5 till 8pm)
– Colinton is open Fridays (5 till 6.30pm) and Mondays (❄️ at 19:30! ❄️ Winter reduced hours!)

Most people like to book tools. Our volunteers get them ready during the week for a pick-up just before the weekend. So ideally collection is on Thursdays or Fridays and returns in on Mondays so that next borrower can book the tool and we can get them ready by the Thursday or Friday. But you can also pop by during any of these opening times and borrow what’s available on the spot.

Tools must be returned clean and at the same location you’ve picked them up from.

Is borrowing only for the weekend?

If the tool is in high demand, yes, it’s for the weekend only. Battery power gardening tools, any makita tools and the carpet cleaners are always in high demand for your info.

For all other tools you have the option: the weekend or 10 days. Ask then the volunteers when collecting and they’ll happily set the due date for not the coming Monday, but the one after.

Where are you located?

We have several hubs in the North of Edinburgh. The main one is just behind Meadowbank Shopping Centre. We also have a workshop and tool library off Portobello High street, a 2 minute walk from the Town Hall for borrowing and making. Another workshop off Commercial Street, next to Dock place on the shore.

We’ve just open a small hub in Colinton, which could be a good option for anyone in the South and West of Edinburgh.

See details about directions and opening times on our Find Us page.

What if I can never make your pick up sessions on Thursdays or Fridays, or cannot return on a Monday?

Maybe you can try our office hours on daytime 10 till 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Meadowbank? If that doesn’t work for you either, please reach out to us and we’ll see what can be possible within our scope. Here is our contact page.

Is there parking at your hubs?

None of our facilities have dedicated parking. There is limited on street parking in local areas. Please park responsibly. ETL takes no responsibility for damage or theft of vehicles or for any endorsements received for illegal parking.

Do you transfer tools between locations?

We’re currently testing cargo bike transfers between Meadowbank and Colinton locations with the amazing SW20 volunteers. We hope to learn a lot from this pilot and find a solution that we could offer for other locations too. Watch this space!

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Are reservations required?

No, you can pop by during our opening hours, see what tools are available then and borrow on the spot. Reserving tools allows you to know what you’re coming for and book a time slot for a smoother collection.

How long in advance can I reserve tools?

Reservations are just for the current week. You can reserve up to 3 days in advance. Submit your reservation on or after Tuesday, once all the tools have been returned on the Monday Return session. Volunteers will get the tools ready for you to pick-up before the weekend.

Is there a reservation deadline?

Submit your reservation before Wednesday midnight for Meadowbank tools you would like us to transfer to Colinton or before Thursday 10 am for reservation without transfer. These deadlines is to allow our volunteers enough time to prepare the tools for you!

How many tools can I reserve?

You may reserve as many tools as you require, but only make one reservation request please. How to make only one reservation? Add all the tools you need in the cart, and only then submit your unique reservation. Our tool prep volunteers will be forever grateful.

Where can I browse the tools?

You can browse the tools online right here.

How do I reserve tools?

1. Log in to your tool library account here
2. Start a cart
3. Select a pick-up day (Thursday for Portobello, Friday for Meadowbank or Colinton)
4. Select a pick-up time
5. Browse the inventory
6. Review your Cart once you added all the tools you need
7. And don’t forget to click ‘Submit’ reservation!
8. You’ll know your reservation is ready once our volunteers emailed you a confirmation (usually on a Thursday afternoon).

TRANSFERING TOOLS INFO Note that we don’t have the capacity to move tools between Meadowbank or Portobello for now but we’re trialing tool transfers this summer between Meadowbank and Colinton! What does it mean? You can reserve a Meadowbank tool but select Colinton as the pick-up location.

What if my reservation has been denied?

Don’t worry, it’s nothing personal. For various technical reasons we may need to deny some reservations. For 95%+ of cases the reason for denying a reservation is just that it was submitted too early. Due to the way reservations work we need all of the prior weeks tool loans to be returned before we can promise tools will be available for a reservation. The earliest we can reliably accept a reservation request is currently 20:00 on a Monday evening. The method reduces a lot of stress for volunteers.

Re-submitting your denied reservation is quite simple, visit your account page, view your denied reservations and duplicate the reservation once the time is correct.

  1. Log into your MyTurn account and visit your Reservations listing:
  2. Adjust the filter to only show “Denied” status reservations:
  3. Update the listing
  4. Select “Duplicate” from the “More Actions” menu for the relevant reservation
Step by step visual aid of the instructions for duplicating a reservation.
HOME DELIVERY 🚴‍ – How to request a home delivery?

Our partners at Farr Out have halted trading this year and are no longer able to provide this service, we are actively seeking a new solution.

You can request a home delivery for tools you’ve reserved thanks to our partnership with Farr Out Deliveries, a company of couriers on cargo bikes. Read through our dedicated page here to check if the deadlines and fees are working for you.

I’ve realised I can’t collect my tools after all. What should I do to be a considerate member?

Cancel your reservation as soon as possible! You can do so via your tool library account, or if you don’t know how to do that, just email us at tools@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk.

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Can I buy a membership? and where?

Yes! We welcome new tool library members. We prefer you to create your account and purchase your membership in advance online as it makes the process far easier for our volunteers. Everything you need to know is laid out on our membership page.

Should I join or should I not?

If you want access tools and knowledge on how to use these tools (even just one or two), you should definitely become a member! Your membership won’t only give you this access, but will also make a difference in your local community. Volunteers will be pleased to give you a tour, tell you all things Edinburgh Tool Library and answer any questions you might have: pop by our spaces when we’re open! You can also read about membership benefits on this page and about all the differences we make in our community on this page.

How much is a membership or renewal?

Regular membership is £30 and £20 on renewal, concession membership is £10. If you want to help someone and pay forward an extra concession membership, you can select the Pay It Forward membership. Any contribution will be gratefully received!

How long does a membership last?

1 Year.

Are there any discounted membership options?

We have a concession membership rate of £10 for people in receipt of benefits or in full time education. We ask you to please bring evidence of this when you first come to borrow tools.

We require members to have their card details filled in online to reserve tools. Please contact us if this is an issue for you.

How do I create an account?

You can do so online via this form: Create Account

Do memberships auto-renew?

By default, no. So, if you’ve not ticked the auto-renew check box when signing up, you will receive several emails when your membership is about to expire and we would LOVE for you renew online here or email, or let us know in person!

Even if you have finished your home renovation, for example, and don’t think you will use us much this year – by supporting us annually you help to make us a robust resource for everyone and ensure that we’ll have what you need when you DO need us again!

Can I pay in cash? How will payments be taken?

In the interest of hygiene and to keep both you and our volunteers safe, we currently prefer contact less card payments. You can always go to your account, select and pay for your membership right here. We also accept cash or (ideally) card payments in person.

I do not need to use the workshop spaces. Is there a membership option just for borrowing tools?

No. Your membership gives you access to the entire ETL community and you can choose the resources that you need. Even if you only need to borrow tools, we’d recommend trying out a session at one of our workshops. Beginners are more than welcome, and we can assign you a volunteer to help you through any issues you may have with using tools. There are also free inductions as part of your membership, so we can train you how to use the larger machinery.

Can I share my membership with my partner or flatmate?

Membership is individual. They’ll need to create an account and purchase their own membership. Becoming a member, you signed an agreement stating that you’ll be the only one using the tools you’re borrowing. That said, we know that DIY at home can be a collective effort, so we totally understand you ‘unofficially‘ share the benefits of your membership with your partner when borrowing tools. In our workshop though, we require everyone to have their own membership as you come in and use the tools in person.

Please consider also how much you’re both getting out of accessing tools, if and how it might improve your lives, how it improves many other people’s life and even just simply how much money you’re saving actually by borrowing instead of purchasing tools, it’s maybe worth it to pay for a second membership and help this great community ressources sustains for many years to come.

How do I cancel my membership?

We don’t refund memberships mid-year. If your membership is set to auto-renew and you don’t want it to, you can change that in your account on this page. You just have to un-tick the box that reads “◻️ Renew Automatically”. 

Membership revenue is one of the biggest ways our programs thrive as we are a charity. However, we also understand that life is unpredictable and we would never want to lock someone into a membership they can’t afford – if you’re worried about paying for your membership, email us at hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk to see how we can help.

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You have tools to donate?

We might not be able to accept them ourselves, but we’re keen to give your tools a good home so we’ve shared a few other welcoming folks and organisations! Please read more on our dedicated page: https://edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk/donations/

You would like to support us?

This is awesome! There are many ways to support our community work and future. Check them out on our Support Us page.

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The Workshops

Can I access the workshops at present?

Yes! During regular sessions and classes.

  • The regular sessions are for our members. You need an active membership to join in and we’ll require you to first attend a safety induction. You can read more below.
  • Our classes are open to everyone, members and non-members. No induction required.
What can I make in the workshop?

Our workshops are wood based. We have all the tools you need for making nice woodworking projects like wooden shelves, wooden toys, wooden gifts, wooden prototypes or models, etc.

Our workshops are also there for you to make new friends! Our workshops are the heart of our community:   

  • here for sharing and learning from each other, 
  • here for breaking down stereotypes about who can become a maker, 
  • here for gaining confidence and soon supporting new members, 
  • here for bringing the community together.
Is there storage space for a project that I have not finished yet?

No, there is no possibility of storing projects. Our community workshop is shared and used by different groups throughout the week. We need as much space available for the magic of making to happen.

I’m not sure which one of the type of sessions/classes would be best for me. Can you help?

We’ve laid out more information on a page dedicated to workshops and events at the tool library. See you there.

Where are your workshops located?

We have 2 different workshop spaces:

  • one off Portobello High street, a 2 minute walk from the Town Hall
  • and one off Commercial Street, next to Dock place on the shore.

See exact addresses on our find us page or when you book your spot via our eventbrite page.

I can’t make it anymore. How can I cancel my booking? 

Log in to your eventbrite account and follow these steps.

Please do your best to cancel your booking at least 48 hours in advance. That way we can  offer the spot to another member on the waitlist.

Note that:

  • if you fail to cancel in advance on any of the free member induction or open sessions, we retain the right to deduct a no-show fee donation of £5 from your registered myTurn card
  • there are no refunds for paid classes.
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Do I have to be a member to join a class?

No, you don’t! Our classes are open to everyone. A tool library membership will give you a 10% discount though on the price.

What are the upcoming classes/making events?

Have a browse on our eventbrite page to see if there are any upcoming classes! We update the page every Thursday 8pm.

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The Workshop Induction

What is the workshop induction for?

Our health & safety community workshop induction is to help you :

  • learn how to use the machines in our workshops safely 
  • understand and agree to our community workshop etiquette. 
Are the inductions valid for both workshops?

Yes, inductions are valid for both the Porty & Leith workshops.

When are workshop induction required?

Workshop inductions are required ahead of joining our open sessions. These require you to have an active membership.

Once you’ve attended the induction, you will be able to come to any members open sessions.

Volunteers on shifts will know that you know the rules and that you will do your best to keep our space safe for everyone.

When are you running inductions?

Have a browse on our eventbrite page to see the upcoming ones and to book your spot! Volunteers run about 2 inductions a week depending on their availability. We upload upcoming and confirmed dates on Eventbrite on Thursdays 8pm.

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Can I get my membership activated at the induction?

Yes, just bring your photo ID and proof of address and the volunteers on shift will get you sorted.

What does the workshop general induction cover?

All inductions cover:

  • Basic health & safety, hand tools
  • Handheld power tools   
  • Mitre saw, band/scroll saw, drill press, standing sanders   
  • Table saw   
What about other tools in the workshops that are not included in the general induction?

You can ask in advance to be inducted on machines and tools that are not included in the initial induction you’ve attended. This option will be available based on the knowledge of the workshop volunteers on shift and the busyness of the session.

What about the lathe? Because of the level of skills and attention required to induct someone on the lathe we are not able to offer this as part of our general induction or during our open sessions. You would need to attend our class “Introduction to Woodturning” in order to use the lathe during our open sessions. We run this monthly and you can book a spot through our eventbrite page.

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Stuff for sale

Do you sell any tools?

We generally don’t sell tools. People donate them to us out of good will, and in order to maintain that good will, we give away our excess tools to other tool libraries that are setting up, or other charities that need them.

Some of our excess tools were sent to a refugee camp in Lesbos. Here you can see a group of young Syrian refugees being taught woodwork with our donated tools.

We recently ran a fundraiser tool sale and might run another one in the future, but it’s definitely worth it for you to become a member in the meantime!

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Do you sell PPE (including dust masks)?

We currently stock ear defenders, ear plugs and goggles, all £3 each. We sell them because we think everyone who is using noisy tools should have their own pair, and we are particularly aware of the risks in sharing wearable equipment.

Do you sell any consumables?

Yes, we have a pick and mix wall of supplies and consumables for sale (depending on the latest donations, it can include screws, nails, wall plugs but also light switches, light bulb, safety pins, paint brushes, etc…-). You can check when you collect the tools.

We try our best to provide any essential consumables with the tool you’re borrowing (like blades, sanding sheets, etc.) and if you use them, we would ask for a small donation in return when picking up or dropping off the tool.

Can I pay in cash?

Yes, but we prefer card payments at this time. Late fees or donations towards supplies or PPE can only be paid in person. Memberships can be paid and renewed online from your tool library account.

ETL gift cards

Do you sell gift membership or workshop vouchers?

Yes we do! And we love that you’re thinking of us to make someone else happy. Read more on our Gift a Membership section.

How do I redeem the credit on my gift card?

Your gift card consists of a credit that can go towards:

– New or renewed membership fees or late fees (you can do so directly on your tool library account that you can create right here if not done already)

– Early-bird tickets for our paid classes! (you’ll receive a wee email on upcoming classes with early bird access to book your spot)

You can also use your credit for donations towards our sharpening services, PPE or consumables (in person) and any extra donations for open workshop sessions and/or our vital community and environmental work!

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Renewals and late fees

I’ve realised I am not going to be able to return my tools on time. What can I do to avoid a fine?

If you know you can’t return tools, or you have realised you missed the return day, contact us at the first available opportunity. If you are super apologetic, and we haven’t had to disappoint someone else or chase you up, you might get away with a wag of the finger and slightly disapproving look.

Can I renew a loan myself?

Send us an email by Monday 1 pm on tools@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk. We’ll check if the tools are not in high demand and renew them for you. You can’t renew the loan yourself at the moment.

How much are late return fees?

It can go up quickly. Late fees are £1 per day per power tool and 50p per day per hand tool. So if you have a drill and a sander out and you forget to bring it back, you will be shelling out £14!

Every tool late is another member who can’t borrow that tool. So all late tools are charged a late fee. This is not how we want to make money, it is how we make sure you don’t forget next time!

How do I pay any late return fees I have on my account?

You’ll be able to pay the late fees in person at drop-off. Cash or card payments are accepted.

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Tool Sharpening

How much does it cost?

Final cost is subject to seeing the tool, as sometimes it’s a longer job than normal. We’ve shared a list of suggested donations for common tools on our dedicated page here.

Do I have to be a member to benefit from your tool renovation & sharpening service?

No, you don’t! Our tool renovation & sharpening service is open to everyone.

How long does it take?

Completion may take up to a week, but normally less.

Where and when can I get my tools sharpened?

Tools are sharpened by our volunteers in Portobello, during normal opening hours.

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Music Broth

NEW PARTNERSHIP 🎹 – What is Music Broth?

Music Broth is a Glasgow-based musical instrument library – exactly like a tool library, but for musical instruments instead of tools!

We are thrilled to announce that you can now pick up the musical instruments you’ve ordered via Music Broth from our Portobello space at specific days and times.

The default loan length is 2 months so you get time to practice.

Does my ETL membership cover Music Broth?

No, you need to have a separate Music Broth membership and account to borrow with them. They offer individual, family, band and organizational memberships. To find out more about Music Broth memberships, visit their website here.

Collection and return

The collection session is happening every last Monday of the month at our Meadowbank Tool Library 5.30 till 6:30pm. Return is the same. You need to contact them by the Wednesday before the last Monday of the month to make sure they can prepare the musical instruments and bring it to you on time. Check our Find us page for directions.

Why are we collaborating with them?

If you’re a tool library member, you’ll know already how important reducing waste, reusing materials and sharing knowledge and resources within our community is to us. Well, Music Broth are the same – but with music.

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Sharing Libraries

I’m thinking of starting a sharing library. Can you help?

Yes! We have laid out a must-read page for you to get started with common questions and links to resources you may find helpful. See you there.

I would love one of these Little Free Libraries you’ve made. Can you help?

Yes! We have laid out all the information you need in one pager. See you there.

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Covid 19 procedures

I am showing or a family member is showing symptoms of Covid-19. Can I still collect or return tools?

If you are experiencing ANY symptoms of COVID19 or have been in contact with someone who has symptoms, please do not borrow tools from us, and please do not come to the tool library. If this affects you returning tools, please drop us an email to hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk

If this affects a reservation you have made, please tell us so we can free up the tools for someone else to use.

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Colinton pick-up/drop-off

I’ve heard you’re opening up a pick-up/drop-off location in Colinton?

SW20, a collective of South West Edinburgh residents, has put together a brand new team of tool librarian volunteers. They have a base at the CVE Shed (Google Maps) in Spylaw Public Park run by Colinton Village Enterprise SCIO and where they are storing a small inventory of tools from Edinburgh Tool Library. This means that yes, from June onwards, current and new members of the Edinburgh Tool Library can now borrow tools from Colinton!

They will run weekly borrowing sessions: 

  • on Friday early evenings (5pm till 6.30pm) for tool collections
  • and on Monday late evenings (❄️ at 7:30pm only! ❄️ Winter reduced hours) for returns,

As well as weekly transfers from Meadowbank, the main inventory of the Edinburgh Tool Library. 

The transfer is a brand new service that SW20 volunteers and ETL are piloting. Any feedback, suggestions or interest in getting involved are very welcome.The same borrowing rules from the other ETL locations apply for Colinton. Members can keep the tools for a weekend if that’s enough for them to get the job done or for 10 days if their project requires a bit more time. All borrowers are asked to return the tools back to where they borrowed it from, on the due date, during opening times, clean and in good working order – or with details of any issues they encounter with the tools borrowed.

We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions in our below. Check it out, we might have already answered yours! If not, you can email SW20 tool librarians on sw20.etl@gmail.com.

Where is the Colinton Location?

It is in the CVE Shed in the beautiful Spylaw Public Park. Here is the link to the exact spot on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/HsS1BoCaiHGF2jMR9

Is Colinton Pick-up/Drop-off location only for local residents?

No, borrowing from the Colinton location is open to everyone. You just need an active membership at the Edinburgh Tool Library.

How much is membership for borrowing from Colinton?

Wherever you intend to borrow from Edinburgh Tool Library, membership is paid annually and is £30. We also offer a concession price at £10 if you are in full-time education, receiving benefits (JSA, ESA, Income Support, Universal Credit) or over the age of 65 and can’t afford £30. And we also offer a Pay-it-Forward price at £40 if you can give a little extra to cover someone else’s membership.

I can’t find the tool I need in the Colinton inventory. Can a Meadowbank tool be transferred to Colinton for me?

Yes! SW20 volunteers are sharing the CVE Shed at Spylaw Park with many other organisations so only have a couple of shelves for storing tools on site. But they have cargo bikes and are keen to pick-up tools for you from the Meadowbank inventory.

How to ask for a transfer from Meadowbank to Colinton?

  • Have a browse through the Meadowbank inventory
  • Make sure you have an active membership at the tool library
  • If that’s the case, when you’re logged in, you should see a wee ‘reserve’ button under each tools
  • Click reserve and select ‘Colinton’ as a pick-up point
  • You can add more tools to the cart. Once it’s ready, submit it!
  • Please submit before Wednesday midnight so that we have enough time to arrange transfer accordingly
  • It will automatically send a transfer request to our volunteers and we’ll keep you posted when the tools have arrived.

Any questions or help with reservations, you can always email us on sw20.etl@gmail.com. Again best is to email before Thursday, so that we have time to check if the tools are there, all good, and transfer them for you to pick-up them up on Friday.

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If you have any other questions not addressed in this section, please hit the wee feedback button to the right on the screen or email us at hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk.