Edinburgh Tool Library

The library

Can I borrow tool as of January 2021?

As of January 6th 2021, we’ll be operating a click and collect service for essential tools with appointment booking required at the Leith Depot and closing the Portobello library until further notice.

We ask that members only reserve tools that are essential. If it can wait, please wait. We will adapt and update our services to benefit our community as best we can in the coming weeks, but can only do so if we approach the current restrictions with caution and respect collectively. Our delivery service with FarrOut is still available and can be used for non-essential tool reservations for an additional fee. Learn more about fees and how it works here: https://edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk/tool-delivery/

Read below for details about how our services will function for the foreseeable future. For any questions feel free to reach out to hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk

Lockdown Limited Services at ETL

The Leith Depot will be open by appointment Fridays from 3 – 7pm for collection and Mondays from 3 – 7pm for returns. You must book a time slot. You can also schedule delivery for non-essential tools. The window to book is still from Monday @8pm to Thursday @10am. 

You must book an appointment to collect and return your essential tools. Please follow these guidelines:

  • Only reserve tools for collection if they are actually essential
  • We do not determine what is essential. Please use your own judgement
  • Do not come if you are not feeling well 
  • Wear a mask and wash your hands
  • Come alone. No more than 1 person per time slot. 
  • If you drive, do not bring your vehicle down Spey St. Lane. We can provide a trolley for you to carry tools to your car if you park nearby. 
  • If you need your tools for longer than the weekend, please email and let us know ASAP and we can renew them for you. 

Tools will still sit for 72 hours and will be cleaned again just before going out over the weekend.

Other services will open in due course when it is safe to do so.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Where can I browse the tools?

You can browse the tools on our website right here or browse the tools with your library account right here.

When must I return tools?

On Mondays. At the same location you’ve picked them up (at the same time if possible). We’re open currently from 3pm till 7pm.

Is borrowing only for the weekend?

By default yes, borrowing at this time will be from the day you pick up (Thursday or Friday depending on the location of the tool) until Monday; 72 hours.

But we’ve relaxed the rules a bit from September on. You can now ask when picking up tools, to check them out for, not the coming Monday, but the one after. Please only ask when you really need the tools for that extra week. Maybe the weekend will still be enough?

Can I renew/extend a loan myself?

Self renewals are not allowed at the moment. If you really need the tool for longer than a weekend, send us an email by Monday 1pm on tools@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk and we’ll check if these tools are not in high demand and renew them for you if possible.

What’s going to cost me a late return?

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 will be charged a late fee, no exceptions. This is not how we want to make money, it is how we make sure you don’t forget next time!

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.

Where is your Portobello space?

Please note this space is temporarily closed but we hope to reopen at some point so here are the details: we are located off Portobello High street, a 2 minute walk from the Town Hall. The address is – 19 Windsor Place EH15 2AJ
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/WXn4D7sM9BdnXSUA9

Where is the Tool Depot?

We are located off Pilrig Street, a 5 minute walk from Leith Walk.
The address is – 9 Spey Street Lane EH7 4QB
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/Db2RLANrSoU4Vt9NA

Is there parking at the depot or in Portobello?

There is limited on street parking in both 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 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. Very occasionally we have antique tools for sale, as these are more ornamental than are needed. If you are interested in antique tools, please drop us an email.

F.A.Q. 1
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.
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. Once the COVID19 crisis is over we will stock dust masks too.

Do you sell any consumables?

Yes, we have some consumables for sale, which you can check when you collect the tools. It is tricky to do this as we have such a range of manufacturers and models that is impossible to have something that fits every tool. If you use consumables provided with the tools, we would ask for a small donation for things like sanding sheets and belts.

F.A.Q. 2


How do I reserve tools?

Please note first that:
– We only consider reservations submitted during the reservation window: it starts on Monday @8pm and ends on Thursday @10am.
– We don’t accept reservation for more than 4 days in advance
– We only are open on Fridays for pick-ups and on Mondays for returns
– We don’t have the capacity to move tools between Leith or Portobello
– We sent an email receipt when the reservation request has been submitted successfully – that way you know if we’ve received it on time.
– We sent an email confirmation when the reservation has been accepted and the tools prepared by our volunteers.

All good? Then you can log in to your tool library account here, start a cart, select a pick-up day, book an appointment (or request a delivery) and browse the inventory. Once you added all the tools you need, review your cart and don’t forget to submit your reservation!

How do I book a pick-up appointment?

This is integrated in the reservation process. Once you’ve clicked on the date, you’ll be able to select a pick-up time. We’ve split the session into 15 minutes slots, one pick-up per slot. We ask that you return your tools on the following Monday during the same time slot.

How to request a cargo bike delivery?

Have a read through our dedicated page here and if the deadlines and fees are working for you, prepare your reservation as usual, add all the tools you need, but when asked to choose a pick-up time: please select the first time slot – 03:00 to 03:15, and we’ll be in touch shortly to coordinate the delivery.

How many tools can I reserve?

You may reserve as many tools as you require, but only make one reservation request. Multiple reservation requests will be deleted. To help maintain social distancing, we are limiting the total number of reservations to 50. Multiple reservations would mean fewer people could benefit from the tool library.

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 tools@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk.

F.A.Q. 2


Which membership is right for me?

Don’t know where to start? Pop by our space when we’re open and enjoy a tour from our volunteers for your first visit. They’ll be pleased to answer any questions you might have!

No space for DIY in the flat? Use our workshops, open twice a week.

Looking for more ways to help us build a better future? Adopt a tool or become a volunteer!

How much is a membership or renewal?

Regular membership is £30 and £20 on renewal, concession membership is £10. If you want to pay it forward, or donate more, any contribution is gratefully received. You can read about membership benefits on this page.

Are there any discounted membership options?

We also 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 long does a membership last?

1 Year.

Can I buy a membership? and where?

Yes! We welcome new tool library members. We require you to create your account and purchase your membership in advance online at this time. Then pick any opening days and bring photo ID and a recent proof of address. Under normal circumstances we would require you to fill in a paper form as well, but that’s not happening anymore to avoid the potential transmission of coronavirus. Visit the membership page and get started today.

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?

No cash. In the interest of hygiene, at this time we are taking card payments only. We use Stripe to process our payments, so we can do this in a contactless way, keeping both you and our staff and volunteers safe. If this is a problem for you, please drop us an email.

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

No. You are paying to be part of this community. How you choose to use that membership is up to you. We would totally recommend you trying out a session at one of our workshops though once they are back open. 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.

How do I cancel my membership?

Membership revenue is one of the biggest ways our programs thrive as we are a charity. However, we understand that life is unpredictable; we would never want to lock someone into a membership they can’t afford. Email us at hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk to see how we can help.

F.A.Q. 2

The Workshops

Can I use the workshops at Portobello or Leith?

The workshops remain closed for now, as required by the Scottish government. Below is our planned phased reopening of the services we offer, in line with the Scottish government’s phase exit of lockdown.

F.A.Q. 5
As there is currently limited use of the tool library facilities, is there a reduced membership cost?

Unfortunately not. We are still paying rent on all our workshops, and are a charity, so we need every penny, and we think you will agree that you are still getting an amazing deal! The average household in the UK spends £110 a year on tools according to the ONS, so even paying full whack, you are saving £80!

F.A.Q. 2

Covid 19 procedures

What precautions will be in place to avoid spreading of Covid-19 between persons?

All ETL staff and volunteers will wear gloves, face masks, and visors when dealing with the public and handling tools

There will be a Perspex screen between staff/volunteers and members

We will ask will be marked 2m apart for the queue outside the depot and same in Portobello. There is plenty of space for queuing safely.

I am worried about cross contamination from tools. What are you doing to keep me safe?

All tools will be disinfected three times before being lent out. Once by the previous member and twice by us (on receipt of the item and on the day before it goes out). All tools will sit untouched for 72 hours after they are initially cleaned by ETL staff or volunteers

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.

F.A.Q. 2

If you have any other questions not addressed in this section, please email us at hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk.