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Toronto Tool Library

Toronto Tool Library and Makerspace
Country Canada
Established 2012
Location Toronto, Ontario
Branches 4
Access and use
Population served 2,615,060 (2012) [1]
Members 800
Other information
Director Ryan Dyment
Staff 7
Website The Toronto Tool Library

Toronto Tool Library (TTL) is a public library system based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[2] Tool libraries loan specialized tools for both experienced and inexperienced community members who are interested in home repair, maintenance, building projects, community projects, gardening and landscaping.[3] In The Kitchen Library, small to medium-sized appliances are loaned for cooking and baking, serving equipment, culinary workshops. It partnered with the Toronto Public Library in 2015.[4]


  • History 1
  • Governance 2
  • Services 3
    • Collections 3.1
    • Training 3.2
    • Technology 3.3
    • Tool Ninja 3.4
  • Mission 4
    • Tool library 4.1
    • Makerspace 4.2
  • Branches 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


In 2012, TTL was founded by Ryan Dyment and Lawrence Alvarez.[5] TTL received its first grant from the Centre for Social Innovation and started a registered non-profit arm called the Institute for a Resource Based Economy (IRBE) in 2012.[6] In March 2012, a tool lending library was established in Toronto west at the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre, 1499 Queen Street West, Toronto.[7] In 2012, a tool lending and Makerspace with a wood shop, laser cutter, 3D printers, workshops and community gatherings was established in Toronto East at 1803 Danforth Avenue, Toronto.[8] In October 2013, a Makerspace was established in the East End of Toronto. In 2013, the TTL offered its first annual Alternative Gift Fair.[9] In 2014, TTL sold $1000 bonds to fund its social change.[10] In March 2015, TTL held a 54-Hour Hackathon, which gave participants training in hardware startups.[11] The TTL partnered with the Toronto Public Library to open a brand new Tool Library on April 30, 2015 at the Downsview Public Library branch of the TPL, located at 2793 Keele Street. [12]

TTL is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Pioneer +TO, countless tool donors and volunteers.[13]


The Toronto Tool Library is governed by a Board composed of eight citizen members.[14]



The tool library adapted Share Starter's free "Tool Library Starter Kit" [15] which includes start up guidelines, frequently asked questions, and sample documents. The library uses "Local Tools" from ", PBC", a web-based inventory management system to track tool library members and to automatically display the tool availability online.[16] The library has loaned over 12,000+ specialized tools from power drills and ladders to pressure washers and roto-tillers to community members with all skill levels welcomed.[17] The inventory of equipment includes automative, bike, carpentry and woodworking, electrical and soldering, home maintenanc, metalworking, plumbing, remodelling, safety equipment, sustainable living, yard and garden. The types of equipment include: network equipment, books, camping, cars, googles, helmets, handtools, packages, power tools, wheelbarrows & wagons.


The TTL offers affordable workshops open both to Tool Library members and the public on tool related skills and projects. In the Intro to Tools workshop, participants built a planter box; while in Routers 101, attendees created a cutting board.


The Toronto Tool Library technology services include public access 3D Printing.[18] In addition, Laser -Cutting and CNC Router Services are available at TTL.[19]

Tool Ninja

The Toronto Tool Library offers “Tool Ninjas” whereby experts in a variety of tools and trades – 3D printing, Laser cutting, Furniture design, renovations are partnered for mentorship in tool use or hiring for a job.[20]


Power Tools

Tool library

The Tool library performs the following main tasks:

  • Tool Lending: all kinds for use in volunteer projects, facility maintenance and improvement projects, community improvement events, and special events.
  • Tool Advocacy: for the complete and timely return of all borrowed tools, to guarantee the long-term sustainability of available inventory. Staff also seeks compensation for lost tools and tools returned late.
  • Tool Maintenance: performing routine maintenance and repairs on all equipment to ensure good condition and to extend the lifespan of the inventory. This function is typically performed by volunteers and community service workers.


Makerspace are places where people perform the following main tasks:

  • to learn about technology, crafts and other kinds of making;
  • to share knowledge and skills with others; and
  • to apply this knowledge and skill by creating things.


  • Tool lending library at the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre, 1499 Queen Street West, in the West End of Toronto.[21]
  • Tool lending library and Makerspace, 1803 Danforth Avenue, in the East End of Toronto.[22]
  • Tool lending library, 2793 Keele Street at the Downsview branch of the Toronto Public Library

See also


  1. ^ "(Code 3520) Census Profile. 2011 census.". Statistics Canada. 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  2. ^ "Thousands of loans later, Toronto Tool Library turns one in Parkdale". 2014. Retrieved Apr 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Need a power drill, paint roller or a small generator? Try the library — the Tool Library, that is.". Toronto Star. 2013. Retrieved Feb 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "How-to books and tools to do the job: Soon, Downsview library will offer both". Toronto Star. 2015. Retrieved Apr 9, 2015. 
  5. ^ "The Toronto Tool Library Brings a New Model of Resource Sharing". Torontoist. 2013. Retrieved Apr 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ Institute for a Resource Based Economy
  7. ^ "Toronto's first Tool Library gears up to open in Parkdale". Toronto Star. 2013. Retrieved Feb 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Toronto Tool Library Nails Down Its New East-End Location". Torontoist. 2013. Retrieved Oct 18, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Tool Library's Alternative Gift Fair lets you swap your items, land free gifts". Toronto Star. 2014. Retrieved Dec 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Toronto community space selling $1000 bonds to fund social change". MetroNews Canada. 2014. Retrieved Nov 21, 2014. 
  11. ^ "54-Hour Hackathon Gives Participants Crash Course in Hardware startups". Techvibes (blog). 2015. Retrieved Mar 9, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Extra, Extra: What Is Toronto, Tool Time at the Library, and a Drake Video Game". Torontoist. 2015. Retrieved Apr 8, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Libraries Unite! | Toronto Tool Library". Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  14. ^ "East - end Tool Library set to open on Danforth Avenue in September". 2013. Retrieved Jul 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ How to start a tool library
  16. ^ Local Tools
  17. ^ "About | Toronto Tool Library". Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  18. ^ "Hammering home the logic of pooling our tools". Toronto Star. 2014. Retrieved Sep 29, 2014. 
  19. ^ "3D Printing + Laser-Cutting Services | Toronto Tool Library". Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  20. ^ "Tool Ninjas | Toronto Tool Library". Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  21. ^ Toronto Tool Library West
  22. ^ Toronto tool lending library east

External links

  • Official website
  • Toronto Public Library Downsview Branch
  • The Kitchen Library - official site
  • The Toronto Seed Library

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