A new tool library in the University Heights area of Buffalo serves gardeners in both Buffalo and the suburbs.
The Buffalo Tool Library is a collaborative effort of PUSH Buffalo, Grassroots Gardens, Buffalo ReUse, and now the University Heights Collaborative. The aim is to lend neighbors many of the tools they need to fix up and maintain their homes and gardens.
PUSH Buffalo serves the West Side and Buffalo ReUse serves the East Side. The University Heights tool library serves North Buffalo from its storefront at 3083 Main St., Buffalo.
Because it’s located so close to the suburbs, the University Heights tool library has gotten permission from the Buffalo Common Council, which provides some funding, to open the library to suburban residents as well, explained Darren Cotton, head organizer of the library.
It costs $10 a year for a Buffalo resident to register. He or she can then borrow tools from any of the locations.
Suburban residents pay $15 per year, and can borrow only from the University Heights tool library.
“Most of the money collected through the membership fee goes to buy more tools,” said Cotton, who is also a graduate student in urban planning at the University at Buffalo. If you’re looking for a particular tool that’s not in their inventory yet, let them know and they’ll try to purchase it.
The University Heights tool library maintains a list of tools in its inventory, and the list indicates whether the item is available or is currently on loan.
Gardening tools that can be borrowed include a cordless hedge trimmer, pruners, telescoping tree pruner, bypass lopper (cuts branches up to 1.5 inches thick), spade, shovels, hoes, cultivator, post hole digger, wheelbarrow and rakes (with plastic or metal teeth).
Block clubs or anybody working on a group project will find it helpful to borrow multiple items so many people can rake or dig at once.
The University Heights tool library is also looking for donations of gardening and home improvement tools.
“We take anything and everything, as long as it works,” Cotton said.
In addition to items that you can borrow, free items, such as plants or scrap wood, are often available at the tool library. People are using the wood to build raised garden beds.
“We figured if it can be used, why not put it to use?” he said.
In the future, they’d like to offer classes and demonstrate how to make small projects using the tools.