The Tool Library now serves all 8 counties of WNY

gardening tools in The Tool Library in Buffalo
Photo courtesy The Tool Library

by Connie Oswald Stofko

People from Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties can now borrow tools from The Tool Library, 5 W. Northrup Place, Buffalo.

“It’s a bit of a drive, but somebody could save a couple hundred dollars by borrowing tools,” said Darren Cotton, founder and president of The Tool Library.

The Tool Library, a non-profit program that lends tools to people to help them in their gardens and homes, originally served residents in Erie and Niagara counties exclusively.

Learn about how to become a member here.

More borrowers during pandemic

There has always been a need to borrow tools, but this year The Tool Library saw a 30 percent increase in borrowing.

“I think it’s pandemic related,” Cotton said. “People had more time at home. They have limited funds and want to make their money stretch. We want to be that resource.”

Since the beginning of 2020, members have borrowed 934 tools a total of 4,647 times, saving an estimated $141,841 in total tool costs. While many individuals borrow tools for projects at their homes, groups also borrow tools for large-scale community projects.

“I don’t think we can ever have enough garden trowels,” Cotton said.

Gardening tools

The Tool Library offers only manual, electric and battery-powered tools. There are no gas-powered tools for a couple reasons.

First is the maintenance and storage problem. Fumes from gasoline in the enclosed space of The Tool Library would be dangerous. The second reason is the sustainability issue– they don’t want to use any fossil fuel, he said.

Gardening tools include:

  • Lawn mowers
  • Electric edgers
  • Weed trimmers
  • Chain saws
  • Pole saws (manual and electric)
  • Bow saws
  • Axes and hatchets
  • Electric rototiller
  • Lawn dethatcher and scarifier
  • Trowels
  • Shovels
  • Loppers
  • Pruners
  • Shovels
  • Rakes
  • Hoes
  • Pitch forks
  • Manual cultivator (the kind you stab into the ground and turn)
  • Mattock (Cotton said a mattock worked well when he needed to pull bushes out by the roots.)
  • Tamper (This tool is used when you’re making a path.)
  • Seed spreader
  • Wheelbarrows

Quest for more tools

“We get lots of requests for tools we don’t have,” Cotton said. “We know we won’t be able to have one of every tool, but we want to get tools that we’ve had multiple requests for.”

In order to add more high-demand tools to its inventory, The Tool Library is holding its 2020 Toolraiser fundraiser. The goal is to grow the inventory by 750 tools (about $50,000 worth of tools and equipment) by the end of 2020. See the wish list here.

You can help in three ways:

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