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Beyond Repair

A green card with Repair Cafe title and light bulb with a spanner

Presented by the Guelph Tool Library, this event is for tool libraries, repair cafes, and anyone interested in the Right to Repair movement.

Inspired by the Right to Repair movement the Guelph Tool Library has created a conference to assist people and organizations as they advocate for the circular economy. If you are interested in attending, the conference is taking place on Saturday, Sep 11th from 11 to 1 pm. Tickets are free, but pre-registration is required. Register on Eventbrite.

Keynote Speaker:

MP Bryan May – The Right To Repair Bill

A keynote address on how the Right to Repair movement impacts all Canadians will be delivered by Bryan May, MP from Cambridge and the sponsor of the current Right to Repair Bill in the second reading at Parliament.

After the keynote, there will be workshops made specifically designed for tool libraries and repair cafes. These workshops range in topics from evolving a tool library to secrets of grant writing and fundraising.

Workshops and Presenters:

Starting and Growing a Tool Library – Brent Harris of St John Tool Library

Meet Brent Harris; Brent will be speaking on starting/maintaining a tool library as a social enterprise with multiple revenue streams. Find out how the Saint John’s Tool Library has managed to thrive with a small membership base and nearly zero outside funding.

More about Brent: Brent Harris is the founder and current director of the Saint John Tool Library (SJTL) in Saint John, New Brunswick. He and a group of residents began their journey to establish a tool Library in Canada’s oldest city In 2018. Due to a lack of available funding to support their tool library as a non-profit, the group opted to start the tool Library as a social enterprise by developing a business plan that they could leverage for startup money. To date, this has won them multiple awards, and they continue to make a big impact on their community. 

Brent lives in Saint John with his wife Cassie and 3 children. He was also recently elected to serve as a city councillor in Saint John. 

Engaging Communities in the Right to Repair – Creating engaging and accessible Repair Cafés

Repair Café International brings people of different ages and backgrounds to come together for fixing things. Diversity promotes creativity and learning. In particular, youth volunteers play an important role in making the events accessible and appealing to the young generation. Wai Chu Cheng, co-founder of Repair Café Toronto, will talk about what Repair Café Toronto has been doing to attract youth volunteers.

The COVID pandemic made running Repair Cafés, which are large social in-person gatherings, difficult for many organizations around the world. Repair Café organizers got creative and managed to keep things going through outdoor events, virtual sessions, etc. Saba Saneinejad, co-founder of Repair Café Guelph, will talk about how they managed to keep Repair alive in the community during the pandemic and what they have learned from virtual events that can add benefit to the educational aspect of Repair Cafés in the future. 

About the speakers: 

A green community builder, social entrepreneur, and environmental educator, Wai Chu Cheng has been named by Canadian Living as one of its “10 Amazing Canadians Making the World a Cleaner, Greener Place”. Wai Chu has co-founded the longest-running Repair Café in Canada and has been mentoring other organizations to start their own Repair Café. As the Sustainability Coordinator at Sheridan College, Wai Chu’s work has been focusing on bringing about culture change toward sustainability and waste reduction across the college’s three campuses in the Greater Toronto Area. Wai Chu has established the Mission Zero volunteer team and Green Team who are helping to grow the repair movement within and beyond the campus community.

Saba Saneinejad co-founder of the Guelph Tool Library in 2016 and shortly after started Repair Café Guelph after getting inspired by the great work of Repair Café Toronto. Saba is passionate about sustainable living, sharing economy and community building. Since 2016, Repair Café Guelph has been the leader of the repair movement in Guelph and has diverted 5500 lbs of waste from the landfill. 

Anything is Possible and Everyone is Welcome – Building a Makerspace at Guelph Public Library

Public libraries are moving away from being places where you just consume content to places where you create it. The opportunity to have a creative experience is powerful and digital inclusion is key to a thriving community. Learn from the Guelph Public Library about their experience setting up a public maker space and what kind of changes they see coming for other public libraries across Canada.

Join Michelle Campbell, Manager of Public Service at Guelph Public Library, to hear about the new Makerspace at the Westminster Square Branch and the aims and scope of these public maker spaces in the future.

More about the speaker: Michelle Campbell is the Manager of Public Service at Guelph Public Library. She was previously the Branch Supervisor at the Westminster Square Branch Library where the Makerspace is located. Michelle also worked for many years at Upper Grand District School Board where she was leading the charge to transform school libraries into learning commons and maker spaces.

Collaborative Grant-Making for Not-For-Profits – Add To Your Toolkit

10C, a Guelph-based social enterprise, focuses on building platforms (physical, social and financial) for community members working for social change. Reflecting on a track record of successful project grants that are rooted in collaboration, 10C will overview its concept development and grant-writing processes.

You will leave with a template that can help structure your process, develop new project ideas, and create methods to collaborate with other organizations. 

Beyond Repair: A Virtual Conference will be held on Saturday, Sep 11th from 11 to 1 pm. Tickets are free, but pre-registration is required. Register on Eventbrite.

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GTL – Rebuilding Together – 2020 Membership Drive

Circle image with GTL Rebuilding Together wording

GTL Reuilding Together

A World Where Communities Find Joy In Sharing

In the last four years, the Guelph Tool Library has gone from a small, grassroots working group run by a few volunteers, to an incorporated not-for-profit with over 1000 tools, kits and appliances available for borrow. We have over 500 members, and we have processed almost 9,000 loans. The GTL has always strived to keep memberships and workshops affordably priced so that anyone in Guelph and the surrounding area are able to join without financial barriers.

In 2020, our organization saw a lot of challenges and changes, just like everyone else. We lost access to our space in Tytler Public school, we repaired and replaced some highly sought-after specialty tools and we’ve had some increased operating costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now as we regain our footing and adapt operations to suit ever-changing needs and safety standards, we’ll be increasing our membership rates to ensure we can continue to provide well-maintained tools and exceptional programming. Starting Monday, November 16th, the base price for membership through our website and in-person will increase to $60 for the year.


Lending is the new Spending

Through our Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign, we’re offering last-chance pricing for a limited time only. Memberships will be available starting at just $40, and we’ve also got a variety of packages and sponsorship options available, like “The Bee’s Knees”, which includes membership and a set of handmade beeswax wraps. Or, the “stylish supporter” includes membership and a GTL t-shirt. If you’d like to help subsidize membership for someone in the community, check out our “Lend a Wing” option, which provides membership for you, and a second membership is gifted to an individual in our community facing financial barriers. For those looking to offer more financial support, check out options like “Make The Call” in support of our cell phone recycling program, “Work It Out”, which supports our workshop series, and “The Big Ticket”, which allows us to purchase high-end specialty tools.

Please shareGot a moment to spare? Please share!

Visit our Indiegogo page to check out the details for each pricing tier. This campaign runs until Sunday, December 13th, and quantities for each tier are limited, so don’t delay! Be sure to share this campaign with your family and friends! Be sure to follow us on social media for campaign updates, workshop announcements, and more!


Twitter: @gtoollibrary

Instagram: @gtoollibrary

Facebook: Guelph Tool Library

YouTube: Guelph Tool Library

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Special Libraries Exhibition @ UofT


I had the opportunity to showcase the Guelph Tool Library at my practicum student exhibition last week. The event also took place at the University of Toronto iSchool alongside the Special Libraries Canada conference also happening at that day. I spoke to dozens of people about the challenges and solutions we’d encountered in providing this service in Guelph, and got some amazing ideas about how to take things to the next level in the New Year.

Here is a link to the digital version of my poster presentation for those in library land who might be interested in reading it. This is the very same PDF that went out to about two dozen library professionals at the exhibition who signed up to receive it!

Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

–Brandon, Librarian @ Guelph Tool Library

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August 20, 2016 Repair Cafe

A man repairs a item

The first Guelph Repair Cafe was held on August 20th, 2016 at St James the Apostle church from 9 to 1. Volunteers helped fix broken and damaged clothes, jewelery, bikes, electrical appliances, wooden items, etc.

Article about this event on Guelph Today.

The Cafe also featured a Swap Table where participants brought items in good working order that they no longer needed and swaped them for something of equivalent value.

People also had the opportunity to learn more about the Guelph Tool Library which is currently accepting donations of gently used kitchen appliances, gardening tools, arts and crafts tool and hand tools.

Do you like fixing stuff? To volunteer for the next Repair Cafe email