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Right to Repair

Woman with FIXED sign

The Guelph Tool Library is lobbying for a new federal bill (Bill C-272) that would allow owners of technology the Right to Repair.  They are also rallying other Canadian Tool Libraries and Repair Cafes to lobby their MPs to support the bill as well.

The Guelph Tool Library is showing its support for Federal Bill C-272, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance or repair).  John Dennis, the Chair of the Board for the Guelph Tool, says that “we have spoken a number of times with Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield and his office staff about this issue.  MP Longfield has even volunteered as a Fixer at our Repairs Cafes so knows the importance of being able to repair consumer items and the impact that it can have on individuals”.

At issue is the concept of ownership and what rights consumers have over the products they buy.  Increasingly, manufacturers have made it difficult to repair broken items.  Even simple repairs such as battery replacement are limited by the availability of parts or by manufacturers putting prohibitions on who gets to repair the items.  It affects many consumer products including game consoles, farm equipment, cellphones, appliances, automobiles, and computers. 

The Right to Repair movement helps every consumer by eliminating the cost of replacing an item.  The Right to Repair movement also creates local jobs.  There are millions of devices manufactured daily and if the Right to Repair legislation passes, there will be opportunities for more repair jobs created.  Finally, we’re surpassing 50 million metric tons of e-waste globally this year.  Repairing electronics gets them back into the hands of people who can use them—and keeps them out of landfills.  

The Guelph Tool Library not only advocates for this bill locally but has reached out to over 30 other Tool Libraries and Repair Cafes across Canada.  The goal is to have these organizations speak to their local MPs and start a grassroots movement to support the passing of Bill C-272. This will culminate with an online forum later this summer for all Tool Libraries and Repair Cafes across Canada to come together and talk about the importance of repairing. 

A previous effort, Ontario MPP Michael Coteau’s Right to Repair Bill, was voted down in the provincial legislature in May 2019. It was the first time this type of legislation was introduced in Canada. Similar legislation has been passed in Europe and several US States but often it is a battle as manufactures will lobby against its introduction.  

John Dennis, commented that “The Guelph Tool Library and the Repair Cafe Guelph are proud to be part of the movement to protect repair rights and the definition of ownership in the 21st century.  We are encouraging other like-minded organizations across Canada to support this effort.”

##  Background Information ##

The Guelph Tool Library and the Repair Cafe Guelph were established in 2016.  

The Guelph Tool Library has run Repair Cafes since August of 2016 and has been a leader for repairs in Guelph.  With the help of a group of approximately 20 volunteers, 70-80% of the items brought in get fixed. To date, 5500 lbs of waste or the volume of about 4 dump trucks have been diverted from landfill. 

For more information on the Guelph Tool Library and the right to repair, please email Michaela Rye at

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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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V. Adam Kasper, Reconciliation, and the Russian Mafia

An illustrated crow and nest with lime background

(listen here)

Hi! Welcome!

If you’re reading this, thanks for poppin’ by. It’s been a few weeks since I released an episode. I’m still figuring out the ropes here, pretty much every aspect of this podcast is new to me, and I can be a slow learner. Thank you for your patience.

A lot has happened since our last episode. George Floyd was murdered by police, and every day since then, cities in the United States and all over the world have been holding protests in his name. Shortly before this episode was recorded (on June 10th) my own city of Guelph held a solidarity march for Black Lives Matter. Unfortunately, I don’t see my city engaging openly in the process of reconciliation. Though we’ve made our desires known, called for defunding at a local level, for officers on the force with strikes on their records to step down, for our city to host an open town hall so we can speak formally on our beliefs. None of those things have happened yet.

I know this podcast is listened to mostly at a local level. We don’t talk about what’s going on in Guelph, but my hope is that my Guelph listeners will listen to this and be maybe a little inspired to become more involved in reconciliation, education and sustainability on a local, national and international scale. No matter how light or heavy the weight, it’s easier to lift with more hands.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with the Russian mafia, please listen in.

Like always, the views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the values of the Guelph Tool Library.

Donate to your local BLACKLIVESMATTER chapter, or organization supporting black Canadians

The Rainforest Alliance

The International Ecotourism Society

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Image scaled

When COVID-19 hit in early March, the Guelph Tool Library understood that our entire model of community support was, essentially, for the birds. Operating out of a school board-owned location, we had less than a week to prepare for our enforced closure. With no street entrance and with schools remaining closed into the fall, when we can resume our old ways, if ever, is open to interpretation. As with everything, COVID-19 has made us feel uncomfortable and anxious for what the future holds. But, if you had thought that this (admittedly large) road block would stop the GTL from spreading its mission of sharing, growing, and supporting, you would be mistaken.

We knew things were going to be uncertain and ever changing, and that whatever we did would need to start quickly and be adaptable. As guidelines on physical distancing and safety protocols evolved by the hour, we tried to evolve with it. With about two days’ notice from when closures were announced to when they went into effect, we took to the internet. Instead of finding us on the top floor of Tytler Public School, you can now find us hosting workshops, seminars, and podcasts almost every night of the week. On Mondays, Workshop Coordinator Steph Clarke hosts community craft nights over Zoom. From 6-9pm, drop in to ask sewing or crafting questions, get inspiration, or just socialize with those outside your approved dwelling of under 5 people! On Wednesdays, head to the Backyard Caring project’s Instagram to see Meredith Sweeney, BYC Coordinator, give instructions on the best methods for backyard gardening. On Thursday nights, Steph returns to chat with volunteer fixers over Instagram live on maintenance and repair of household items like cast irons, zippers, sewing machines, and drywall. On Fridays, our new podcast, The Crow’s Nest comes out.

Thirza Logo2 01
The Crow’s Nest. GTL’s new podcast series with host Thirza Armstrong. Image credit: Beth Bray

The Crow’s Nest is the GTL’s answer to the enforced shift in our expression of community. The days of running into someone with a story to tell are on hold. We can no longer strike up a conversation with a stranger in a coffee shop about an overheard shared interest. There’s no chance of insight into the lives of our neighbours, no opportunity to lend support. We understand that a vital sphere of interaction may be missing from the lives of most people who are stuck at home. Our goal is to make reconnecting with that missing piece as easy as possible.

Outside of connection and entertainment, the goal of the podcast is to act as a database of stories, memories, experiences, and ideas. Thirza Armstrong, host and GTL Operations Coordinator, talks with guests about Coronavirus, their personal lives and projects, the issues affecting the community right now and what we can do to help, local history, and more. The current overarching theme is COVID-19 and its effects on people’s lives and industries, as well as the positive interactions and community rallying that has come out during the pandemic.

The Crow’s Nest, along with all of the GTL’s online programming, is designed to help bridge this gap in community interaction in whatever way is needed. We’re here to be here for you, so don’t be a stranger! Check out our social media to find out more, or get involved.

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Guelph Tool Library Goes Virtual

The Guelph Tool Library is helping the community stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic with new virtual programming.

“Our whole mission is surrounded in a world where people receive joy in sharing. But without being able to share physically, we still want to be able to maintain that connection. It’s so important right now,” says Stephanie Clarke, sustainability coordinator at the Guelph Tool Library.

“Lending is the new spending” at the Guelph Tool Library and in normal circumstances, members borrow from a full inventory of tools including those used in food preparation and preservation, gardening, renovations and arts.

The non-profit organization seeks to build community resilience by sharing knowledge, skills and resources with various projects including repair cafes, workshops and training sessions.

Since closing its doors at Tytler Public School in March due to the pandemic, Clarke was determined to have the tool library continue with sharing and teaching hands-on programs, virtually.

The new on-line programming includes a virtual craft night, on-line backyard caring workshops, question and answer sessions with repair café volunteers and on-line contests.

“This was so important to me personally. I felt so lost at the beginning of all of this because so much of my life is about planning programs for the tool library,” Clarke said.

“I looked at other online programs and I thought that this is something that we just had to do to stay connected to everyone.”

On a typical Monday night, the Guelph Tool Library used to offer a craft night, drop-in sewing or another type of hands-on skillshare.

Now, the program is virtual with a version of craft night taking place every Monday over Zoom. (link is on Facebook)

“When we have our physical space, our craft nights give members and non-members an opportunity to use our tools and a creative space to work in,” Clarke said.

“So, we thought why not invite people to gather whatever tools and supplies they have at home and they can then share what they’ve made. The projects, so far, have been drastically different and we hope others can be inspired when they see them.”

Participants are encouraged to share project advice and provide demonstrations. Some have already shared their skills in basket weaving, mosaic art and sock darning.

The Backyard Caring Program Workshop Series would usually be held Wednesday nights and it has now been moved to Instagram Live which includes a demonstration and a question and answer period afterwards.

The one-hour on-line program includes topics such as starting seedlings, building your own composter and designing an outdoor garden space. The workshops are hosted by @backyardcaring on Instagram Live at 7 pm every Wednesday.

Backyard Caring Coordinator, Meredith Sweeney hopes to build a local community of gardeners who can access customized gardening information.

“I’ve also been joining Meredith and she has been helping me with starting seeds, composting and plotting out my own yard. She will also be providing tours of her own garden during the workshops,” Clarke says.

Also, with the cancellations of two scheduled repair cafes, volunteer fixers have offered their expertise in a weekly livestream program every Thursday at 7 p.m. on Instagram Live.

The program is hosted by @gtoollibrary and has already covered clothing repairs, knife and tool sharpening, and bicycle maintenance.

Viewers are invited to ask questions live or in advance and have them answered during the program.

“Our fixers show their talents and offer advice on how to fix with minimal tools. For example, if you don’t have a bike repair kit, they will share what you can use instead, right from your own toolbox at home,” Clarke said.

“So far, the response has been really great. We keep the livestreams up for 24 hours afterwards and we also take questions after the program as well.”

Clothing repair volunteers have also been busy making caps and gowns for medical workers during the pandemic.

“We’ve made over 1,000 scrub caps for Guelph General Hospital and now we are making them for paramedics and for workers in care homes,” Clarke said.

Masks are also being made for patients, the general public and for vulnerable populations including those who are homeless.

Since going virtual, The Guelph Tool Library has also featured games and contests such as “guess that tool” on its social media accounts.

“We hope to continue our programming on-line and even build upon them. We want to encourage people to see what they can do with limited supplies,” Clarke says.

“We are all sharing in this complicated struggle right now and it’s so important that we stay connected.”

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Guelph Tool Library to Temporarily Close

Guelph Tool Library to temporarily close amid COVID-19 Concerns

for a minimum period of three weeks, amid current COVID-19 concerns. As the GTL operates on Upper Grand District School Board property, the facility is subject to the same rules and regulations regarding closures as all publicly funded schools in Ontario.

Effective Friday, March 13th at 6 pm, the Guelph Tool Library will undergo a temporary closure that is expected to extend until Monday, April 6th. Items that are currently signed out can be returned on Friday, March 13th during regular operating hours. Late fees will not accrue during this temporary closure, but will be reinstated when the Guelph Tool Library reopens.

Outgoing loans can be processed on March 13th, and will not be subject to late fees until the Guelph Tool Library reopens upon approval from the Upper Grand District Schoolboard. GTL staff will continue to monitor the situation and will update their members as new information regarding the closure becomes available. All on-site programs at the Guelph Tool Library are currently postponed. Ticket holders for any upcoming workshops will be refunded or given the option to put their current ticket towards a future event. Our appearance at the eMerge Guelph Eco Market will be rescheduled.


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Spring Cleaning

Spring is just around the corner, and that gets many of us thinking about Spring Cleaning. For some individuals, this means a deep clean of the whole house, inside and out. For others, it’s as simple as packing away the bulky boots and coats, and swapping them for sun hats and shorts. Most of us are somewhere in the middle when it comes to getting our living spaces ready for spring. There’s one thing that inevitably comes along with a spring clean, and that’s our excess clutter getting an eviction notice. Often, our undesirable stuff gets sent to the bin, but a good chunk of that trash might be treasure to another person, organization, or alternative recycling facility. 


If you’re looking to get started on a de-cluttering journey, the thing you’ll need most of is time! Set aside a weekend that you (and anyone else who lives with you) can go through your home, room-by-room. 

Begin by separating items in to 4 main sections (Re-home, Discard, Repair, and Keep), and use the guide below to ask yourself some questions about each item. 

Re-Home: You might not wear that mink coat anymore, but an orphaned animal living in a humane society or rehab facility may find cozy comfort in that forgotten furry fashion. When an item has lost its frequency of use or value to you, that doesn’t mean it’s useless! If you attended Re:Purposefest last year, you know that there are dozens of local organizations that can reuse the household items you may no longer find value in. Our Re:Purposefest event will be coming up again this summer, so you may want to hold on to some of that clutter a little longer if you have somewhere to store it. Keep an eye on our website and social media for more updates about Re:Purposefest 2020. 


If you’re not in the position to hold on to your unwanted goods, there are plenty of organizations who can take your items year-round. 

  • The Guelph Tool Library – Our library thrives off of donations of unwanted household items. Over 95% of our 900+ tool and appliance inventory has been donated. Do you have an unwanted (but working) tool or appliance? We would love to have it and share it with our members. 
  • Palz Trading Zone – The barter system is alive and well on this cashless trading platform. If your closet cleanout leaves you lacking in items you need, with a surplus of items you’d like to unload, try trading them with others! Groups are geared to specific cities or areas, and some groups host meetups and community events.
  • Craft SuppliesThe Creation Station is a local initiative for exploring art.  We are collecting arts and crafts materials. 
  • Sheets and Towels – GENTLY USED – Fleece blankets, towels, flat sheets, knitted blankets, baby blankets can be donated to the Guelph Humane Society.  
  • Clothing and Housewares – There are several local thrift stores, consignment shops, and community clothing closets that are willing to take your items that are clean, intact, and in good condition. If your items are not usable or wearable, check out some of the resources below to find the best place to dispose of or recycle your goods. 


Discard – Discarding an item isn’t limited to landfill. Many items can be recycled or reused through alternative programs, and there are a number of collection spots locally or within a reasonable distance. 

  • Guelph Tool Library – We also collect additional items for recycling or reuse:
        • Cell Phones – The GTL collects cell phones for the Toronto Zoo Phone Apes program 
        • Eye Glasses – If you have spare pairs of eyeglasses, we collect them on behalf of the Lions Club of Guelph
        • Batteries – We collect dead batteries on behalf of The City of Guelph, or they can be brought to the Waste Resource Innovation Centre.
  • Markers and Pens – Through in-store collection at over 300 locations across Canada, Staples Canada and Terracycle have successfully diverted over 2 million writing instruments from ending up in landfills.
  • Terracycle –  There are a variety of items that Terracycle accepts through a combination of free and paid recycling programs. Check out their website to see all of their programs
  • Mascara and Makeup WandsProject Wild Wands Canada collects old mascara and makeup wands and sends them to wildlife rehabilitation centres across Canada. 
  • CrayonsCrazy Crayons takes unwanted, rejected, broken crayons to a better place, where they will be recycled into new crayons! 
  • City of Guelph – The Waste Resource Innovation Centre has programs for recycling paint, bicycles, electronic waste, and so much more. The Waste Wizard is also a great resource for helping us determine which bin our waste goes in. 


Repair – For those items you’re not ready to let go of, or you’d like to donate/trade once they are in working condition, repairing is a great way to avoid excess waste. 

  • Repair Cafe – Repair Cafe events are part of an international movement. The Guelph Tool Library hosts Repair Cafes 6 times per year in locations throughout Guelph. Our next event is a mini Repair Cafe, coming up Monday, March 16th at Royal City Brewery from 6 to 8 pm. 
  • Take a Class or Workshop – The Guelph Tool Library offers ongoing workshops in clothing repair, cell phone repair, knife sharpening, and more. Keep an eye on our Calendar of Events to stay in the loop. 
  • Teach Yourself – The Internet is home to limitless resources for repair, including blog posts, sites like Instructables, and for more visual learners, YouTube videos can help you learn everything from electronics repair, to how to darn socks

Keep – When deciding what to keep in a declutter, there are many questions you need to ask yourself. Some methods, like KonMari, tap in to the psychology of clutter, and why we keep the things that we do. 

A few basic things to ask yourself:

Is this item frequently used? Decluttering isn’t necessarily the time to replace your frequently used, functional items. However, it is a great time to take stock of what you have, and to see the last time you used it. Decluttering experts suggest hanging up your clothes with the hanger hook facing all one way. When you take out an item and hang it back up after you wear it, flip the direction of the hanger hook. That way, when you are doing a seasonal declutter, you can see what items you have worn, and what items you have ignored. It is then easier to assess which things you can get rid of. Similar methods could be used for books, kitchen gadgets, and tools. Once you are aware of which items you use, you can decide what things you’d like to keep. It helps to get family members or roommates involved in a declutter as well, as you may not know the significance of each item, or how often it is used. 

Does it have a space in my place? If you are finding a number of items that don’t have a ‘home’, look in to storage solutions that suit your needs, or consider if the item is worth keeping, based on usage level, replacement value, and size. 

What is the replacement value? If it is an item you haven’t used in a long time, but you think you would use again, consider what it would cost to replace the item, or how difficult it would be to find again. Value can also apply to factors that aren’t monetary, such as sentimental or historical value. Try to limit these items when possible, or find the appropriate storage or display to honour and appreciate these special pieces in your collection. 

As you’re working on your spring clean, remember that the Guelph Tool Library carries a number of items to help you stay on track, such as an electronics repair kit, a number of sewing machines, several vacuums and shop-vacs, and even a window washing kit.

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Where do you get your tools?









One of the first questions that I am asked about the Guelph Tool Library (GTL) is “what tools do you have?”.  That is usually followed up by “where do they come from?”. 

The first question is easy to answer, “more than you might expect!”.  We have over 800 items in inventory and about 300 more smaller accessories.  We have everything from table saws and rototillers to kitchen appliances and craft items.  Smaller accessories such as individual drill bits and saw blades usually don’t make it into the inventory system.  The best way to find out what we have is to go to our MyTurn site or just come in and look around.

The second question is a bit more complicated but speaks to how we operate the Guelph Tool Library.  One of our goals is to keep items out of the landfill, so most of our items are secondhand and have been donated.  We average one or two donations a week which could be anything from a single item to a car load of tools. We estimate that about 90% of our inventory is donated. 

The source of donations is almost as varied as the types of donations.  We have people donate tools that they used for a special project and now no longer need.  After all, you can only tile your bathroom so many times! Also, we receive items from people that are moving away or downsizing to a smaller residence.  Large donations often come from estates with families and friends pleased to know that a loved ones tools are going to be used and cherished. We do pick ups and some of our most popular items have come from estate donations.

When a donation arrives at the GTL a few things happen with it.  Each donation is examined for defects, tested, and if we decide to loan it out, put into inventory.  Not everything that comes to us goes into inventory. We have a list of items that we want and items that we don’t accept posted on our website and social media.

Also, before putting something into our inventory we consider if the item is portable, will it stand up to lots of use, and if it is in safe condition.  We do a lot of replacement of power cords which often come to us damaged and taped up. One of our biggest challenges is maintaining older tools as parts are often no longer available.  Most of this work is done on Thursday nights which is our fixing night.

The balance of the donations are purchased.  We spend about $2000 a year on new tools which are purchased locally if possible.  The money comes from memberships, grants, and special campaigns. Some of the items that have been purchased include our button maker, cider press, and Cricut printer.

We also use the feedback that we get from our members to decide what we will purchase.  If someone asks us about a tool we don’t have, we will consider purchasing it. We recently purchased an Oscillating Multi Tool after such a request.  

Finally, the management of our tools would not be possible without our wonderful volunteers.  They are the ones collecting, fixing, and putting our items into the inventory system. To get an item from a “donation” to be “ready to loan” usually takes about 30 minutes.  If you are interested in helping us out please consider sending us an email at or dropping by to talk with a librarian.

John Dennis, Tool Fixer and GTL Coordinator  (Jan 6, 2020)

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Guelph Zero Waste Festival

On Saturday, August 10th, community members are invited to gather to celebrate sustainable living at Guelph’s first Zero Waste Festival.  

The Guelph Tool Library will present the festival as part of their Ontario Trillium Foundation Seed Grant. The organization was awarded the grant in the fall of 2018, and will continue to offer their Sustainability Series workshops throughout the until the end of August. So far, their workshops have included clothing repair, furniture refinishing, basic carpentry, and more – all with a focus on reducing personal waste and consumption.

The Zero Waste Festival will offer a a vendor fair with products for creating a low-waste home and lifestyle. There will be a mini Repair Cafe event, with the opportunity to have bikes, clothing, and small appliances or electronics fixed by a team of volunteers. This portion of the event will be free to attend, but pre registration is recommended, and donations are welcome.

As this event is designed to make us converse about our waste and consumption habits, we are asking all participants to use active transportation, public transit, or carpool wherever possible. There will be free vehicle and bike parking, and a bike tune-up station provided by the Repair Cafe and CSA Bike Centre. The Victoria Road Rec Centre is conveniently located on the #13, #17, and #18 bus routes and is a fully accessible building with ramps, accessible washrooms, elevators and automatic doors.

Food will be available for purchase at the festival, and reusable plates and cutlery provided by Hillside Festival will allow for minimal environmental impact. Attendees are encouraged to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the ample seating indoors and out. The outdoor space offers a newly updated natural playscape for children. Bottled water will not be sold by any food vendors at the festival, but the Water Wagon will be on site – bring a cup or bottle fo

The event will feature a series of workshops and speakers, with pay-what-you-can pricing (suggested $5-$15 per event). Alternatively, a Festival Pass is available for $25-$35, and includes access to two or more workshops and events. Some of the workshops on offer include upcycled rag-rug making, sashiko mending, and furniture refinishing. The full lineup will be released on June 14th, but keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for sneak previews.

For those looking to continue the sustainability discussion after the event, the official Afterparty is being hosted at Royal City Brewing Company from 6 pm to 9 pm.

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The Crow is Leaving the Nest


Guelph Tool Library is becoming an Incorporated Not-For-Profit Organization

The Guelph Tool Library is pleased to announce that it is becoming an incorporated not-for-profit organization commencing Thursday August 1, 2019.  The project began in August 2016 and has expanded to a full service tool library with over 375 members, 700 plus tools and appliances in inventory, and nearly 4000 loans completed.

The Guelph Tool Library began as a project of Transition Guelph and started from a need identified through the work of Susan Carey and Transition Guelph’s Urban Food Working Group.  Carey found that with these projects, she was helping people to grow and harvest food but that many of the tools and appliances were out of reach for new gardeners or those with limited resources.  She says that the idea “ was to provide a community resource that was easily accessible, had a good selection of appliances and tools, and affordable.”

Carey founded the Guelph Tool Library with John Dennis and Saba Saneinejad.  The project began modestly and grew through the support of our members, volunteers, and the community.  Grants and support from our partners, the City of Guelph, the Province, and the Federal Government have allowed the Guelph Tool Library to grow. The Guelph Tool Library is now open five days a week and averaging over 100 loans per week.  Dennis says that “we knew we were onto something as everyone we told about the Guelph Tool Library thought it was a great idea and had ideas on what we should acquire for our inventory.”

Critical to the growth of the Guelph Tool Library has been the bi-monthly Repair Café Guelph organized by Saba Saneinejad.  Saneinejad brought the idea of the Repair Café from Toronto and ran the first Repair Café in August 2016. She says “I loved the idea of fixing and repairing broken and damaged items that would normally just be thrown away.  There are many talented people in Guelph who we have been fortunate to have as volunteers at the Repair Cafés. In addition to fixing the items visitors bring, they teach them basic repairing skills. Repair Cafés are fun days involving fixing things, building a community and protecting our environment. ”  Since the beginning, the Repair Café Guelph has served over 1000 people and diverted over 3000 kilograms of waste from the landfill.

Focusing on the idea of repairing, repurposing, and waste reduction has become the central theme of the Guelph Tool Library.  Led by Zero Waste Coordinator, Stephanie Clarke, the Guelph Tool Library has been running a series of classes focusing on zero waste.  Supported through an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant, the programming will culminate with a Zero Waste Festival on Saturday August 10 at the Victoria Road Recreation Centre.  Clarke says “since September, we have been running a workshop series that allows participants to cut down on waste and creatively reuse everyday items, all while learning about how waste is processed in our city and beyond. Our programming provides the community a chance to actively participate in the recycling and reusing process, and demonstrate the importance of careful consumerism.”

The Guelph Seed Library which is housed at the Guelph Tool Library will be part of the new organization.  Started by Lisa Conroy in 2018, the Guelph Seed Library is a collection of mostly locally grown seeds where anyone can “borrow” seeds for free. The goal being to grow the plants and return a similar quantity or more to give back to the seed library for the next year.  Conroy says “the Seed Library is grateful for the support Transition Guelph gave us to start up and is looking forward to our ongoing partnership with the Guelph Tool Library.”

The Guelph Tool Library’s move away from Transition Guelph will allow it to continue to run new and innovative programming while working towards gaining  charitable status. Guelph Tool Library Coordinator Emily Duncan says that “Transition Guelph was critical for us as we started but we have reached a point where we need to take the next steps on our own.  It will allow us to respond quicker to our members and decide the direction of the organization. We are excited about the possibilities that this presents and we look forward to continuing to serve Guelph through our programming”.