Why buy when you can borrow for free from the Library of Things

Residents can now borrow useful items like drills, carpet cleaners and sound systems, for free, from the Library of Things. The scheme is a community-powered social enterprise that helps people save money and reduce waste. It also encourages people to share practical DIY skills with others in the community.

Reserve items online and collect from Brighton

Borrowing from the Library of Things is free during the pilot period – up until March 2023 - thanks to support from the council, local electricals reuse champions Tech-Takeback, and the Interreg funded BLUEPRINT project.

Residents can reserve items online ready to collect from the refurbished electricals shop Revaluit at 12 Pavilion Buildings, Castle Square, Brighton, BN11EE. Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday between 10am- 5pm.

The usual hire prices for each item are shown and the free discount is added at the checkout stage. A £1 fee is required only once for verification during reservation and is refunded in cash when the borrower collects their item.

A growing social enterprise

Library of Things was founded in 2016 by Emma Shaw, Rebecca Trevalyan and Sophia Wyatt. Inspired by similar projects in Berlin and Toronto, the women-led social enterprise launched its first self-service kiosk in Crystal Palace in 2018, and now has eleven locations across London.

The Brighton & Hove Library of Things is the first venture outside London and is paving the way for more locations nationally. Over 5,000 people have now borrowed items across all locations over 10,000 times, saving approximately 40 tonnes of waste from landfill and 88 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Circular economy in action

Councillor Pete West, chair of the Circular Economy Members Working Group, says: “By building partnerships with product manufacturers, councils and community groups, Library of Things has created a perfect example of circular economy in action.

“There are obvious environmental benefits but in the context of the current cost of living crisis, borrowing can also be a cost-effective way of accessing high priced items.

“The scheme is a really positive step towards neighbourhoods becoming low-waste, community-powered hubs”.

Borrowing saves money and space

Emma Shaw, co-founder of Library of Things, said: “We’ve already had lots of interest in Library of Things from Brighton & Hove residents and organisations – so we’re excited that they’ll be able to borrow quality items like Bosch drills, Kärcher carpet cleaners and STIHL hedge trimmers. This is an important step for Library of Things, as we expand our work to create a community-led circular economy in neighbourhoods outside London.”

Lucy, a borrower from Brighton, said: “Borrowing makes sense to me, because I’m only going to use these things occasionally.  If other people can use the same tool after me, that’s so much better for the planet. Also, I don’t have the space or desire to store more stuff!”

Supporting the environment and changing behaviour

A survey by Library of Things found that 58% of their members said their motivation for borrowing was to help the environment, while 60% say they're more likely to reuse, repair and recycle having borrowed.

More information about the Library of Things

The BLUEPRINT to a Circular Economy Project has a total budget of 5.6m euros, 3.8m of which were provided by the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England programme.

A logo showing the Interreg and Blueprint logos alongside the EU flag.

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