A new community library in Auckland is letting members access tools to complete their DIY visions.

It's a not-for-profit project allowing people to join up and borrow tools from a shared library. The aim is to reduce consumption and improve access to DIY resources.

In the library - which sits in the corner of a workshop run by shared maker-space Hackland in Kingsland - you'll find an array of spades, a portable barbecue and a pair of crutches.

Several shelves boast a line-up of drills and saws while another is home to a sprawl of screwdrivers and hammers.

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When Trudy Dickinson, 62, wanted to chop up the pile of timber left after her old deck was demolished, she started looking at where she could rent a mitre saw.

Dickinson is no DIY expert, but with the right tools she thought it would be "easy peasy".

She looked into renting from a hire company, but only found "giant man-sized" tools that wouldn't fit into the boot of her car.

Then she heard of the Auckland Library of Tools.

"I've always thought this sort of thing is a good idea," Dickinson said.

"So I went along to meet them, paid my annual sub and borrowed a dropsaw to chop up a deck I'd had replaced."

The saw, which had been donated to the library, was a "nice domestic one" which got the job done - and fit in her car.

"I took it on a Thursday and hadn't quite finished by the next Thursday … so just like a library book I renewed my rental and kept it for a few more days."

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It was satisfying, Dickinson said, to take on the job herself.

Amanda Chapman and Tom Greer have gathered most of the library's tools through donations. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Amanda Chapman and Tom Greer have gathered most of the library's tools through donations. Photo / Jason Oxenham

She already had a fair idea as to how the saw worked, but was happy to have a good lesson from the team running the library.

"I felt quite confident by the time I got home, that I knew what I was doing."

The library was set up by Auckland couple Tom Greer and Amanda Chapman, who met while studying at university.


Greer said he wasn't hugely into tools himself, and his experience with DIY had never been urgent enough to justify buying his own equipment.

Amanda wanted to build a tiny house, but didn't have any tools of her own.

"That's kind of the motivation - just the idea that people need more access to tools and they can be quite expensive, and it's quite wasteful to go and buy a whole bunch," Greer said.

"There's an efficiency to organised sharing."

The initiative received a funding grant from Waitematā Local Board upon its launch.

Most of the tools in their inventory were donations. The rest were paid for with funds from the first membership fees - as was their rent.

Greer and Chapman planned on crowdfunding to raise money to expand.

The library has about 20 paying members and the pair hope this will one day grow to between 500 and 1000.

Greer said many of their members seemed to be taking on more DIY projects now that they have access to more tools.

The pair also provided some training, talking members through using equipment such as a chainsaw if they hadn't used one before.

Veteran site foreman and builder Peter Wolfkamp said while he loved the idea, he had some concerns around safety.

"I think it's enormously worthwhile, and I wholeheartedly support it," Wolfkamp said.

"But at the same time, I put my other hat on - which is making sure people don't get serious injuries, because construction can cause a lot of those.

"Who's doing those checks, what's their qualification, how do you know that the equipment is safe and how do you know it's being given to people who will treat it responsibly?

Wolfkamp said issues could crop up if someone damaged a piece of equipment and didn't fix it before it was returned.

The Auckland Library of Tools: How it works

• A quarterly membership costs $40.
• A year-long membership costs $80.
• Members can borrow up to 10 tools for 7 days at a time.
• The library offers subsidised rates for students and community service card holders.
• It has a range of tools and equipment for construction, gardening, woodwork and textiles.
• The shared workshop space the library sits within - Hackland - can provide working space for an additional fee.
• The library is seeking donations, volunteers and welcoming new members.