With the PNA Tool Library currently celebrating its 35th anniversary, we’re always a little surprised when some people still stare at us quizzically and ask “what the heck is a tool library?” In many ways, our little program has been a bit of a neighborhood secret all these years, highlighted occasionally by the Seattle press but more frequently just going quietly about its business, supplying neighbors with the tools and education they need to take on projects, explore new skills, and save a couple dollars in the process.
Much to our surprise, though, those humble years of reliable community service have recently helped to inspire a whole new wave a tool libraries throughout our city, our region, and even the entire country. In fact, Seattle now has tool libraries in West Seattle and Northeast Seattle, with projects starting up in Ballard, Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill, and through a couple farm coops as well. Where once the PNA Tool Library stood alone, it now seems poised to become an exciting part of a burgeoning tool library network.
An initial celebration of this network is currently on show as part of the Buster Simpson exhibit at the Frye Art Gallery through October 13th. Through a simple cubby display filled with tools, we’re hoping that the opportunities produced by tool libraries everywhere will continue to inspire and empower neighbors from all communities to come together, share their resources, learn from one another…and hopefully stop asking us ”what the heck is a tool library?”