[permaculture] the evolution of lending libraries

Jason Gerhardt jasongerhardt at gmail.com
Fri Dec 3 15:43:26 EST 2010

In Boulder, CO the Center for Resource Conservation is opening a tool
library in a few days.  Here is the web link:

There is also a new movement to establish seed lending libraries.  Bill
McDorman of Seeds Trust is promoting this concept.  Richmond, CA has one up
and running.  The idea is that people can borrow seeds from the library, but
have to return a greater amount (by saving the seed).  This way the library
grows its seed bank and seeds are adapted to the local climate.  This of
course requires a lot of education for those who borrow to be able to save
high quality and relatively pure seed.  A woman in Lyons, CO is developing a
model for there and Boulder.

The one observation I have made of lending libraries is that big centralized
libraries are bound to inspire a lot of people, but when you really get down
to it, it makes more sense to have lending libraries in the neighborhoods
where they will be used most.  Many small community tool sheds for example
are far more accessible than traveling across town to borrow a chainsaw when
you only need it for 15 minutes.  All this means is that the big lending
libraries will serve a huge purpose in spreading the word and lending the
idea, but ideally to create many smaller ones.  Neighbors can often pool
their tools together and keep them in one shed so all have access to them
when they would otherwise just sit unused in individual garages.

I agree that lending libraries are a crucial piece of a reslient culture.
 They just make sense.  In addition it builds a greater sense of community.


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