Need to Weatherize Your Home or Business? Borrow a few tools at the West Philly Tool Library

Started in 2007, the West Philadelphia Tool Library is a member-based library that loans tools for home and yard maintenance, projects, and skill development. With only a few members initially and limited hours, the library has expanded to about 1,000 members and is now open five days per week.

Friday, September 2 marked the grand opening of the new location at 1314 South 47th Street. With more space at this new location, the tool library hopes to gradually increase its member base as well as invest in some new tools.

With over 2,500 tools in stock, the library boasts a wide selection of items, from paint brushes to larger items such as lawn mowers, saws, and sanders. Popular items to prepare homes for the winter include ladders, snow shovels, and vacuums. 

Staffed by two tool librarians, the library is a source for both beginner fixer-uppers and the seasoned weekend warrior.  Mimi, one of the tool librarians, says that on an average night, about 20 to 30 people come in “from beginners to people wanting to totally renovate their house.” The best thing about being a tool librarian—“meeting people that live and work around this community, as well as seeing what they are doing and building.”

About one-third of the funding for the tool library comes from annual membership dues. The balance comes from community organizations, including SCI-West. Membership is calculated on a sliding scale, depending on the income of the potential member or budget for the organization. The individual membership fees range from $20 to $50 per year and organization fee is between $50 to 200 per year. Public schools may also become members for $25 per year.

Despite the already wide selection, the library is always looking for new tools. They take donation tools and there is a committee that is in charge of seeking out tools that are placed on the tool wish list.

Located at 1314 South 47th Street, the library is open Monday through Thursday from 6:30-8:30pm and Saturday s from 9-3. For more information about the library, click here ( or call 215.833.3190.





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