West Seattle Tool Library wins Sustainable Seattle award

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)
It’s been almost two years since our first report that Sustainable West Seattle was starting a tool library. It’s been going strong for a year and a half now, drawing users, generating buzz (Popular Mechanics!), and tonight, winning a big award. Sustainable Seattle, celebrating its annual fundraising gala and awards dinner at the Duwamish Longhouse, honored the West Seattle Tool Library for Sustainability in Innovation in a Social Environment. Accepting the award were (from left) Micah Summers and Patrick Dunn. Haven’t been to the tool library ever – or, lately? It’s open Thursday nights, so you can drop by tomorrow, 6-9 pm (it’ll be another session of Ask the Expert, too, till 8). It’s on the northeast side of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW.

P.S. Here’s who else was nominated for the Sustainable Seattle awards.

THURSDAY P.P.S. Click ahead for full list of winners, just received:

Social Environment

Leader in Sustainability: Community Kitchens NW

Innovator in Sustainability: West Seattle Tool Library

Personal Environment

Leader in Sustainability: Pomegranate Center

Innovator in Sustainability: Sarah Elwood

Built Environment

Leader in Sustainability: Charlie Cunniff

Innovator in Sustainability: Green Plate Special

Natural Environment

Leader in Sustainability: Stewardship Partners

Innovator in Sustainability: Reed Painting

Happiness Award: Cathy Tuttle

8 Replies to "West Seattle Tool Library wins Sustainable Seattle award"

  • LauraE December 7, 2011 (10:07 pm)

    WooHoo!!! Nice work! Celebration at the Tool Library during the “Ask an Expert: Holiday Edition” tomorrow night (Th, 12/8, 6-8pm). Join us for some bubbly (the non-alcoholic type… there are dangerous tools around!)

  • chas redmond December 7, 2011 (10:53 pm)

    Wow, this is so well deserved. Congratulations Micah, Patrick and everyone. Such a great community asset. You guys look happy – fantastic photo!

  • Pete December 8, 2011 (7:54 am)

    congrats on a job well done…nice photo as well…

  • jay December 8, 2011 (9:38 am)

    The Tool Library is one of my favorite things about West Seattle. Micah, Patrick, and all the volunteers have done a great job in building fabulous community resource. The fact that it’s now located just ~3 blocks from my house is pretty great too!

  • Kate K December 8, 2011 (10:33 am)

    Congratulations WS Tool Library! Patrick, Micah and the volunteer team have created a tremendous resource.

    I use it all the time – this week I’m installing a doggie door and Micah helped me figure out what tools I needed. I appreciate the expertise that comes along with borrowing the tools :)

  • James Ewins December 8, 2011 (4:26 pm)

    “Sustainable” such nonsense. The taxpayer supported tool Library is competing with the Tool Rental Stores that pay taxes to support their competition.

    “We have found the enemy, and it is us”

  • Christy December 9, 2011 (11:06 am)

    Great job guys. Nice to see all of Seattle recognizing such an innovative, wonderful community resource. Thanks for the thousands of hours you put in to make this happen.

  • West Seattle Tool Library December 22, 2011 (2:53 pm)

    That’s actually a really important topic, James!

    The first subject that came up when we were tossing around the idea of starting the library was how it would affect local businesses. So we went and talked to a good handful of our local businesses that might be impacted by a free community tool library, expecting a good bit of doubt. Their reactions really surprised us, though, as they began writing us letters of recommendation, offering generous discounts, and recommending that we hold tool drives at their establishments. Then,once we opened the doors, other local businesses began connecting with The Tool Library’s membership in order to lend skills and advice, while also easily developing their business networks. So it seems like it has really worked out great.

    That said, I think the traditional tool rental companies were a little less optimistic at the start. But we just keep sending them new customers so we’re still hoping they come around! Since the majority of our membership has little experience with tools or DIY projects, The Tool Library is actually helping to create a whole new market of potential customers, which local businesses like the tool rental shops and hardware stores can then really benefit from. And we hope they continue to do so!

    Also, just as a note, the City was great in helping to get this resource off the ground through a matching fund but, since then, the community’s donations of tools, time, and funding have vastly eclipsed any taxpayer funding. That small investment from the City has since released a tremendous amount of underutilized community capital in the form of dusty, unused tools and The Tool Library is actually now supported through voluntary donations from our members, tool sales, class fees, workshop rentals, and private grants.

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