The University Height Tool Library’s inventory officially hit the 2,000 tool mark this month thanks to an incredibly generous gift of over $5,000 worth of tools and equipment from StanleyBlack&Decker. The grant will allow the Tool Library to continue to grow its tool borrowing service to residents of Buffalo and the WNY community. Similar to other sharing economy businesses like AirBnB and UBER, tool libraries stress the importance of access over ownership in the new economy (e.g. tool library members need a hole in their wall, they don’t need to own a drill).
For just $20 a year, a person can buy a membership to the Tool Library which allows them to borrow up to five tools at a time for up to a week. Started in 2011, the University Heights Tool Library was a proactive response to deteriorating housing conditions and quality of life issues in Buffalo’s University District. The Tool Library provides residents, block clubs, and community groups with access to the tools they need to tackle projects in their neighborhood.
Since its inception, the Tool Library has grown to over 730 members and now provides an inventory of over 2,000 tools thanks to Stanley Black&Decker. From basin wrenches used for installing new sinks and a wet tile saw to lay down a new bathroom floor, to weed whackers used in park cleanups and wheelbarrows used to mulch community gardens, the Tool Library provides people with access to the tools they need to create the change they want.
Tools donated by StanleyBlack&Decker to the Tool Library include:
- 10 in. Table Saw
- 12 in. Cordless Chainsaw 8 in
- Electric Cordless Pole Saw
- Heavy Duty Pavement Breaker
- Electric Landscape Edger
- Compound Miter Saw
- Angle Grinder
- Orbit Sander
- Belt Sander
- String Trimmer
- 6 Gal. Portable Air Compressor
- 16-Gauge Nailer, 18-Gauge Brad Nailer and Crown Stapler Combo Kit
- and MUCH MORE!!!
The Stanley Black & Decker grant will also allow the Tool Library to grow its programming related to Bailey Fights Blight and the University Heights Community Laboratory (CoLab).
Bailey Fights Blight is a collaborative project that seeks to board up and secure blighted and vacant storefronts along Bailey Avenue, while incorporating public art as a way to beautify the neighborhood and help redevelop the commercial corridor’s identity and sense of place. Through the support of Stanley Black & Decker, the Tool Library now has new cordless drills, chop saws, and pneumatic nailers to aid in efficiently boarding and securing vacant buildings as well as prepping surfaces for public art.
Newly received electric chain saws, extendable pole saws, edgers, and string trimmers will also aid in regular cleanups sponsored by the University District Block Club Coalition at the Bailey Dartmouth Garden, a tranquil and serene public garden and green space along a busy Bailey Avenue.
By increasing the community’s capacity to transform blighted properties and lots into redevelopable assets, Stanley Black & Decker is helping create a model for neighborhood self-improvement that can be replicated in other communities around Buffalo.
The University Heights Community Laboratory or CoLab is a formerly vacant and blighted storefront located next to the Tool Library that has been transformed by volunteers into a multipurpose space that provides DIY workshops focused on neighborhood development, community empowerment, and affordable and accessible education. Through the support of Stanley Black & Decker, the Tool Library has been able to supplement its largely donation-based inventory, with tools such as table saws, radial arm chop saws, and even a jackhammer! Through hands-on, interactive workshops held at the CoLab, members of the community will receive training on how to properly use these tools to improve their homes and their neighborhood.
The benefits of providing a community with the right tools and resources is that they can begin to positively change the world around them. If homeowners with limited income can hold on to some of their money and improve their properties by putting on a new roof or weatherizing their houses, that improves home values for the entire neighborhood. The accretion of such small investments can significantly stabilize struggling neighborhoods and help homeowners build modest wealth while maintaining an inventory of safe, decent, and affordable housing. In addition to just providing the tools, however, by offering free and affordable education and skill building opportunities, anyone can become an agent of community change.