Borrow handy household items at Dalston's new Library of Things

A new Library of Things, where people will be able to borrow household items for less than they would elsewhere, has opened at Dalston CLR James Library. 

The Council-funded project helps people save money and reduce waste by affordably renting out useful items like drills, carpet cleaners and sewing machines. 

It also helps people share practical skills like DIY and repair with others in the community.

Opened as a partnership between Hackney Council, Library of Things and Sustainable Hackney, Dalston’s Library of Things will also support people to borrow rather than buy, reducing their impact on the planet. 

People will be able to borrow a power drill for as little as £7 per day, which is less than half than the average high street rental, sewing machines for £7, a steam cleaner for £8 and a sound system and microphone for £10 per day. A 25% discount is also available for those receiving a pension or government support or people who are not in work, have children to feed or others to care for. 

Items are reserved online on the Library of Things website, before being collected from a kiosk on the ground floor of Dalston CLR James Library. 

Library of Things is now open in six locations across London. Over 5,000 people have now borrowed items over 10,000 times, saving approximately 40 tonnes of waste from landfill and 88 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Cllr Mete Coban MBE, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm

I am delighted to launch the Dalston Library of Things, where you’ll be able to borrow the items you need to get household jobs done for less than at a hire shop.

This is part of our commitment to helping rebuild a fair Hackney, reducing your cost of living, whilst at the same time helping you do your bit to help tackle the climate crisis.

The Library of Things is one of many steps that we’re taking to help rebuild a greener Hackney in the aftermath of the pandemic, and become zero carbon by 2040.

Cllr Mete Coban MBE, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm

We’ve had lots of interest in Library of Things from Hackney residents and organisations – so we’re excited that they’re now able to borrow quality items like Bosch drills, Kärcher pressure washers and STIHL hedge trimmers for a few pounds per day. This is an important step for Library of Things, as we expand our work to create a community-led circular economy in neighbourhoods across London.

Emma Shaw, co-founder of Library of Things

Borrowing makes sense because maybe you only want it for a day, or to use something every six months. It’s so much easier and it’s cost effective. If you were buying all these things and you only use them once or twice, it’s really common sense that you could get a much better deal by having them hired.

Geoff, a borrower from Crystal Palace Library of Things

A survey by Library of Things found that 58% of their members said their motivation for borrowing was to help the environment, while 60% say they're more likely to reuse, repair and recycle having borrowed.

But motivations for borrowing are not purely environmental – renting is also more cost-effective than buying, helps reduce clutter and is a low-barrier way to learn practical skills like repair and DIY.

Residents can now sign-up to be one of the first to give borrowing a try in Dalston by visiting libraryofthings.co.uk/dalston.