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Need fixit project help? Check out the Temescal Tool Lending Library

on July 7, 2011

The saws, wrenches and trimmers residing in the basement of the Temescal Branch Library will continue to get some love from the Oakland residents who depend on them for their do-it-yourself projects, even though—like 14 of the city’s 18 libraries—the budget for the Temescal Tool Lending Library was recently on the chopping block.

Up until last week, when the city council voted in a new budget that preserved library services, Ty Yurgelevic, the Temescal Tool Lending Library manager, wasn’t sure whether neighbors would be able to continue checking out tools after July. “It was a scary, uncertain time for a lot of our patrons,” he said.

But now neighbors like Hope McDonnell say they will be able to keep utilizing this decade-old community asset. When she bought her house 15 years ago, she said it needed a lot of work. “I wouldn’t be able to survive without this place,” McDonnell said Wednesday afternoon while checking out a dolly to move a washer and dryer at her house. “I couldn’t afford to go out to spend $40, $60 for a contractor so I did a lot of the construction and remodeling myself.”

Checking out tools here is as easy as checking out a library book. With nearly 3,000 tools available for loan, including books and how-to videos, it’s a DIY heaven for crafty and inspired Oaklanders.

The Tool Lending Library traces its roots to when the the Temescal branch started a small Home Resources Collection to help residents with their rebuilding and repair projects following the Oakland Hills Firestorm of 1991. But it wasn’t until early 2000 that the Temescal Tool Lending Library—thanks to seed money from the Community Development Black Grant—became an official establishment and extension of city library services. Supported by city funding and donations, the tool lending library checks out approximately 4,000 tools a month to residents.

As part of its regularly offered workshops, the tool lending library will host a free earthquake safety class on how to bolt your home to the foundation this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the Friends of Tool Lending Library website for more information about signing up and future workshops.

For hours, location and a list of tools the library has in stock, visit the Tool Lending Library website.

(Patrons interviewed in the audio piece: Anton Jackson, Brian Laczko, Constantine Walker, Hope McDonnell, Tamu Winbush, Yolanda Swoopes-Jimez)

Patrons share why they come to the Temescal Tool Lending Library.

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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