Frequently Asked Questions

How many tools do you have?

Over a thousand.

Where did they come from?

Almost all of them are bartered by community members in exchange for membership time; some come are community donations, others are purchased with membership revenue.

Who can take out tools?

Anyone can become a member. A basic yearly membership costs $60 to ensure the Tool Library is accessible to everyone. Members can borrow any tool for free.

I can’t afford that.

Please come in and talk with us. We’ll figure it out together.

Do you rent or lend out tools?

You don’t rent Calgary Tool Library tools; you borrow them! While some tool libraries charge a small fee (in the $2-3 range) for especially large equipment, such as a table saw, there are only fees associated with our tools that use expensive consumables.

I just want to drop-in and use [X Tool] for, like, 5 minutes.
Do I really have to become a member?

We’ve discussed this a lot, and unfortunately, a one-time use fee doesn’t fit with our sustainability model, and we would love to have you become a part of our community!
To use our community tools, you must have signed the Borrower’s Agreement and Release of Liability as well, so again, no non-member drop-in tool usage.
Sorry, but volunteers are not available to support the general public – become a member, and make a friend!

Do you have [X Tool]?

Please check the database!

How do you keep track of tools and ensure they are returned?

We are using an open-source database software called MyTurn which is specifically designed for tool libraries. Like a normal library, members must return tools in a set period of time or face late fees. If a member does not return an expensive tool, we can charge their credit card the cost of the tool or, worse comes to worse, call collections.

Can I borrow more than one tool at once?

A Basic Membership gets you up to five tools at-a-time, for a week at-a-time, as often as you like. A Gold Membership gets you eight (plus other benefits).

Can I reserve tools?

Yes, you can reserve tools online through MyTurn, or by messaging

What happens if I damage a tool in use. Will I have to pay?

In extreme cases, members may be fined for damage to equipment. Members are not charged, however, for normal wear and tear. If you’re able to, we always appreciate any help you can offer in finding replacements for tools that break.

What do you do with damaged tools?

Experienced volunteers fix and sharpen tools.

Can I donate my used tools?

We are looking for more tools to add to our collection, but since space is limited, we can’t accept everything. We have a Tool Request List full of stuff we’re looking for. If you want to donate something amazing that isn’t on our request list, please get in touch!

Who runs the Calgary Tool Library?

We are run by a collective of about 20 super-chill volunteers, plus one part-time staff. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact us!

How is this possible?

We are a very modest not-for-profit, and with accessibility as our highest value, membership fees are already discounted as much as possible. 

It has taken us five years of continuous operation to reach our break-even point, and to keep offering our service to the Greater Calgary Area, we intend to maintain this fee structure for as long as financially viable. 

Due to the size of our budget, we offer domestic-grade (not commercial-grade) tools to our community, and more importantly, we depend on the goodwill, understanding, and patience, on you, our community of Calgary Tool Library Members. 

Thank You for Supporting Community Tool-Sharing!

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