Item borrowing service Lewes Library of Things launches

An item lending service has launched in Lewes allowing the public to borrow tools, kitchen equipment, camping gear and more for free.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 10:21 am
Tony Rowell, founder of not-for-profit company Go Local, which is launching the Lewes Library of Things. Photograph: Katie Vandyck

Lewes Library of Things will operate from the Landport Community Room, on Horsfield Road, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

For the first time today (July 1), members will be able to collect items – which range from a pasta maker and a gazebo to a pressure washer and a dehumidifier – reserved via the service’s website.

Not-for-profit company Go Local, which was set up in 2008 and started the Lewes Repair Café in 2019, is running the service.

It says it aims to address inequality and reduce consumption and waste by giving people the opportunity to borrow items they need for short-term or one-off use at no cost.

Founder Tony Rowell said: “It’s not a new thing – there’s quite a few libraries of things.

“I see it as a way of enabling people.”

Tony added: “It’s enabling people to think of a different way of using things.”

Tony Rowell, founder of not-for-profit company Go Local, which is launching the Lewes Library of Things. Photograph: Katie Vandyck

There are eight categories of items – hobbying, camping, events, DIY, gardening, household, leisure and cleaning.

Membership is free and items can be reserved online, or going forward by telephone or in person. At the moment, there is no limit to the number of items members can borrow at one time and items can be borrowed for up to seven days.

Tony said that the service is ‘really very much based on trust’ and the fact it is free is ‘quite radical’ as he does not think there is another Library of Things that operates for free.

There will be a fee for returning items late and donations are welcome.

Tony said: “If you want [an item] more you just have to get in touch with me.

“I don’t want people having something when it could be used by other people but I’ve not limited – as far as I am aware – how many items people can borrow at one time.”

Tony said that more than 200 people have already signed up as members with a dozen items booked into July.

Plans for the future include buying an electric van to deliver items and to reach those unable to access Landport Community Room. The mobile service will also go to other areas of the Lewes district, including Newhaven and Seaford.

Tony said: “I don’t want to exclude people who haven’t got transport who can’t get things, disabled people who may want to borrow items but can’t get there.”

The monthly Lewes Repair Café, which runs from Landport Community Hub, on Landport Road, has been paused due to Covid-19 pandemic.

It is hoped that service will restart on July 17.

When it returns, Tony said it will be ‘a sort of drop off and pick up service’.

For more details on the Lewes Library of Things, including how to become a member, donate items or funds, or make suggestions on items to borrow, visit leweslibraryofthings.org.uk

To read more about the Lewes Repair Café see Repair Café to start in Lewes