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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

January 20, 2010

CHECK OUT A TOOL AT THE LIBRARY

Oregon Live - Buy it, rent it or borrow it from a neighbor. Portland is fast becoming a leader in a fourth way: checking it out for free at a tool lending library.

The city's first nonprofit tool library, founded in 2004 in North Portland, is up to 2,300 members. Its second, in Northeast, has already drawn 800 members in 16 months and just expanded to a far bigger space. A third, in southeast Portland, is scheduled to open this spring, which would make Portland the only U.S. city with a trio.

The volunteer-run tool libraries offer low-cost home and garden lessons as well as tools. They help people save money and connect to their community.

And they promote recycling and reuse.

About 900 of the more than 1,100 tools at the Northeast Portland Tool Library were donated, helping give the library a hardware store's worth of inventory.

"The whole idea is everybody doesn't have to own a power drill or a post-hole digger," says Tom Thompson, a 58-year-old remodeling contractor who serves as volunteer tool master for the northeast tool library. "We wanted to be able to help out the environment and help out people, especially with the economy the way it is today."

The first modern tool libraries started in the 1970s, with libraries in Berkeley, Calif., and Columbus, Ohio, among the pioneers. Informal Web lists put the latest U.S. total at about 25, including five in California and one in Seattle.


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