Charleston Library of Things announced last week that it is raising funds and offering membership opportunities on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo for South Carolina’s first “library of things,” slated to operate from Charleston, SC. The company is aiming to raise $40,000 as start up capital for a mobile library that will service the greater Charleston community as a lending library for tools and other household goods.
A library of things is a community sharing space filled with commonly needed, but not often used items. The library will begin with the core categories of home improvement and gardening tools, kitchen countertop appliances, and DIY equipment. Additional categories, based on community demand, can include seasonal items such as camping gear, or entertainment items such as board games.
In lieu of buying and storing costly items that take up space and are rarely needed, the goal is to have them available to borrow, similar to borrowing a library book. Membership is annual and is sliding scale in order to make it affordable to the entire community.
There are other sharing libraries around the world and a few exist in the southeast, but none yet exist in South Carolina. Charleston Library of Things would be the first of its kind in the state.
Beyond the offering of the library itself, the organization’s goal is to build community in three core ways that benefit their members – repair cafes, community classes and events, and a sharing blog.
Regular “repair cafes” will be offered so that members can extend the life of the things they already own by having them repaired at these events.
Rotating basic skills classes will be offered based on community demand and collaborations with other local businesses. Not only will new skills sharpen members’ abilities to use the items they borrow, but will introduce them to the offerings of other local businesses.
The library will also have a blog on their website which can feature members as guest bloggers. Each guest blog post will feature a member who has documented how they used what they borrowed. The goal here is both community building as well as giving members the opportunity to show off their skills – possibly launching their own small business by showcasing their talents.
By extending the idea of the sharing economy which already offers the benefits of home sharing (AirBnb), ride sharing (Lyft and Uber), and bike sharing (Holy Spokes), Charleston Library of Things is aimed at alleviating the burden of ownership and increasing community by sharing things, repairing things, and teaching new skills.
The bulk of the funding from the library’s Indiegogo campaign will be used to purchase a bus so they can be mobile and start serving the community by visiting neighborhoods, farmer’s markets, and other community gathering spaces. The remainder of the funds will be used to pay for other operating expenses such as insurance, gas, office supplies, maintenance, and large equipment purchases.
Campaign is live now and will run through November 1st.
To learn more about Charleston Library of Things, visit: chslot.com or find them on Facebook and Instagram at: @chslot.