10228 Fischer Pl. NE Seattle, WA 98125 neseattletoollibrary@gmail.com (206) 524-6062

We Won the Grant!

We are thrilled to announce that we have won a generous grant through Cleanscapes’ Neighborhood Waste Reduction Rewards program! The grant will fund refurbishing and converting the building for use as a tool library.

The Cleanscapes program is an annual competition between its pickup areas, as determined by the day of the week on which recycling is collected. From September 2010 through August 2011, the “Tuesday North” collection day neighbors decreased their waste by 400 tons, a 4.7% improvement according to Cleanscapes. As a result, this pickup area, which included Ravenna, Roosevelt, Wedgwood and Bryant, won the right to submit project proposals for a total reward of $50,000.

The opportunity caught the attention of Susan Gregory, a member of the steering committee of Sustainable NE Seattle. Susan, along with several other members, had been watching the success of the West Seattle Tool Library, and had been hoping to start a tool library here. Enthusiasm was high. The challenge was finding a suitable location with no operating budget. Receiving a grant might make possible what had seemed impossible.

Susan assembled a team to develop a grant proposal for building a small facility at a neighborhood community center. The proposal was submitted in time for the January 31, 2012 deadline. Unfortunately, after the proposal was submitted, the arrangement for the location fell through. Knowing that the grant would not be funded if we didn’t have a location, Susan began scouring the neighborhoods. Finally, she noticed an unused building on the property of the North Seattle Friends Church. The church agreed to rent the building to the NE Seattle Tool Library, and we resubmitted our proposal to Cleanscapes.

Under the grant, Cleanscapes will fund refurbishing costs including insulation, ceiling tiles, repairing wallboard, electrical and plumbing, and exterior painting, as well as materials for building shelves. Volunteers from the Tool Library and the church are providing cleanup, interior painting, and shelf construction.

The NE Seattle Tool Library received the bulk of the $50,000 reward, with other funded projects including Roosevelt Neighborhood ID Signs and Picardo Farms P-Patch Improvements.

“What a great model showing that borrowing and sharing can reduce waste and strengthen a community.  The Tool Library will benefit both the surrounding neighborhood as well as the region and we are proud to support this new community resource,” says Chris Martin, President and CEO of CleanScapes.

For her part, Gregory is thrilled that the project she spearheaded has won the grant reward. “This grant is just what we needed to kick start our library. We can now reasonably expect to celebrate our Grand Opening this September. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re already receiving membership applications and cash donations, and donated tools are pouring in,” she reports.

Work Party and Outreach Event

Saturday, June 30, 2012 held two milestones for our Tool Library.

First work party at the future location of the NE Seattle Tool Library

Early that morning, a large group showed up at the future location to begin cleanup of the space.

While many of us have been visiting the site for various reasons, this was the first “official” work party that brought together a large group of volunteers. The main objective was to clean out debris including old rugs, and separate what was left into items to keep, items for trash, and items to donate elsewhere.

Tool library members tabling at the University District Farmers Market on June 30, 2012

Later, several members set up an information table at the U-District Farmers Market, coordinated by Lee (far left). It was the Tool Library’s first public outreach event.

We had our new information flier on hand out, and offered a tool-sharpening demonstration. This outing proved very successful. Several newcomers joined the site as a result of this outreach.

Outreach flier

Our half-sheet handout, encouraging people to join the tool library and donate tools

We have a location!

You can’t have a tool library without someplace to keep it in, and good-sized spaces like that aren’t normally very affordable around here. We knew our Cleanscapes grant application wouldn’t stand a chance unless we had a workable location. It’s fair to say we were feeling the pressure.

Susan, who had been scouring the neighborhoods for weeks, noticed an unusual building that appeared to be unused, on the property of the North Seattle Friends Church. She inquired about it, and – long story short – on March 25, 2012, Pastor Lorraine Watson and senior leaders of the Friends Church agreed to rent the building to the NE Seattle Tool Library!

The future home of NE Seattle Tool Library
The future home of NE Seattle Tool Library

The building is adjacent to the church but has a separate mailing/street address:
2415 NE 80th St, Seattle, WA  98115

The building is in an excellent location just off the intersection of 25th Ave NE and NE 80th St., with convenient parking and street access. The building is approximately 20 feet by 75. The location has ample fluorescent lighting fixtures, electric heaters, and bathrooms for use by volunteers/staff, not the public.

The building was originally a store built in the ’20s. The Church acquired it sometime in ’60s and used it for some time as a childcare/Sunday school room. Recently it has been unused except for storage.

The building will provide adequate space for the Tool Library to grow over time, and eventually accommodate fix-it workshops and similar meetings.