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Because It Takes A Village

Posted by on Mar 15, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

So here we are – four years after launching Toronto’s first Tool Library – renovating our fourth location at 830 St. Clair West. It’s always a bit daunting opening a new location as running and maintaining tool libraries is no easy task – it’s a lot of work and the daily operations for these spaces are fully reliant on volunteer efforts. They are community-driven projects and any money generated from memberships goes back into operating the space. But, the benefits of these sharing projects are many and so we continue to put our time and energy into opening tool libraries. But that isn’t what this post is about. This post is about the fact that each and every time we announce the launch of a new location, we are greeted with such positivity and enthusiasm from the community. St. Clair West has been no exception. These past few weekends, we have been joined by so many amazing, dedicated volunteers who have been helping us renovate and prepare the space. We are just so grateful that there are others out there who share our vision of a world where resources are shared and everyone has access to the things they need. We couldn’t do this without all of these passionate people sharing their skills, talents and time with us. Because it takes a village to raise a truly genuine sharing economy. Here are some photos of our progress to far (thanks to @laurairuegas for taking these fantastic images for us): Get Involved! Get Involved! All photos taken by...

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Volunteers Needed!

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

The Toronto Tool Library/Sharing Depot team is pleased to announce – we’re opening a new location at 830 St. Clair West! This location will include a Tool Library, a Sharing Depot AND a space for the Repair Cafe Toronto! We are now looking for Volunteers to help us set up this next awesome sharing space in Toronto. This weekend we will be making our space look amazing by building our furniture, painting, cleaning and much more. No experience is required, we will have professional guidance from our Tool Ninja’s on site! Free pizza and drinks will be available for all volunteers. If you are interested in joining us or want more details, you can...

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St. Clair Branch – Become A Founding Member

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

We are super excited to announce our newest location will be launching at 830 St. Clair West. This new community hub will be home to the Toronto Tool Library where you can borrow thousands of hand, power and gardening tools for up to one week. We will also open the Sharing Depot, our second ‘Library of Things’, where you can borrow camping equipment, board games, toys and much more. Even better, we have teamed up with the Repair Cafe folks and will be offering a weekly repair day where you bring your broken appliances, electronics, toys and anything else to be diagnosed and repaired onsite. Please consider supporting our project by purchasing a membership in advance to help with our renovation costs, we’ve got great discounts and benefits but only until opening weekend! You can also donate tools, volunteer or help spread the word by sharing this page. Thanks so much and see you at our Grand Opening in March! All Donors receive 2 tickets to our Donor Recognition Party in April (exact date will be sent out soon!) Lead Contractor & Founding Member ($2500)DIY Professional ($1000)Weekend Warrior ($500)Masterful Maker ($250)Handy Hobbyist ($100) Pay with Card Have questions? Please contact Ryan at ryan@irbe.org for more details. * Memberships upgrade at higher donation levels. Upgraded memberships replace prior lower level membership rewards (both types of memberships are not given). Please note, as a non-profit corporation we are unable to issue charitable tax receipts at this...

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The Basic Income Debate

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017 in Tool Blog |

Conversations about Universal Basic Income (UBI) are heating up as Prince Edward Island passed its first motion to participate in a pilot project with the federal government. However, plans are far from final, and as the Ontario Liberals consider their own model, it is imperative to really dissect what benefits or dangers UBI could bring, particularly as it is being constructed from within the very neoliberal structures which have shaped our current economic strategies. Today’s employment landscape is one marred by seriously defunct socio-economic systems and an overburdened and failing welfare strategy. Since the 1970s, national economic policies have focused more on GDP growth than on full employment, with noticeable repercussions: increased disparity, low job security, fewer benefits and slashes in social safety nets. All of this combined with the rapid advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in the workplace, we’ve created what Guy Standing refers to as the “Precariat” class: those who live in a constant state of precariousness and insecurity. “The Precarity Penalty”, released in 2015 by PEPSO (a joint effort between McMaster University and the United Way) found that an astounding 44% of working Canadian adults fall into this category. They were further found to live in households whose overall income was less than 38% than those in “stable” employment, and represented high rates of mental and physical stress, community and family tension and difficulty securing childcare and job training. What has been trying to respond to all of these market failures is an overstressed and poorly managed welfare system – one that, as a result, is invasive, rigid and all too often misses the mark. There is ample criticism that UBI is not the solution to this dire climate. Groups like The Fraser Institute point to the high costs associated with its implementation, and claim it will actually discourage people to work. The economics indeed play a dangerous balancing act. If the basic income is set too low, no real impact can be made. Some argue that Ontario’s projected $1320/month (as reported by Hugh Segal’s “Finding Better Way”) falls into this category. If set too high, the project’s sustainability is threatened – not to mention that recipients can “coast” on the base provision and lose motivation to work. Or so the argument goes. To engage in a debate regarding numbers that have yet to be finalized seems moot in comparison to the less discussed issue at hand: can UBI be constructed in a way that is truly progressive and enabling, or is it doomed to be a devastating capitalization of social welfare, incapable of detangling itself from its neoliberal culture? Well-intentioned support for UBI often highlights the autonomy and agency that the model could bring....

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Top 5 Reasons Every Child Should Be A Maker

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

Tinkering, making, creating and playing. These activities are finally being recognized for what they are – an essential part of a child’s education and development. The Maker Education Revolution that began in Makerspaces across the world over 10 years ago is finally breaking down the barriers into the mainstream – and into our classrooms. And that is a very good thing for our communities and our planet. March Break Maker Camp A Maker Education:   1) Promotes a ‘Growth Mindset’ Author and psychologist Carol Dweck proposes two mindsets that the growing brain can take on – one is called the fixed mindset and one is called the growth mindset. When children take on a fixed mindset, they believe that they are good at some things and not others and that their skills just come to them naturally. With a growth mindset, the learner believes that they can become good at something through doing, learning, experience, etc. Learning and development is something you work at, not something that just happens. Children who have developed a growth mindset tend to be more resilient, handling challenges better and pushing themselves passed obstacles. Maker education fosters this Growth Mindset because of it’s emphasis on not knowing the solution to a problem and then developing and learning through the process:  “It’s not just a matter of what you know, it’s a matter of taking risks and perhaps failing and learning from those failures.” Learning how to fail – and subsequently picking yourself up, reflecting and trying again – is a crucial skill for navigating our constantly changing world. 2) Develops Character and Purpose Learning-by-doing not only helps children become resilient in the face of challenges, it also works to develop character and a sense of purpose: “That is one of the most important outcomes a maker educator sees…Learning how to make things, being involved in maker-centered education, helps young people develop a sense of agency in the world, a sense that they can change the world.” At the heart of making is the concept that all students are creators. Rather than memorizing facts to regurgitate on a test, young makers are encouraged to bring what they know to a problem in order to solve it or to use their skills to design and build a project. Whether it’s hacking stuffed animals to incorporate LED lights or designing laser cut cars to race, these activities are important precisely for the reason that they instil a sense of confidence in the child’s ability to act on their environment. 3) Deepens Social and Emotional Skills Not only does making help children learn to effectively problem-solve, it teaches them to effectively problem-solve TOGETHER. Maker education places a big emphasis on collaboration. Children are encouraged to work together to improve their...

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It’s About A Lot More Than Borrowing Tools

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

Nearly 5 years ago now, before ‘the sharing economy’ was a buzz word, our small band of friends came together in Toronto over a concern for the state of the world – poverty, the environment, mental health, discrimination, war, debt. We wanted to solve ALL the problems. Not long after meeting, we learned about a Tool Lending Library in Vancouver and thought that maybe this would be a good place to start for Toronto as well: If we could inspire people to share tools, could the sharing movement expand in a way that would make a real difference in reducing over-consumption of goods while increasing access to what people need? Now four years later, the answer seems to be coming up yes. Last year we opened Canada’s first ever Library of Things, The Sharing Depot, and now, our small but growing team of board members and volunteers are currently in the midst of opening our fourth location in the city at 830 St. Clair West. This location will include not just a tool library, but a Sharing Depot and a permanent space for the Repair Cafe Toronto! Learn More About St. Clair West! Running a non-profit tool library is no easy task – it takes a massive volunteer effort as any money made goes back into running the library. We wanted to take a moment to tell you a little bit about why we do what we do: ENVIRONMENT Buying less stuff means we can reduce the amount we are dumping into our landfills. Canada, due to its overwhelming waste problem, is now shifting its waste management strategy in this direction with an emphasis on the first of the three Rs: REDUCE. Sharing items within a community is a great way to reduce unnecessary consumption. If you imagine the amount of energy and materials that go into making and distributing a single tool (the oil and rare metals used to create it, the gas used to ship it all over the world, the packaging it comes in, etc.) you can imagine how effective it would be if one drill was being used by a community rather than sitting in every household’s basement. The mass, private ownership of tools makes little social sense when we consider that most domestic power tools are used for just 10% of the time they are designed to last and spend the rest of their lives depreciating in basements and storage units. THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY The devil’s advocate might ask: but if so many people are using a single tool, won’t that wear the tool out faster rendering it useless and in need of quicker replacement? While many things are not built with longevity in mind (cheap materials and poor construction contribute...

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