FAQ

What is the Brisbane Tool Library?

The Brisbane Tool library is a social enterprise started in 2017 based on the model of other tool libraries all around the world. Members pay an annual fee to borrow any item from our inventory of over 1600 items, including hand and power tools, camping gear, gardening equipment, as well as a mix of recreational and household items. Almost all our items are recycled; either rescued from landfill or donated by the community, then repaired and/or maintained. We are committed to making the library a diverse and safe space and welcome all borrowers. In terms of skill level, we want to particularly support people with very little experience and confidence in using hardware, power tools, and camping equipment.

How much is membership?

There are various options for membership, starting at $35. Our options are:

Memberships

What if I can’t afford membership?

We’ve tried our best to keep membership as affordable as possible. In fact, our membership fees don’t even cover staff costs. All the people working to make the tool library such a great sharing experience are volunteers. Nevertheless, we realise that the annual concession membership can still be a barrier. So that’s why we’ve introduced our 3 monthly ‘taster’ membership at $35. [we could discuss a ‘pay-it-forward’ scheme for taster memberships]


Can I buy a gift membership?

You can buy a gift certificate for any of our memberships here. [information about ‘pay-it-forward’ would go here] Please note that gift certificates are non-refundable, however gift-recipients can be changed. For more information on what is included in memberships, please see our Memberships page. [link to membership page]


Can I donate a membership to someone who can’t afford membership?

Part of what drives us is creating a fairer society. The library is a great leveller, enabling people on a modest income to be able to access tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. We’ve tried our best to keep membership affordable and also offer a concession membership.

If you know someone who cannot afford a membership, you can always buy them a gift membership. If you would like to ‘pay forward’ a membership for someone that you don’t know, please contact us here so we can organise this.


How do I renew my membership?

You can renew your membership online [link to membership renewal] or come into the library during our opening hours. [link to navigation section]

Loans

How long can an item be borrowed for?

The borrowing period for our tools is one week, and this can be extended by another week if it hasn’t already been reserved by someone else. Reservation extensions can be done via the Loans menu in your account or by replying to the Reservation or Booking Confirmation Notice we have sent you. Reservations cannot be extended if they are overdue or if the extension ends after your membership expiry date. Alternatively, for any other booking or item enquiries you can contact us here. [link to enquiry form]


How many items can I borrow?

The taster, Regular, and Concession memberships allow for a maximum of 4 items on loan at any one time. Lover memberships can have a maximum of 10 items on loan at any one time. The total number of items you can loan throughout your membership is not limited.


What if I don’t return the borrowed item on time?

We have very few incidents of items not being returned - by participating in the Brisbane Tool Library you are involved in a culture of sharing. We appreciate your prompt return of items so that other patrons may enjoy them. All our conditions of borrowing are outlined in the waiver you sign when you become a member, also viewable here [link to membership waiver], including the right to charge late fees or item replacement fees. If you will not be able to return your items on time, please email us at borrow@brisbanetoollibrary.org .


Can I extend the borrowing period of my item if it is overdue?

Sorry, but you will need to return the item if it is overdue.


What if I break something?

The inventory of the Brisbane Tool Library belongs to all its members. We want our items to last as long as possible, so please take care of them and treat them like they belong to a good friend. We recognise that items will break through use eventually. Often, we can repair minor breakages. In this case, we will request payment for the cost of the materials to repair. If the item is broken beyond repair, we may request payment for the cost of replacing the item. Email us or let us know when you return an item that has broken while it was in your care, and we’ll work out what to do together.

Location / Opening hours

Where are you located?

We are located in The Edge building at the Southbank Cultural Centre, on Level 0 [i.e. the Carpark or Basement Level]. You can find us on google maps here. [link to google maps location]. ‘The Edge’ is the building along the river edge between the Queensland Art Gallery - QAG - and the State Library of Queensland - SLQ. Find us right behind the glass lift at the small roundabout at the entrance to SLQ Carparks P2 and P3.


How can I get to the library?

The Brisbane Tool Library is 300m from the Cultural Centre bus station and 550m from the South Brisbane train station. Metered street parking is available on Fleet Lane, Hope Street, and Montague Road, and is free on weekends. There is all-day paid car parking on the carpark level of the Cultural Centre (our level), and for quick pick-up and drop-off there are loading zones on either side of the Cultural Centre Tunnel.


When is the library open?

Our opening hours are:

Wednesday: 2:00PM - 5:30PM

Friday: 2:00PM - 5:30PM

Saturday: 10:00AM – 2:00PM


Can I park at the Brisbane Tool Library?

While Brisbane Tool Library doesn’t have dedicated parking, there are several options available. Metered street parking is available on Fleet Lane, Hope Street, and Montague Road, and is free on weekends. There is all-day paid car parking on the carpark level of the Cultural Centre (our level), and for quick pick-up and drop-off there are loading zones on either side of the Cultural Centre Tunnel.

Miscellaneous

Do you accept donations of items?

Due to an increased volume of donations and salvage, we require you to fill out this donations form. [link to donations form] We have an internal wish list of items, and an excess of some others (leafblowers lol). We do not accept any petrol-powered tools, parts of tools, items of poor quality or in disrepair, or consumables that or unorganised and/or in excess.


Does the library accept E-waste?

We don’t accept E-waste. We also don’t accept broken electronic items. Check out Planet Ark website here to see where you can take your E-waste. We send our eventual E-waste to eWaste Connection at Yeronga, another great social enterprise - they skill up disadvantaged people as well as reducing landfill.


Can I sponsor the library?

You sure can. Please contact us by email for more information.


Do you accept financial donations?

We accept financial donations. Unfortunately we do not have DGR status which means that your donation to us is not tax deductible. Also see the FAQ about donating a library membership to someone in need.


Does the library take broken items?

No, we don’t accept broken items.


Can I volunteer?

We love volunteers. In fact, we are all volunteers! Our volunteer team is truly cosmopolitan; we come from all ages, countries, and walks of life. If you’d like to volunteer, please get in touch through this enquiry form [link to enquiry form]. Feel free to let us know if you have a specialist skill that we might be able to utilise (like furniture making or graphic design). If not, there are still plenty of jobs that can be easily learned – processing of reservations, cleaning and maintaining items, maintaining our online inventory, administrative tasks, representing the Brisbane Tool Library at festivals and events, any many more.


Can you deliver my reservation?

Sorry, we are not set up to deliver.


If I know a space that would make a good tool library, are you interested in hearing about it?

Yes, we are looking to expand into outer Brisbane. We are especially interested in knowing about any possible spaces on the northside of Brisbane. If you know of a space, please contact us here.


Can I use your space to work on my project?

Unfortunately, because of space and insurance constraints, we cannot offer the library for individual projects. The Fabrication Lab at The Edge (down the hallway) offers a public makerspace (requires induction).


Do you run workshops?

We run workshops throughout the year to help people make, service, repair, and upcycle with our tools. Individual workshops are pitched at different skill levels (from basic to advanced). We also host workshops in keeping with our reuse/live lightly ethos, such as bees wax wraps making, working with recovered timber, and making supermarket (boomerang) bags. We have not run any workshops since our COVID closure in 2020, but we are keen to get back into it! Please let us know [enquiry form link] if there is any workshop you are interested in – we find these work best if they are crowdsourced.


What if I can’t use [insert tool]?

In some instances, there may be volunteers who can give you a quick guide, however we always lend items with the understanding that you are confident in their use. This is noted in your waiver, and our friendly volunteers will always endeavour to chat to you about your projects. Some tools will require an additional waiver. The Edge offers a makerspace facility which may be able to instruct you in the use of certain tools.


What is your most popular tool?

Our most popular tools are our lawnmowers, line trimmers, jack hammer and mitre saw; exactly the kind of expensive items you don’t want to buy to sit in your garage most of the year!


What is your strangest tool?

Among other things, the tool library has a poker set, roller-skates, a clarinet, fishing waders and a food dehydrator!