Library of things

Library of Things launches in East London

The community-powered social enterprise helps people save money and reduce waste by affordably renting out useful items like drills, sound systems and sewing machines.

Supported by Barking and Dagenham Council, Library of Things offers over 30 useful household, DIY and gardening items for residents to borrow from as little as a few pounds per day. And there’s a Concession Membership offering 25 per cent off borrowing prices for people on low incomes.

Residents can reserve items online ready to collect from a self-service kiosk in Barking Learning Centre, a short walk away from Barking station.

Library of Things was founded by Emma Shaw, Rebecca Trevalyan and Sophia Wyatt in 2016. Inspired by similar projects emerging in cities like Berlin and Toronto, the women-led social enterprise launched its first self-service kiosk in Crystal Palace in 2018.

Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, said: “At a time when the cost-of-living crisis is hitting households across our borough hard, and we’re continuing to feel the impact of climate change, Library of Things is a very welcome initiative.”

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to help residents through this challenging time, and I’m excited to see how the Library of Things can make a difference in people’s lives.”

As part of its commitment to being a greener borough, the council declared a climate emergency in 2020 and has introduced a range of measures to help reduce its carbon footprint and create a green borough, including increasing recycling rates and launching the Cleaner, Greener Barking and Dagenham campaign.

Library of Things is now open in eleven locations across London. Over 6,000 people have now borrowed items over 10,000 times, saving approximately 60 tonnes of waste from landfill and 120 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Through its partnerships with product manufacturers Bosh, Kärcher and STIHL, councils and community groups, Library of Things is creating an alternative ‘circular economy’ – helping to transform neighbourhoods into low-waste, community-powered hubs.

Emma Shaw, co-founder of Library of Things, added: “We’ve had lots of interest in Library of Things from Barking & Dagenham residents and organisations – so we’re excited that they can now borrow quality items like drills, pressure washers and hedge trimmers for a few pounds per day.

“This is an important step for Library of Things, as we expand our work to create a community-led circular economy in neighbourhoods across London.”

Residents can find out more about Barking Library of Things.