Giving Compass' Take:

• Lending libraries are able to help communities thrive and decrease environment footprints by encouraging memberships and investments in borrowing. 

• How does the cycle of borrowing and sharing incite more substantial community development?

• Read about other ways of creating change through community development.

Libraries of things may have diverse missions and origin stories but they have two things in common: they increase well being in their communities while lowering their environmental footprint. The revolution of borrowing, not buying, is gaining traction around the world and where lending libraries thrive, they are lifting their communities. Here are four libraries of things around the world that are changing their cities — one loan at a time:

In the Eastern Croatian rural town of Beli Manastir, stands the country’s first and only tool library. “We saw a story about one tool library in the United States and thought why not start it here,” says Duško Kostić, the president of non-government organization Luna,  which runs the library. “Lots of tools you will just use twice a year. Why would you waste money buying it, when you can borrow it in our library.”

Luna works with the region’s marginalized Roma population but the library is open to the whole community, which today includes many unemployed or retired people struggling with financial issues.

As well as lending tools, the library runs trainings on how to use them and provides certificates for the use of potentially dangerous tools. This upskilling gives community members an advantage when looking for work.

Schools throughout Norway frequently hold “ski days” which despite being fun for some, disadvantage children who do not have access to the expensive equipment. An Oslo initiative is calling on schools to get into the library of things business.

“Children that have access to ski equipment go skiing and the ones that don’t are given an alternative option such as sledding. This creates a social inequality among children, hurting those with the least resources,” says Cynthia Reynolds, coordinator of the Circular Oslo initiative.

Read the full article about library lending by Marina Kelava at Shareable.