|Sacramento Public Library's "Library of Things" section. They buy it, store it, maintain it, and share it.|
We teach our kids to share. Sharing is nice. People who want you to buy their stuff don't like it. They tell us everyone can, and should, have their own stuff. Millennials, and many others, don't care, and the sharing economy is starting to emerge in a big way.
The Sacramento Public Library recently started a “Library of Things”, allowing patrons to check out, among other things, sewing machines and other items that they may find useful, but don’t need to own long-term.
As libraries increasingly go bookless, facilitating the sharing of things other than books is an exciting innovation for the libraries of the post-consumer future.
Essentially a Library of Things is a space where you can borrow useful items like DIY tools, gardening things, art supplies, musical instrument, cooking supplies, and whatever else the community decides is important. There is also the opportunity to learn how to use items in 1-to-1 sessions and workshops, and meet neighbours.
These innovative undertakings can be part of public libraries, but also as part of a cooperative, or structured as non-profits. There is no reason why a neighbourhood or community couldn't do the same thing for the benefit of all.
We can thank the Millennial stuff-light stance toward consumerism for driving this sharing trend. They want access, not ownership. We have all known since childhood that sharing is good, but this generation is continuing to practise it as grown ups.
When we share, fewer items need to be made, and fewer resources need to be torn from the good earth. I can think of a few things that I could use, but don't need to or want to own. I am sure we all can. Watch for a Library of Things coming to a neighbourhood near you in the near future.
Imagine how much money you could save by sharing rather than buying. Imagine how Zen your garage would look.