Borrowing center

A borrowing center, borrowing shop, borrowing bar, item library or library of things is a library of household items and tools, usually organized as a volunteer cooperative, nonprofit organization, or operated by the local public library.

Borrowing centers are part of the sharing economy, which was termed in 1984 by Harvard economist Martin Weitzman. In contrast to a rental store, which offers many of the same items, borrowing centres are operated on a non-profit or collective basis.

The concept of a borrowing center is not new. Historically some public libraries have offered items beyond print and audio-visual media, such as toys. The concept is also similar to toy libraries, which have existed since at least 1935, and tool libraries.

One of the better-known borrowing centers is the Sharing Depot in Toronto, Canada.

Similar Terms/Concepts

Borrowing center is not a popular term to be used, Tools Library shares the same or similar functions and concept as borrowing center and this term has been used more often. The concept of opening tools library is to provide tools which are not daily necessity and to promote the idea of sharing with others. Also it is an sustainable action to save resources on earth.

Borrowing Centers All Over the World

North America

Tools Library has a very high popularity in the United States, especially in the West Coast, and there is a website “Find Your Local Tool Lending Library - Local Tools”, which you can find closest Tools Library to you.

1.Tool Library in Berkeley, USA

The First Tool Library started in 1979 in Berkeley, California, and now there are more than 40 tool libraries in North America.

2.Tool Lending library in Oakland, USA

Tool Lending Library offers all kinds of practical tools as well as books, videos and DVDs. And it is free to Oakland, Emeryville, and Piedmont residents and property owners.

3.Sharing Depot in Toronto, Canada

The Sharing Depot has been called as Canada's First library of things and it was opened in 2016.


Through a screenshot from the live “Map of Tool Libraries and Libraries of Things” at, borrowing center is much less common in Europe than in North America. And the reason why there are fewer borrowing center in Europe is unsolved.


There is merely no this kind of centers in Asian counties, so there is a potential market to develop borrowing centers in Asian countries.

See also

This page was last updated at 2024-01-14 03:44 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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