Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Library Project: Tool Lending Library

Don't worry, I'm just as surprised as you are that the next installment of my Oakland Public Library Project is the Tool Lending Library. But I had some things sitting around in frames collecting against the walls of my apartment, and I hadn't hung them on the walls yet because I needed to mount the brackets to the aforementioned frames. Seems easy enough, but since I don't own what I assume may be the smallest screwdriver in the world (well, probably not), I decided to visit the Tool Lending Library. 

The Tool Lending Library is actually in the same building as the Temescal Branch of the Oakland Public Library, but around the back. It's not very large, but it's hella packed with tools.. dare I say it may be the branch of the library with the greatest amount of utility per square foot? That is actually probably an unfair assessment as I haven't been to all the branches yet, and I have no idea how to measure utility. It also assumes that tools are more useful than books, and who am I to make that assumption? ANYWAY.

This branch of the library is a little different than the others, so it makes sense that the lending policies are a little different. You go through address verification and whatnot again, and similar to when you first get a library card, there is a probationary period for the first time you check out tools. Late fees can vary from $1-$20 per day-- I wish it would tell me online how much per day the late fee is when I manage my account. I wonder if you can renew your check out of a particular item. Because you need to return your items when the library is open, you may need to be a bit strategic about when you check them out. Since I work a 9-5, I think it would be best for me to check out tools on a Saturday or a Tuesday, the only weekday they're open past 5:30pm, so that I could return them regardless of whether it's a four-day or seven-day lending period.

The staff was super friendly and beyond helpful. Despite being pretty busy, they chatted with me, were really nice and engaging, and helped me find what I needed without hovering. For someone who knows virtually nothing about tools, this was a success! They didn't make me feel like an idiot or out of place for being there, which I appreciated a lot.

I walked out with a little Phillips screwdriver, a level, and a cool new sticker on my library card. 

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