Many of us have a tote bag, box, shelf, or even a bookcase full of gear. Many of us loan out this gear to a folks we know personally. Some organizers maintain a centralized storage place for their chapter where anyone can check out equipment. This cycle of storing and loaning could be described as a Lending Library, a concept that's never been formalized within Public Lab but nonetheless is emerging as a strong part of chapter culture.
Gear that individuals have
There is some thought currently going into how individuals can list the equipment they have--and what of it that they'd be willing to loan--through the use of powertags on their profile pages. See https://github.com/publiclab/plots2/issues/104.
Gear that chapters have
When we think about setting up a lending library to serve a chapter -- such as in NYC, Somerville, New Orleans, plus one just starting in Chicago -- there are some additional questions that arise, here are just a few:
- What stuff do we need in our lending library?
- What stuff can be used again and again, and what stuff needs to be continually replaced?
- Who much will it cost over a year?
- How do we keep track of what we're loaning out?
- How do we get stuff back in a hurry when someone else needs it?
Let's use the comments area on this research note for a public discussion on what makes a good lending library and how this can be made visible on chapter pages (or profile pages) on publiclab.org.