Public Lab Research note


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Lending Libraries

by liz |

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 discuss!

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.



community lending-library

response:10953

5 Comments

I am really into this kind of thing!

Have you guys looked into your local hacker space/maker lab yet? http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/


Yes we have many friendships with hackerspaces. :) Many of the shared labs where staff and organizers work are located in varieties of hackerspaces. Any in particular you'd like us to connect with?


Markdown Links for tool library inventory systems: - http://localtools.org/ - http://www.toollibrarian.com/

Parts and Crafts is really interested in this type of project, FYI.


Beginning wiki here: http://publiclab.org/wiki/lending-library. Add your thoughts to the Talk page!


I really like the dynamic of people asking each other for kits on the lists, and meeting each other, and thinking about the resources of the distributed network -- so it'd be great to figure out how that model works alongside more formal lending libraries.


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