Group to open Minnesota's only tool-sharing library



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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A new kind of library is coming to Minneapolis that lets members borrow tools such as hedge trimmers and power saws.

The Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library is set to open Saturday in the basement of an artist complex. The Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1bhXNt7 ) reports the nonprofit tool-lending operation is the first permanent one in Minnesota.

"We can show people how to minimize their impact on our environment," co-founder Thomas Ebert said. "And at the same time, connect people in a way that we've lost over the last decades."

There are about 60 tool libraries in the U.S., and most of them are on the West Coast. Ebert moved from Portland, Oregon, to Minneapolis two years ago, and began working with Zach Wefel on starting a tool library.

"It was kind of a surprise to me that there wasn't one in Minneapolis yet, especially considering all the crunchy, hippie, proactive, progressive communities that we have throughout the Twin Cities," Ebert said.

The two convinced the Windom Park Citizens in Action neighborhood group to set aside $35,000 to get the idea running.

Members will pay $55 a year for access to the Minneapolis tool library, and they could face late fees for not returning tools on time. They'll also be able to take discounted classes on topics such as woodworking.

Organizers say the library's location on Minneapolis' northeast side is ideal given the area's environmental focus and influx of young people looking to fix up old properties. Manager Gayle Bonneville says the group believes giving open access to tools will improve the look of the neighborhood.

"Fix-ups make it a more livable area — less eye sores," Bonneville said.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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The Associated Press

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