Apr 13, 2016

Soon, with a library card and proof that you are Richmond resident, you will not only be able to check out books in the city but also circular saws and electrical sanders.

As early as the end of May, Richmond is poised to receive its first Tool Library, set to be located at the Richmond Recreation Complex at 3230 Macdonald Ave.

The project is the brainchild of Kiana Ward (pictured) and Guadalupe Morales, who have been helping administer Richmond’s AmeriCorps VISTA Love Your Block mini-grant program. The various mini-grants have been funding small but impactful community improvement projects in the city that address blight, from an interactive art installation at the Richmond BART Station to a multi-pronged effort to address illegal dumping in North Richmond. Ward and Morales have been leveraging volunteers, nonprofits and local businesses to make the projects happen.

While administering the projects, the pair has seen the benefits of free tool access for locals working on projects. They believe having the resource available to all Richmond residents will assist and inspire the maintenance and enhancement of homes and community spaces.

“Not many people have an extra $400 lying around to purchase tools like cement mixers and table saws to fix their homes and neighborhoods” Ward said. “If we can lend these tools to our residents free of charge, we’ll encourage our residents to take collective ownership and reduce blight in our neighborhoods together.”

For the past few months, Morales and Ward have collected tool donations from individuals, labor unions (pictured below are tools donated by Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 342), neighborhood groups, and big name stores like OSH and Home Depot, resulting in over $10,800 worth of tools, storage, and in-kind support.

Similar tool libraries are also used in Berkeley and Oakland. About 60 operate or will soon open across the nation, Morales and Ward said.

On Tuesday, a crowdfunding campaign for the project was launched here and on Facebook, with the goal of completing the inventory of power tools and furnishings for the library. The campaign’s aim is to raise $12,598.


  1. Our crowdfunding campaign is now LIVE!!!


    We absolutely cannot make this work without your help! For the cost of one weedwacker ($50) you could have access to 10 types of weedwackers plus any other tool you could possibly think of. Donate today!! #BetterRichmondToolgether

    Kiana Ward | Apr 14th, 2016
  2. Apologies!! Here is the correct link! Please comment for questions/suggestions/concerns! https://www.ioby.org/project/richmond-tool-library

    Kiana Ward | Apr 14th, 2016

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.