Kareem Johnson | Digital Journalist

University City Tool Library Strategizes on Increasing Membership

By Kareem JohnsonEmail the author | April 13, 2011

This week’s meeting of the University City tool lending library was all about strategies to build awareness and recruit members.

Monday’s meeting was held at the St. Louis Bread Company in The Loop. It began with members checking in on their progress since the first meeting of the tool library in March. At that meeting, the group established what the benefits of having a tool library in University City would be, stating that individuals or families, young or old, could save money and save space by sharing green tools for the community at a lower cost.

Alice Floros, who is helping spearhead the tool lending program, said the North Philadelphia Tool Library has been very supportive of launching a tool library in the St. Louis area. Since launching the University City Tool Library page on Facebook, the group has amassed “likes” from several groups including St. Louis Earth Day.

One of the first issues addressed was proposing a survey that would get contact information, the types of tools needed, feedback on the library, and ask about a membership fee.

Among the short-term goals discussed was raising awareness and building membership. The group talked about developing pamphlets or postcards to distribute at events such as Fair-UCity, which is happening on Memorial Day weekend, and the Rain Garden block party on May 15. That party would be from noon to 3pm, near I-270 and Delmar, on Oakbrook Dr.

A time frame for developing a survey for distribution would be pegged to the Rain Garden block party.

The group also talked about developing a tool lending policy, including eventualities such as item breakage.

A kick-off party was also discussed, possibly at the Non Park at the corner of Olive and Kingsland.

Long term goals discussed include partnering with a nonprofit, or becoming a nonprofit. Some of the groups that would be likely candidates to collaborate with are  Beyond HousingHabitat for Humanity, and Architecture and Art schools of Washington University.

If the group took the route of becoming a nonprofit, the cost to do so would be around $400 in Missouri, and would involve considerable paperwork.

The group talked about developing a goals statement, policy regarding membership fees, whether to charge to “check-out” tools individually.

The next scheduled meeting of the University Tool Library is April 25, at 6pm at the St. Louis Bread Company in The Loop.

For more information on the group and meeting times you can contact Alice Floros at the University City Tool Library Facebook page.

 

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