Things we may need but cannot afford: Hackney libraries find a way to let us hire them

KTs©DA13: hardware shop sign Kingsland Rd Dalston London E8 2013 ©
hardware©DAlib: © library of things ©
Top: section of sign at KTS, the Hackney hardware shop at 415 Kingsland Road, corner of Richmond Road, Dalston E8 4AU. Above: popular rentals

THE CLASSIC “if only I had the right tool” excuse could soon be obsolete in Hackney households.

The council has taken up the library of things idea to lend more than the usual DVDs, books (older readers know what they are), and CDs (ditto). 

From the CLR James Library near Dalston Junction and the old art deco baths in Hackney Wick, Eastway, Hackneyites will be able to borrow a variety of useful items, including a:

Dalston©20LibThings: © writer Dalston CLR James Library is to become a library of things (eg lending a vacuum cleaner). Paradoxically it now seems to contain nothing and is mostly closed bcs of the Covid-19 pandemic 080920
Window of opportunity? The CLR James is to be one of two outlets for a Hackney library of things

* sewing machine;

* jigsaw;

* cordless drill/lawnmower;

* carpet/vacuum cleaner;

* ladder;

* bread/waffle/ice-cream maker;

* tent/gazebo, ideal for gatherings of 5…(or are 6 allowed?). 

Prices will range from £1 a day for a wrench, to £28 for an on-bicycle movie camera (handy to film motorists endangering cyclists).

The council announced its library of things by placing a sign in the CLR’s library window, as if it were imminent. But the service will be delayed until (if?) our national leaders solve the virus crisis. Hackney libraries followed pandemic restrictions in spring this year 2020 and will still be strict after this lockdown. When the hire scheme starts, Loving Dalston will you via Twitter.

graffWick©DA14: © graffiti seen from Crate Brewery on REIver Lea / Lee HackneyWick London 240814
Hackney Wick, where the council wants to offer on-bike cameras — stuff to rent

The scheme is being offered in partnership with the Library of Things organisation and, says the council, is “supported by Sustainable Hackney”, a council outfit. Environmentalists might wonder about the sustainability of strimmers, hedge trimmers and pressure washers, all on offer. 

Sustainability councillor Jon Burke nevertheless links the scheme to climate action, saying “the library… forms part of the council’s radical action to tackle the climate emergency and reduce carbon emissions”.

The council gave Loving Dalston an assurance for book-borrowers and young people using the heated premises as study rooms that “when the library reopens, it will continue to offer the services available before lockdown”. The Library of Things would be installed in the ground-floor quick-pick area and items already there moved to other sections.

Hamish Scott 091120

* Backstory: Hackney drops black heroHow Loving Dalston alerted Hackney to threat to CLR James name; Glassed! Panes smash at troubled Dalston library 

* The CLR James Library, 24 Dalston Lane, Hackney E8 3BQ, is closed for building work if not Covid-19 restrictions. Disability access includes 2 lifts and is mostly good, but be warned, staircases are excessively narrow in parts. Usually only one non-gender toilet, is open to the public. The other site is the 1934-built former baths at 80 Eastway, Hackney Wick E9 5JH.

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