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Borrow Don't Buy - Plymouth's Library of Things

Borrow Don't Buy is a Library of Things based in Plymouth. A Library of Things is a place where you can borrow items that you need to use, but might not need to own. 

Contacts details

Address:Fairbairn House
Higher Lane
Telephone number: No phone number, please email us

We have a diverse inventory with items from camping equipment to power tools, DIY tools and craft equipment. We want to help our members save money, reduce clutter and reduce our carbon footprint while strengthening our community. Most importantly, by sharing more items within our community we increase our resilience and wellbeing. 

Our mission is for everyone to have access to the stuff they need, without it costing the earth. We have loads of resources, knowledge and skills in Plymouth, we just need to share them more. A Library of Things is a place to bring people together and encourage everyone to do so. 

During 2017 we researched the concept of the Library of Things around the world. The USA and Canada have over 40 Libraries of Things and have been pioneers in the creation and development of this sharing scheme. This concept has gradually moved to Europe and by the time we opened Borrow Don't Buy (February 2018) there were 5 Library of Things in the UK (London, Edinburgh, Frome, Cardiff, Totnes). In the past 3 months, Bath and Oxford have opened their own Library of Things. During September 2017 we ran a crowd funding campaign and managed to rise £11.109 in 35 days. We had 150 supporters and we received match funding from Plymouth City Council and Santander Changemaker Fund. Crowd funding meant not only a way to gather the funds needed to set up the project but a proof of concept and market research for our future audience. It gave us the funds, mandate and "approval" of our Council to start up the project.

Today Borrow Don't Buy has over 350 items and more than 300 members. We have completed 500 loans already and over 80% of our inventory are items donated by our community. We do have a hierarchy of acquisition when we need to add items to our inventory. For safety reasons, we had to buy some new items (power tools) but when needed to do so we bought good quality brands that provide spares and are easily fixable. Our top 5 borrowed items are related to home improvements (carpet cleaner, pressure washer, drills, sanders, strimmer). By providing affordable access to tools to improve our homes, we will have a direct impact on a household's wellbeing as well.

Price: Between £1 and £30
Based: Plymouth
  • Tuesdays, 10am to 8 pm
  • Thursdays, 10 am to 6 pm
  • Everyone, regardless of age

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