Seattle REconomy > Reservations

Checking things in and out

How does a tool library work?

Tool libraries are very similar to libraries, but instead of books, you're checking out tools! Below, we hope to explain to you how this process works, from checking out tools to using our reservations calendars. You may use the Table of Contents to skip around on the page, but we recommend giving this a full read-through for first time users.

Table of Contents

Checking In/Out Tools

The first step in this process is to make a membership, which you can learn more about here. We ask for an optional donation for your membership, which ranges from $0-$750, depending on what you are comfortable with.

Checking out a Tool

To check out a tool, gather your things at the front desk and let the volunteer at the front know you’re ready to check out. Once they’ve gotten your name and opened up your account, they’ll ask you for the numbers on your tools, which is how we inventory our items. After you’ve read through all of your tool numbers,  you’re good to go for a week! 

Checking in a Tool

Once you’re done with your tool(s), bring them on back to the return desk at the library you originally checked the tools out at. You can return tools by letting the return desk volunteer know the number on one of your tools. After they’ve got that first tool into the system, you can either read through your tools numbers or let them know what items you brought back. 

Practically every tool is free to borrow anytime, and the initial 1-week loan period can be continuously renewed up until a month. There are some exceptions though:

  • Chainsaws: We ask for a donation of $10 to keep up with repairs and blade sharpening. We also require a short safety class for liability reasons, so regardless of your experience, we will be running through a safety spiel with you. Here is a link to our Chainsaw Training.
  • Pressure Washers: We ask for a donation of $10 to keep up with common repairs. We also have a pressure washer spiel we like to give before people check them out. If you need any reminder, you can also view it here
  • Cider Presses: We ask for a donation of $10 to keep up with maintenance. We also ask that individuals reserve cider presses in-advance because of their popularity throughout the season. Learn more about that below.

Waitlist & Putting Tools on Hold

As a service to members, wait lists are available for already checked-out tools. This list changes seasonally and is not reflected in our online inventory in-stock status. Please email, call, or come in to place a request.

The wait-hold list fluctuates seasonally and often with the weather. In Spring it is the lawn mowers and string trimmers that go on this list. In the most of the Summer, it’s pressure washers. Potentially plan for short waits and/or loan periods if needing these items during those times of year. Roto-hammers,extension trimmers, and carpet cleaners are among other items that are often waited for. The online inventory DOES NOT reflect the holds on this list.

How it Works:

  • A “wait list” is created when someone would like to borrow a tool, but all tools of that type are currently checked out.
  • Any item with members waiting cannot be renewed. When it is returned, the person at the top of the waitlist is notified that a tool is being “held” for them. The member has through the next open day to pick up the item.
  • If the member fails to pick up the held item, then the next person waiting is notified. We do this because failure to pick up a tool means it just sits there unavailable to anyone for a couple of days
  • When a list has no more members waiting, then that wait-list is deleted, and any tools of that type will be first-come-first-served again like other tools.

Please Note: Items being held will continue to be listed as IN STOCK NOW in our online inventory, yet they may NOT be available for immediate checkout by members coming in. These items are not yet picked up. Any tool with a wait list is unavailable to walk-in members, regardless of what the on-line inventory says. Please call or send us an email to check on the actual availability of these tools. We are sorry for the inconvenience or confusion this may cause.

Reserving Tools (Event Items & Cider Presses)

There are some items that you have to make sure that you reserve. That would include our catering/party supplies and cider presses. We utilize a reservation system because these are not only popular, but we want to make sure that people return them on time so that others may use them.

How to Reserve a Cider Press/Event Item

The easiest way to reserve event items is through your Tool Library Account on MyTurn. You can search the inventory on our website, log into your account, and click “Reserve” to create a cart and add items that have reservations enabled. You can then set your pickup day if the item is available; each item has a calendar on its inventory listing with available dates. Once you submit your cart, it will go to our staff for approval and you will get an email confirmation.

Please pick up and return your items promptly based on your reservation dates. If you are having trouble reserving online, you can also either talk to the front desk about which items you are hoping to check out, send us an email, or call-in for our staff to create a reservation for you. Please let us know who you are, which item(s) you are reserving (by number if there are multiple), and the dates/time you want to reserve them for.

Available Cider Presses

Check out pictures of our presses on our online inventory under cider presses. Please make sure you return each cider press to its respective location.

NE Seattle Tool Library

  • 1072: A double barreled press with a mechanical crusher.
  • 2293: Our most popular press with one barrel and the crusher and press on one stand. Heavy and slightly bulky, better for mid sized to large cars
  • Big Bertha: This press needs to stay at the tool library but you are welcome to use it during out open hours.

Shoreline Tool Library

  • 2-Piece: The same as 2293 but the crusher and press are on two separate stands. Good for events with many people. Available with free standing crusher or smaller more portable crusher, great for if you have a smaller car.

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