Library of Things

What Is A Library of Things?

A library of things functions in the same way as a traditional lending library, but instead of books the library of things offers residents an opportunity to hire objects which they can’t or don’t want to buy. This could be almost anything, depending what each library of things chooses to stock - it could be gardening equipment, tools, camping gear, sporting equipment etc.


This system of community organising allows the community to lower its manufacturing emissions, consumption and waste. It’s therefore an excellent addition to any community climate action plan, and a great community circular economy scheme working on the premise, Borrow - don't buy!

Whilst a Library of Things can be a gamechanger for low income families, the scheme is open to everyone in the community. It’s not just about saving money (though who doesn’t enjoy that!), it’s about addressing our consumerism and acknowledging that together as a community we can reimagine how we live, work, and buy to lower our expenditure, consumption, and waste.

Benefits of a Library of Things

We already touched on some of the benefits of a library of things in the intro - namely reducing consumption and waste in the community, and by extension lowering manufacturing and transport emissions. But when you think about how much you actually use some items during their lifetime, you start to realise that it doesn’t make much sense to actually own one!


As an example, the average drill is used for only 13 minutes during its entire life cycle! Think about how many items you have at home collecting dust, which you rarely use, but don’t want to part company with…’just in case’. When you start looking at the things we view as ‘necessities’ from this perspective, community share schemes suddenly become the obvious and practical answer. 


Tackling the climate and ecological crisis will require new ways of living and working, and community ownership is an easy and logical first step. In turn, building collaborative communities through schemes like Sharing Libraries has the potential to vastly reduce consumption emissions, waste going to landfill (particularly of harmful tech and electronic products), and will have a huge impact on manufacturing emissions and the ecological degradation associated with the destructive processes in material extraction. 


In addition, a library of things ensures that the community members in low income areas have access to essential equipment that they may not be able to afford to buy. And furthermore, it means that residents who are struggling to store useful items have somewhere to keep their stuff, knowing that they’re not only helping their community but reducing emissions and waste across the planet. 

Library of Things Guildford

If you live in Guildford and you’re familiar with Libraries of Things then you probably know we already have one! It’s at Guildford Library, and it’s pretty popular! We are working together with Surrey Libraries to help expand the LoT and develop it's potential!


We’ll be collaborating across the inventory and helping to grow the project through community outreach. You can view the inventory here, and we will add more as we get ready to open the Zero Carbon Guildford climate emergency centre. 


(Note: Zero Carbon Guildford is still negotiating the lease on a building, so all collections are currently from Guildford Library, check back here or sign up to our mailing list to stay notified of developments on the LoT.

How To Use Guildford Library of Things

1. You'll need to join the library to borrow stuff, to do that click here.

2. From the 'Please Choose Your Branch' dropdown select Guildford Library, the click CONTINUE

3. On the next screen, enter your personal details in the required fields, and choose a 4 digit pin. Tick that you accept the user agreement, and click CREATE ACCOUNT

4. You're now a registered user of the library! Woop. 

5. Now go to the Library Of Things page.

6. Scroll down through the list of items, clicking on the 'thing' you want to reserve. This will take you to the item's reservation page.

7. Make sure you're logged in - the light blue box on the right of the screen will tell you. If it says 'Log IN', enter your library card number, and the 4-number pin you chose during the registration process. 

8. Once you're logged in, click the 'RESERVE' button the the right of the thing's image. 

9. You're done! Go to the library and collect. 

What Does This Project Achieve? 

Community Cohesion

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Emissions Reduction 

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Waste Reduction 

What Problem Is This Addressing?

We can't tackle the Climate Emergency without addressing consumption. The UK is the largest importer of emissions in the G7, with nearly 50% of our emissions being imported for UK consumption based consumption. 

It's easy for people to point at our falling emissions to pretend we are meeting our reduction targets, but in reality most of our emissions have simply been outsourced. 

When you hear people blame China for the climate crisis it's crucial to remember that China make most of the stuff - especially electronics - that the UK 'consumes'. Share schemes like a Library of Things are designed to reduce consumption and waste emissions, whilst building a collaborative community that understands the benefits of remodelling our consumption behaviour. 

How Can You Help?

If you have items that you think would be useful for a Library of Things please get in touch with us today, we’d love to give it a good home!


Not only will you declutter your life, but you’ll be helping your fellow Guildfordians whilst tackling climate breakdown. Win, win, win.

We always need volunteers, so if you're keen to support the Library of Things, or any of Zero Carbon Guildford's community schemes, get in touch