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2021: Year in Review

Charlotte, December 16, 2021

Here are our highlights from the last 12 months

Well, it has been one rollercoaster of a year. But there's lots to celebrate in the world of borrowing and our communities too.

We started 2021 in lockdown with one Library of Things in Crystal Palace. Thanks to all of your support and some hard work from our fabulous partners, team and suppliers, we're now open in six locations across London!

Despite the fact we've only been open in most locations for a few months, so many of you have already given borrowing a go. You've got stuck into some amazing projects and it has been wonderful to hear about how you've supported your communities along the way.

Here are some of our highlights of the last twelve months...

We welcomed five new Library of Things to London this year... Morden in March,

Hackney Wick in May, Kentish Town in September, Finsbury Park in November and Dalston in December. That's six in total with our first location Crystal Palace too!

That's right, over 1000 of you borrowed with us this year, which is pretty amazing considering Crystal Palace didn't re-open until March along with Morden's launch due to lockdown!

In some parts of the country, that's enough for a deposit on a house! Although probably not in London...let's be realistic. How did we figure out this one you may ask? After you've borrowed, we send you a feedback survey. In that survey, we ask you "If you hadn't been able to get this Thing from LoT, do you think you would have got it from somewhere else, and if so, where?" From that, we've been able to estimate that one in four borrows prevents a purchase. Remember you can always check how much you've personally saved through borrowing by logging into your profile.

This is probably our favourite stat of this year: we've offset Santa's travels around the UK and then some! That's right, the big man and his reindeers are estimated to emit 22 tonnes of CO2 whilst they're delivering presents around the country. But fear not, by borrowing rather than buying we've saved 25 tonnes of CO2 so no need to feel too guilty about that present under the tree.

Six Library of Things wouldn't have been possible without our partners in each community giving the kiosks a home, funding the installation and spreading the word locally. A big thanks to these lot:

Morden – in partnership with Sustainable Merton, Merton Council and Morden Library

Hackney Wick – in partnership with Sustainable Hackney, Civic State and London Legacy Development Corporation

Kentish Town – in partnership with Think and Do Camden, Camden Council and Kentish Town Library

Finsbury Park – in partnership with Bright Sparks Reuse & Repair (Digibridge CIC) and Islington Council

Dalston – in partnership with Sustainable Hackney, Hackney Council and Dalston CLR James Library

And of course we continue to work with our brilliant partners in Crystal Palace – Upper Norwood Library Hub and Crystal Palace Transition Town.

We're also super grateful to lots of local businesses who have made space for some of our flyers, helping people in the community to discover Library of Things whilst they're out and about browsing, shopping or grabbing a coffee.

Our Community Activator Seb was lucky enough to meet one of Wimbledon's most famous exports...The Wombles! Well, one of them anyway. Seb also told us it was his highlight of the year!

Who's been borrowing what, where?

You've shared some fantastic borrower stories and projects you've worked on with Things you've borrowed and we've loved hearing about them so we can give inspiration to other borrowers!

In the South, Crystal Palace and Morden are keen gardeners

Our community partners Sustainable Merton borrowed the Strimmer for a local project to transform Mitcham Community Orchard back in April when we first opened.

Anna borrowed the Hedge Trimmer to tidy up her garden and her neighbour's too!

...and party entertainers!

Merton Libraries borrowed the Gazebo. And despite the weather, the local community turned out in force to see the lights switched on and to usher in the festive season! There was carol singing, mince pies and some extra sparkle provided by special guest Vanity Milan!

Claire hired the gazebo for her son’s 14th birthday. He invited three of his friends over for an afternoon of gaming, pizza, and a movie.

In the East, Hackney Wick are keen DIY'ers Borrowing tools accounted for nearly 30% of overall borrows in Hackney Wick. We're smiling just thinking about all the DIY projects that got completed as a result...like Henry who borrowed the Drill to put together a table from some old pallets, and the Hand Sander to smooth down a handmade bookshelf.

In the North, Finsbury Park and Kentish Town have been busy cleaning

Here's our very first borrower in Kentish Town, Pierre collecting Halle the Heavy Duty Pressure Washer. He cleaned the paving and walls in his garden!

And Finsbury Park partner and host Bright Sparks recently borrowed the Carpet Cleaner for a customer who bought furniture from their store

Even squeezing a game or two in between...

Here's a snap of Sam and Charlotte from the team battling it out on Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64 we introduced to our Thing mix a couple of months ago. We'd love to see some more stories from you gamers in Kentish Town!

Thanks for making this year great! Here's a festive family photo of some of the Library of Things team - we were lucky enough to have an early (safe) Christmas get together. Our team has grown from 12 to 24 in only a year!

Keep your eye out for what's coming up in 2022 because we've got some exciting news for you on the way...