Mission & impact

Library of Things is on a mission to make borrowing better than buying.

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More affordable & convenient

90% of borrowers say they now have more money to spend on things important to them.

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More socially rewarding

75% of borrowers feel better connected to their community because of Library of Things.

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Kinder to the planet

Having used Library of Things, borrowers are 60% more likely to repair or recycle items.

What can I do at my local Library of Things? 

Why are we doing it?

In a nutshell, consumerism isn’t working…

For individuals – incomes & living spaces are squeezed, especially in urban areas.

For the planet – if everyone in the world consumed resources at the rate we do in the UK, we would need 3.5 planets to sustain us!

For communities – 1 in 5 people in the UK are sometimes or always lonely. High streets are struggling, and community spaces like libraries are increasingly asked to do more with less.

Story so far

We were 3 close friends when we started Library of Things. We tested the idea for 2 years+ in our South London neighbourhood, inspired by similar ventures in Berlin & Toronto. We put in 000s of hours between us, unpaid, because we saw how powerful it was when neighbours became friends & local spaces became home. When a shared collection of high quality Things unlocked experiences for everyone.

Chapter 1: The Shoestring Pilot
It all started in a library near our home in West Norwood, South London, where we tested the idea with our neighbours

Chapter 3: The Replicable Model
Having received requests from across the UK (‘help us start a Library of Things!’), we worked with Crystal Palace Transition Town & Upper Norwood Library Hub to develop a replicable version of Library of Things – a self-serve kiosk with the ongoing Thing management taken care of, which ‘plugs in’ to any community space.

Chapter 2: The Demonstrator
We then tested the idea more fully, testing out 400+ Things from 2 shipping containers with 1000+ borrowers over 18 months. With a team of local people, we put in hundreds of volunteer hours to make it happen – it was wonderful, and tiring!

What next?

Library of Things is currently open in beta mode in Crystal Palace, South London.

We’re growing the movement! We are actively looking for London-based local residents and spaces who want to start and host a Library of Things with their neighbourhood. Read more and express your interest.

We’re raising investment. We’re raising £1 million from social investors committed to our mission to make borrowing better than buying. This will fund our tech development and help us grow the movement across London and beyond. Email us to find out more.

We’re developing technology. We know that the success of Library of Things depends on the technology that we can create. View our roadmap to learn more about our plans.

Social enterprise

Library of Things Ltd is a social enterprise in line with the definition set out by the Social Enterprise Mark. It is a private company limited by shares (company no. 11804306), with:

  • A mission lock. A Guardian share is held by the non-profit company Things Trust (company no. 9516649), keeping Library of Things Ltd accountable to its mission

  • A 51% profit lock. We’re committed to re-investing at least 51% of all profits are directly back into the social enterprise and the delivery of the mission