Q. how does this whole situation work?

A. If you want your toolbox to include every tool that can fit into a 1000 square foot room, sign up for a membership! You choose what your membership costs and we provide access to a large collection of tools for you to borrow.

Q. what if i don’t know anything about tools?

A. That’s great! The Chicago Tool Library is a space to ask questions, get advice, and try new things. You do not need to be an expert to borrow tools or visit us - a library is for everyone.


Q. do you have workshop space?

A. We do not currently have shop space. We will host basic safety trainings and tool repairs in the library and we will partner with makers in spaces around the city to host workshops. We hope to have workshop space available to our members in the future!

Q. what does it cost to check out tools?

A. In order to check out tools you must be a member of the tool library. Membership fees are one-time annual payments set on a sliding scale. We suggest $1 for every $1,000 of annual income (eg. if your annual income is $50,000 we suggest a $50 annual membership). You don’t need to prove your income - we use the honor system. Once you have a membership you will not make any other payments to check out tools - except for late fees if you incur them!


Q. how do i become a member?

A.  To become a member you must be a resident of the city of Chicago. You will then fill out a membership application on our website or at the Tool Library during our business hours and pay an annual membership fee.

Q. where do the tools come from?

A.  Our inventory will be comprised of tools that are donated to the Tool Library by generous individuals, as well as tools that we purchase. Tools are owned and maintained exclusively by The Chicago Tool Library and we will not house tools on-loan from individuals. In the same way a public book library provides commonly-used materials for the community to take home, our tool library will house common tools, ready for the wear-and-tear of frequent use.

Q. what kinds of tools will you have?

A.  We have a broad definition of what makes a “tool”. Our inventory will include a broad range of tools and equipment for building, fixing, and creating. We hope to have everything from drills and tile cutters to sewing machines, microphones, and food dehydrators.

Q. Can i give you some of my old tools?

A.  Absolutely you can! Check out our Donate Page to see how you can donate your tools.

Q. are you a nonprofit?

A.  Yes! We are an officially incorporated nonprofit organization with 501(c)3 federal tax-exempt status.