Power tools to the people! Denver is getting a tool library

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Photo: Denver Tool Library founder Sarah Steiner
Denver Tool Library founder Sarah Steiner with the yellow bolt cutters she found in the street to start the library's collection.

We've all been there. You’re working on a project around the house, and you need that one tool to finish the job.

In some cities, you could visit a tool library where you could borrow what you need and get some tips on how to use it. Boulder already has a one, and Denverites could have one early next year.

Sarah Steiner is launching Denver’s Tool Library to help people get the job done.

"There's probably a lot of people out there who think they’re not handy, or that they can't do these things themselves. And we really want them to come and get with another member of the community who has these skills and learn how easy it is, how capable they are," Steiner says.

She says a bit of divine inspiration convinced her to try to create the tool library.

"Well, we really liked the idea of having a tool library, but we weren't sure if we were the ones to make it happen. So one day we said, out loud, 'Universe! If you give us a really really good sign, we'll go for it. We'll do everything we can to make the Denver Tool Library real.' "

And about 10 minutes later, Steiner and her partner received the sign they requested while driving down Kalamath Street.

"My partner saw something in the road. We looped back, hopped out, and there, in the center of three lanes of traffic, was 10 pounds of heavy-duty vintage metal sign-from-the-freakin'-universe, in the form of these yellow bolt cutters," she says. "No denying that!"

The library aims to be a resource for do-it-yourselfers in need of a particular tool, and for Denver's growing community of so-called "makers" -- hobbyists and craftspeople who will be able to use the space as a workshop and a place to meet others and share what they know.

Steiner said that could lead to some unusual collaborations. "A lot of people have volunteered to do a chicken coop building workshop or something like that," she says. "We'd love to do those on-site."

The library is launching an online fundraising campaign next month, and hopes to open early next year.