By Dayna Mahannah
VANCOUVER – A lending library of things – that’s what a Thingery is, and it could be just around the corner (from where you live).
A non-profit co-operative functioning from a modified shipping container, The Thingery is like the neighbour who has everything: camping gear, tools, a power washer, even snowshoes. This model of shared resources aims to provide communities a tailored way to borrow “things.”
Chris Diplock, who co-founded The Tool Library in 2011, sought to expand on the idea of community-based sharing, and subsequently developed The Thingery. With a far more diverse arsenal of “things” beyond solely tools, the co-op is owned by members of the community, whose input narrates what equipment and recreational items are stocked and available for rental.
“Through research with The Sharing Project and my experience with The Tool Library,” Diplock says, speaking to BeatRoute near his home in East Vancouver, “[it became clear] that centralized sharing models like our public libraries and tool libraries work really well because someone is looking after the stuff. There is this consistency and reliability.”
Run by solar power, The Thingery has two active locations in the Grandview-Woodland and Sunrise-Hastings neighbourhoods, with a third set to open at the Arbutus Greenway in Kitsilano this fall.
“When I moved here, every once in a while I’d get invited on a trip,” Diplock recalls. “I would try to get outdoor stuff… It’s a lot of money. [I would] just want to borrow one [piece] for a little bit.” This sentiment underlies The Thingery’s intent to resonate with people who just moved into the neighbourhood and need to set up their new home. “When you engage in a project and you do it yourself, you develop a sense of pride and it’s very empowering,” Diplock adds. “I think that’s what it brings out in people.”
The future possibilities of the lending library are infinite. To further connect the community and demonstrate the value of what the Thingery has to offer, regular events will be organized – bike tune-ups, park clean-ups, movie nights – utilizing the equipment on hand.
The co-op model is something new for many neighbourhoods. An initial membership fee gives people lifetime access to The Thingery and is an investment in owning a share of the lending library site. But Diplock recognizes a lasting value in moving towards de-centralized public infrastructure.
“It identifies that the community wants to have a say in how public space is used,” he says. “That’s inspiring.”
For more information about The Thingery or to become a member, visit thethingery.com or call them at 1-866-418-0933.the thingery, Vancouver Public Library