Posted by: bluesyemre | May 1, 2016

How #Libraries — Yes, Libraries — Are Helping People Ditch Stuff They Don’t Need


PORTLAND, ME – OCTOBER 11: The Maine Tool Library allows subscribers to utilize any of the tools and other items that they stock in their Anderson Street store room. Peggy Grodinsky looks to check out a meat grinder, one of hundreds of items availabe at the library. (Photo by John Ewing/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Libraries are “the original sharing economy.” Have you ever checked out a sewing machine from your local library? What about a guitar or a 3D printer? If you haven’t, you might soon.

Public libraries across the country are housing so-called “libraries of things,” from which people can borrow useful items for a short time instead of buying them outright. This is a largely hidden feature of the growing “sharing economy,” but it may be poised to take off as many Americans become increasingly concerned about waste and environmental sustainability.

“There is definitely a growing trend in this direction,” Saif Benjaafar, professor of engineering and director of the sharing economy initiative at the University of Minnesota, told The Huffington Post. “In the long run, I expect the ownership of many categories of products to go down, in favor of accessing these products on an on-demand basis.”

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