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.”