Tool Lending Library

Berkeley's Tool Lending Library (TLL) started in a trailer with one full-time employee and 500 tools back in 1979. TLL was one of the first libraries that would lend tools. TLL used focus groups to figure out what tools and services the community needed. At first, TLL was a free service to low-income residents with others paying a small fee. Voters in Berkeley passed a library tax that made the TLL a part of the library's operating budget. The TLL is now free and available to the community of Berkeley who must be 18 years or older. In 2013, the TLL moved from their home of trailers, with over 3,500 tools, to a newly renovated Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch. The TLL expanded their hours in 2019 and are now open six days a week. The TLL houses workshops on DIY projects, home maintenance, and gardening. Library card holders can check-out tools from 3 to 7 days (Tool Lending Library.

-Felipe Arida

Library on Wheels

Berkeley Public Library has found an innovative way to reach out to patrons from outside of the library. Library On Wheels or LOW is a unique program offered by Berkeley Public Library that allows for staff to offer assistance from a cart in various outside locations. While patrons can checkout a few select items from the cart, LOW is also used as an opportunity for staff to help patrons learn how to download library books on their digital devices. When requested the cart can visit public locations like schools, farmer's markets, parks and festivals. LOW is effective because it not only allows for people to check out library materials from outside of the library, but it gives great publicity to Berkeley Public Library. Many people want to learn how to use their library's digital collections but have not taken the time to come into a physical library to learn how. LOW provides people with the opportunity to finally learn how to use these resources in a time and place that is convenient for them. 

Paige Stringham


Berkeley Public Library. (n.d.). Tool Lending Library - a Brief History.

Berkeley Public Library. [Photograph] Retrieved from:

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(n.d) Library on wheels, Berkeley Public Library. Retrieved from: 

New Dream. (n.d.). The Berkeley Tool Lending Library. [Video]. YouTube.

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