There are so many ways to help the Minnesota Tool Library grow and reach its goals. If you have a specific way you'd like to be involved, please let us know.
Become a Member
Sign up over the web is possible! NOTES: 1) This can only be completed with a credit card. 2) Please enter your drivers license number in the “Address Notes” field.
Please follow this link: Online Membership Sign-Up.
Residents can sign up in person at either tool library. The application takes about 3 minutes to complete and we’ll give you a tour of the shop. Please bring:
1. Identification Card (Drivers License or State identification card)
2. Means of Payment (Cash, Check, Credit Card)
The Minnesota Tool Library has a variety of membership levels and provides:
- Access to over 2,400 tools in our inventory for a 7 day period (renewals upon availability)
- Access to a 500 square-foot workshop – a building space where you can make, build or repair whatever you like!
- Some levels provide a 20% discount on educational classes.
- General access to tool & project advice.
- Connection to a do-it-yourself community of builders.
- Reduction of your environmental footprint through using fewer resources.
- New skills for your household, for your community.
When purchased, a MTL membership can be used by any resident of the household who is:
1. Listed on the membership account
2. Over the age of 18
3. Is in agreement with the MTL safety protocol (signed waiver).
Also, tools can be borrowed immediately upon signing up for membership.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Who can use the MTL?
Anyone with an MTL membership! Users must be 18 years of age or older and be listed on the membership account. Residents need not live in near a location to become a member.
How much does a membership cost?
Our membership levels are here.
What’s included with a membership?
The offerings vary somewhat by level, but in general members are offered:
- Access to full inventory of tools
- Access to Open Shop workspace
- 20% discount on educational workshops for some membership levels
- Connection to DIY community
- Tool advice and resources
- Reduction of resource consumption (A chance to single-handedly save the planet!)
How long can I keep a tool?
Upon check out, tools must be returned in 7 days.
What happens if I return a tool late?
Tools returned after their return due date will incur a late fee, which varies among tool types.
Can I only return a tool during hours of operation?
Yes. Tools can be returned during Tool Library hours and Open Shop hours, but must be received on or before their due date.
Do I need to clean a tool before returning it?
Yes, tools should be returned in the same condition as they were during checkout. If they are returned dirty or worn beyond a reasonable expectation, a fee may be assessed.
What happens if I return a tool damaged or broken?
Members that do not return a tool (or return in unrepairable condition through obvious neglect for proper usage) will be asked to pay the full replacement value of the tool. If damaged through what appears to be the normal use of the tool, a determination for repair/replacement options will be made.
Can I reserve tool for later check out?
What tools are available?
Tools available can be viewed on the Tool Inventory page of this website.
Are their instructions on how to use the tools available?
Some tools will come with a brief training, others with safety instructions.
Can a small business owner use tools from the tool library?
Yes, we hope to afford small business owners the ability to grow their business, take on more clients and perhaps even create more jobs for the community. That said, we will hold business owners to the same standard of proper tool usage as individual checking out tools for home use (ie – tools should not be returned with excessive wear).
If there’s a tool I need that isn’t in the tool inventory, can I request it to be ordered?
Absolutely! We aim to be responsive to our members needs. We will have to review our needs and financial capacity, of course, but multiple members are seeking the same item, there’s a good chance we’ll aim to add it to our inventory. We also are developing many organizational partnerships that expands our members’ options for accessing the tools they need.
What is the Open Shop?
This is our space dedicated to members needing a space to construct something away from home. We offer hundreds of hand tools and dozens of power tools to help you build things safely, effectively and easily. And we have folks on site to help if you have questions or need advice.
If I’m working on a project in the Open Shop, can I keep it there until I finish?
Currently, we are limited in the amount of space we have for storage, but it is our hope to acquire space for this purpose. Nonetheless, we may be able to make arrangements on a case-by case basis.
What if I hurt myself in the Open Shop?
We have First Aid onsite and always have shop attendees to help when needed.
I have a specific skill I’d like to learn, how do I go about suggesting the workshop?
Let us know! We are always wanting to know what our members and others in the community would like to learn about.
Partner with Us
We are always seeking out additional partners as we make the tool library as responsive as possible to our community needs. Partnerships can come in many forms:
- Partners to help us meet our financial goals
- Partners to assist in providing excellent educational opportunities
- Partners to aid in obtaining project materials
- Partners who can support us with our tool acquisition goals
- Partners who can offer additional promotional assistance
We aim to serve the community and cannot do it without you. We need all types of volunteers. If you have time and want to make decisions about the way we run the Tool Library, you can join one of our many committees. If you want to help just for a day on a specific project, contact us and we will email you when we need help.
One time Events: Contact us and we will email you when we need volunteers for a few hours. Some examples are tabling at an event, helping us at a party in our space, helping at a tool drive or a work day at the tool library to organize or paint.
We aim to serve the community and cannot do it without you. We need folks to help with:
- Organizing and maintaining our space
- Checking in new and/or donated tools
- Maintaining tools
- Lending expertise in building, creating, imagining, fixing and telling jokes
- Teaching classes
- Working with our committees: Fundraising & Finance, Partnerships & Outreach, Programming, and Tool Inventory
Because you want to be part of the community you live in, you want to have a fuller connection to the people around, and you have something to share. It may be a unique skill passed down from your family, a few decades of experience in a trade, or perhaps a simple interest in learning something new.
Whatever the reason, you will make an impact in your community. You will make a connection where there wasn’t one before, you’ll share something that was lacking earlier and you’ll find a skill you didn’t know you could possess. This will lead to a stronger, more connected and more skilled community. One project at a time.
Join a Committee or Attend a Meeting
We have several committee meetings you can attend. They are held every month and each is led by a member of the board of directors. If you’d like to be involved with how the tool library is developed, please consider attending a meeting for one of these groups:
MTL Board of Directors
The MTL board of directors is the overarching decision maker for the Tool Library. They set the budget, determine membership fee structure and do strategic planning for the Tool Library. MTL board meetings are open to the public and are on our calendar. Please join us! Within the constraints of the meeting agenda, we will do our best to engage you in the meeting, encouraging your questions and suggestions.
Email email@example.com if you wish to attend a meeting.
Local Advisory Boards (LAB's)
Every branch has a Local Advisory board (LAB). LAB members are voted in by the membership of that branch. The LAB makes decisions about its branch. They help organize the tools, they make decisions about what tools will be purchased at that branch. LAB members are required to be on at least one other committee.
Outreach and Partnerships
They seek out business sponsorships. They organize and publicize our many events that we either host or attend. We host parties at our space as well as attend events such as Protype Days at the Science Museum or Maker Faire at the State Fair Grounds. We have had fundraising events at breweries. The success of these events started with the Outreach committee and of course the volunteers that help on the day of these events. This committee is also tasked with keeping our social media relevant.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend a meeting.
Besides lending out tools, the MN Tool Library has workshop space. We want to provide training of all kinds to the community in our space. This Committee is tasked with finding qualified instructors and providing relevant workshops at all the branches. The goal is to have at least 4 workshops per month. Because both branches are only open 12 hours a week, there is lots of opportunity to have more workshops in our space.
Email email@example.com if you wish to attend a meeting
Tool Inventory Committee
This Committee runs tool drives, sells extra tools, makes decisions about which tools should go in which locations. They also help maintain tools and make recommendation to the MTL board on which tools to buy.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to join this committee.
Fundraising and Finance
Currently much of our funding is through grants and donors. The fundraising and finance committee finds and submits grants on behalf of the MN Tool Library. They also oversee the budget and pay the bills.
Email email@example.com if you wish to attend a meeting.
Membership committee is tasked with helping grow the MTL membership. They make recommendations to the MTL Board on how to grow a diverse membership base. They provide numbers to the board as to how the membership is changing.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend a meeting.