Indiana Daily Student

Toolshare program aided by MLK grant

Workers at the Center for Sustainable Living attempt to revive the late Glenn Carter’s tool supply.
Workers at the Center for Sustainable Living attempt to revive the late Glenn Carter’s tool supply.

From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, volunteers at the Center for Sustainable Living will soak tools in pink and green plastic tubs before wiping them down, scrubbing them off and oiling them up so they’re ready to use in CSL’s new tool library.

The CSL’s Community Toolshare Tool Spiffing Days will begin on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and work days will continue for the rest of the week at various times.

The Glenn Carter Memorial Toolshare is a program within CSL.

The program was started last year by several board members and friends of Glenn Carter, who died in late 2014.

Carter owned thousands of tools and liked to teach people how to use them, said Tom Greenwood, a member of the Toolshare Board of Trustees.

“He would teach you anything ... Glenn was a helpful person,” he said. “I would like to see this thing become an extension of that idea.”

Board members and volunteers have been working on getting the library ready for several months, but it hasn’t been easy, said Andrea Koenigsberger, member of both CSL and the Toolshare Board of Trustees.

They’re still figuring out how they will keep track of inventory and take care of the tools. Many are rusty and need a good scouring with soap and WD-40, Koenigsberger said. That’s why the Board of Trustees decided to ask volunteers for help.

The program received a grant from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, Koenigsberger said. Because the amount of grant money awarded is dependent on the number of volunteers they can recruit, she said the group needs at least 100 volunteers.

“The city gave out so many of these grants that everyone is competing for volunteers,” she said, and that’s why the group is putting on a week’s worth of volunteer days.

Ryan Conway, another CSL and Board of Trustees member, said they were using “horrible things” like industrial solvents to clean the tools, which they realized were not friendly to the environment. Volunteers will only use dish liquid, vinegar and baking soda, Conway said.

“A lot more elbow grease and a lot less caustic 
chemicals,” Greenwood said.

Once the tools are cleaned and inventoried, they can go on the shelves that have been built for the library, which are stationed in the CSL building. Koenigsberger said they plan to put together toolkits for anyone to use and start the library by putting out more basic tools.

“Glenn put his shop together over decades ... he knew how to take care of it, and he knew what he was doing,” Greenwood said. “It’ll take us a while to get up to speed. We’re going to start smaller and work our way up.”

People often don’t have enough money to pay someone to fix their things, Greenwood said.

Knowledge isn’t easy to gain, either. He said he hopes the tool library will knock down certain barriers — like the cost and potential danger — that prevent people from fixing their own possessions.

“My hope is that it grows into something that empowers people to empower themselves,” 
Greenwood said.

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