Why We're Building a Creative Tool Lending Library

Sometimes creating is as joyful and easy as doodling on the envelope in front of you, but other times you need specialized equipment to create, to refine, and to share your work. People generate wonderful ideas all the time, but often lack the tools, mentorship, or accountability to make their ideas happen.

We’re building a creative tool lending library in Brooklyn as part of our coworking space, Makeshift Society. Tool lending libraries have been around for a while (here's a great intro, with links on how to start your own), but ours will be a little bit different, and suited to the kinds of tasks our folks want to take on. We cater to creative entrepreneurs (including you, freelancers), so the tools we'll loan out aren't shovels and chainsaws, but things like videocameras and plotters.

Trying to create beautiful linesheets for your product line? Grab a DSLR and light kit and take great product photographs. Want to document the changes in your neighborhood? Borrow a microphone and record a podcast with the neighbors and merchants. Designing a portfolio piece to show off your skills? Use InDesign in our editing suite, then bind the printed copies on our sewing machine.

It's exciting to provide tools to share with New Yorkers who have limited funds for things they won't use everyday or limited space to keep them in their apartments. As important as it is to fund the actual tools, however, the tools themselves are not the reason we're opening the library. We believe that sharing resources is an important part of knitting people together—it's an invitation to think about a different way of working together.

Where there are tools, there are also people who know how to use them. The knowledge of how to wield tools flourishes when it's available in the same place as the ability to make sense of what you're making. And being surrounded by a community of peers who are genuinely interested in what you're doing helps you retain your tenacity in the moments of confusion and doubt. Makeshift exists as a central place to find all of these resources, both the tools and the people you need to be your teacher, your partner, your street team.

We are rethinking how creative entrepreneurs develop and sustain their businesses by removing all of the barriers between you starting and finishing your projects. The creative process can be difficult enough, so why should we let anything else stand in the way?

Please support our Kickstarter campaign, and learn more about Makeshift's mission at

Image courtesy of Makeshift Society

This project is part of GOOD's series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.

Julian Meehan

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