One of the greatest things about the Ottawa Tool Library is that it has created a vibrant, friendly community of members. Our members come here, not just to borrow a tool, but also to share stories, learn from each other and make new friendships. No matter what level of experience you have, the Ottawa Tool Library has always been a place to learn, share and empower each other. Humans of the Tool Library is a collection of stories from our members and volunteers. Check back as we add new stories!
Click on a thumbnail to learn more about one of the fantastic folks who make the Ottawa Tool Library what it is!
“I grew up with people in my family who sewed – my grandmother and my mother. I used to sit very impatiently on my grandmother’s little sewing stool waiting for her to make something for me. I couldn’t wait to learn how to do it. By grade 9, I was making most of my own… Read More »Sylvie – Event Volunteer
“I used to have every hobby in the book. But then I was moving and I didn’t want to bring all of the stuff that you need for each hobby! So I decided to choose one and I thought sewing was the most useful. I’ve learned a lot about repair and about clothing construction –… Read More »Rebecca – Event Volunteer
Julie-Anne has been volunteering with us for the past year “I’ve been volunteering with the tool library for a year now. Right before I left for Europe to go backpacking for 8 weeks, I took the bike workshop. I had never learned to properly change a tire, I would always just replace the tube instead… Read More »Julie-Anne – Event Volunteer
For our second Humans of OTL Series, we interviewed Ali! Ali Aldosary, a fixer and scrapper since childhood, tells us his view on consumerism. Click to watch!
Welcome to our first Humans of OTL Series interview! Carly, a volunteer at the OTL, puts into words the underlying differences between work and volunteer work. Click below to watch!
Annie mending at one of our Repair Cafés “I’ve been sewing basically forever. My dad taught me how to hand-stitch and I’ve picked up things from sharing tips with other sewers and watching YouTube videos. I like being able to rely on my own two hands. In highschool I used to make a lot of… Read More »Annie – Fixer at Repair Cafés
Rose – a great supporter of the Tool Library and Repair Cafés! “I believe the Repair Café is an awesome initiative which enables participants to appreciate the value of their home goods and electrical products a lot more while avoiding unnecessary waste. Through the Repair Café, participants have an opportunity to give the home items they… Read More »Rose – Participant at Repair Café
“I’ve been helping the Tool Library for about two years. I’m a general contractor and I started my own business just over a year ago. My free time is spent building! A friend had sent me a link to the Tool Library, thinking I might be interested in volunteering for an event. I actually knew… Read More »Jake – Repair Café Fixer
“I’ve been volunteering here since June 2017. I was looking for somewhere to volunteer in the city and I found the Tool Library. I really liked the idea of a tool library – people who have apartments and condos don’t need to buy table saw or a planer, so yeah, I wanted to help out! There have… Read More »Jason – Tool Ninja and Librarian
Emily joined the folds of the tool library volunteer team early on while using her painting skills during the building of our tool library in the summer of 2015. Over the last two years she has become a highly valued member of our core team and has been responsible for many OTL events such as… Read More »Emily – (Former) OTL Programming Coordinator
“This is my second time volunteering for a Repair Café. I like the challenge of fixing a whole bunch of things in one day. I remember after the last Repair Café, I went home and the things that I didn’t fix kind of haunted me afterwards! But most of the fixes are a success, which… Read More »Matthew – Fixer at our Repair Cafés
“I joined last fall, so I’ve been volunteering for roughly more than a year. I came to the Tool Library one time for an open house and my wife was quite impressed with it. I was looking for a place where I could donate my wood working tools into a common space and we could… Read More »David – Tool Ninja
Community member learning how to mend his pants! #teamwork “I work down the street for an organization called Sustainable Eastern Ontario. It supports environmental non-profits. We actually wrote a letter for OTL when they were applying to the Trillium Foundation for the funding to do the Repair Cafes. At that time I thought oh that’s… Read More »Kathryn – Fixer at our Repair Café
Tool Ninja Bob with our BOB Award! “My buddy Kevin, who is the chief of the tool ninjas has been doing volunteer work here for several years. He convinced me to come out here and he thought it was going to be right up my alley. And sure enough, it is. I’m retired but I… Read More »Bob – Tool Ninja
Al – Fixer extraordinaire “I needed a tool and didn’t want to buy it – it was too expensive, so I came to OTL to borrow one. On my first visit they told me more about the tool library and “recruited” me as a volunteer! I’m now also helping out as a tool ninja and… Read More »Al – Fixer at our Repair Café
Our Tool Ninja Kevin who brings in the most delicious muffins for his shifts at OTL. “I’ve been volunteering with the tool library for almost two years. I became a volunteer as a consequence of a friend of mine passing away. His wife asked for me to do something with all of his tools. So… Read More »Kevin – Tool Ninja Coordinator, AKA the muffin man
Debbie with Jake fixing her wind chime “I’ve been following the tool library on Facebook for months because I think it’s a great idea – I don’t like to throw anything out, if I can have it repaired. I’m not handy myself so I don’t have all the tools and I have limited space so… Read More »Debbie – participant at our Repair Café
Alex: “We became members of the tool library a couple years ago … and little did he know I was thinking of making an engagement ring for him since I knew that an engagement ring for me was coming sometime soon. Ryan’s family had recently replaced a couple of planks on their 1960’s mahogany boat… Read More »Alex and Ryan – members
“I’m not that familiar with machines and it’s kind of nice to come here where people know what they’re doing. So when you turn on a machine you’re reasonably confident that you’ll end up with all your fingers by the end of it!” Judy used our Maker Day and Maker Night in December to make… Read More »Judy – Member