Asheville Tool Library Mission & Vision
The Asheville Tool Library’s mission is to provide low-cost access to a wide range of tools, literature, and knowledge to citizens of western NC.
The community-driven project aims to empower individuals and the community at large through affordable access to resources that encourage sustainability, rehabilitation, creativity, entrepreneurship, livability, and community development in Western NC. The Asheville Tool Library will directly address the issue of socio-economic inequality that exists in Western NC by providing low/no cost access to tools, education, and other resources to all members of our community.
The Asheville Tool Library was conceptualized in 2013 by Nick Letts, Julian Dominic, and Tom Llewellyn. They spent the next two and half years building community support and enough financial backing to start moving from concept to a real-life functioning tool library.
Between 2015 and 2016, all three of the original founders moved away from Asheville and the project was handed over to Ben Harper and Kara Sweeney, who opened the doors in April of 2016. Ben and Kara did an amazing job of attracting members as well as a team of highly dedicated volunteers.
In early 2017 Nick moved back to Asheville and jumped back into helping the Asheville Tool Library grow. With diligent work from the three of them, many volunteers, and the support of our community, the Asheville Tool Library has become a huge success in Asheville.
In 2018 we established our own non-profit and quadrupled our space in a new location. We continue to work hard to serve our community and create a thriving example of the sharing economy that we hope will outlive us all.
Meet the Team
Asheville Tool Library Founders
Nick Letts was involved in a tool library in Missoula, Montana in 2007. When he connected with folks in Asheville during a permaculture training, they decided to work together to create a tool library in Asheville. Nick has been consistently working since 2012 to make the Asheville Tool Library a reality, keeping the community and excitement alive.
Ben Harper became involved in Asheville Tool Library through his friend and co-founder, Tom Llewellyn. They founded the REAL Cooperative together and toured the country with the Sustainable Living Roadshow as “eco-carnies”. Ben participated in some of the first meetings discussing the formation of the Asheville Tool Library before heading to Oregon to work on a ballot initiative. Upon his return, the original co-founders’ moved away from Asheville leaving the project in his hands before it ever opened its doors(or even had doors to open). Ben landed and built out the first home at 133 Church St. in 2016 and has been highly involved with the day to day ever since. He currently sits on the board of directors and works for Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps full time. Ben’s social and environmental activism combined with natural & conventional building skills makes him a perfect match for the Asheville Tool Library.
Kara Sweeney is the most recent addition to Asheville Tool Library. An outdoor enthusiast and home rehabilitator, Kara is committed to making the tool library accessible to a wide variety of residents. Through organizing volunteers and reaching out to residents of WNC, she pushes onwards toward the goals of the founders.
Please feel free to contact us with questions, concerns, or random outbursts.
55 Southside Ave
Asheville, NC 28801 USA