Tool Lending Libraries: A Product Service System Success Story!


Photo credit: geishaboy500 via Flickr/Creative Commons

Here's a nice story, in the spirit of Christmas and the goodwill of man. TechShop, in Menlo Park, Calif., is "a 15,000 square-foot membership-based workshop that provides members with access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a creative and supportive community" -- many readers will recognize that as a product service system, or PSS, where you purchase the service of a product, rather than the product itself (learn what makes a good PSS if you haven't heard of them before. Anyway, when TechShop first started, there was a concern that some of the tools available for use would follow their users home. The reality, as it turns out, is that the exact opposite is true.
A portion of TechShop's large floorplan. Image credit: TechShop

Workshop members started bringing their own tools in, from home, and leaving them there for others to use; TechShop now has more tools than they started with. Jim Newton, TechShop's co-founder, confirmed that the tools are multiplying:

It is absolutely true. People have a real sense of community with TechShop, and bringing in tools from home is one of the ways that it is manifested. Makers are generally much more socially-responsible than outside folk. I think that's largely what drives the way people care for and contribute to TechShop.

So, not only does this PSS work, it might just be working too well. The product service system is a great concept that we really hope will continue to catch on, so it's great to see that it's such a functional idea. Learn more about tool lending (and where to find a library near you) and learn how to start one in your community from Mother Earth News; just don't forget to ride public transportation on your way there. TechShop via MAKE
Read more about product service systems
What Makes a Good Product Service System?
TreeHugger Picks: Why Buy When You Can Rent?
TreeHugger Picks: Product Service Systems (Part II)
Clothing Libraries: Another Product Service System
Tool Libraries: The Sharpest Tack in the Shed

Tags: Communities | Do It Yourself | Product Service Systems | San Francisco