Last fall, we asked our members to tell us what workshops they wished the VTL would offer, and we got some very interesting and helpful responses (“Cyborgs 101??”). Well, thanks to our newest crafty and clever workshop facilitator, Tobias Atkinson, we’ve managed to satisfy a lot of our members’ requests in our Spring Workshop Series (and are planning Summer Workshops to satisfy many more). We’ve also partnered with our friends at Vancouver Hack Space! Our Spring workshop series will be hosted at the Vancouver Hack Space (270 1st Avenue East), and Hack Space members will be able to take the workshops at the VTL member rate.
Follow the links below for more information and to register for our Spring workshops!
Tools 101: Make Your Own Planter Box – Saturday, March 8, 1-4pm
Routers 101: Make Your Own Cutting Board – Saturday, March 29, 1-4pm
Tools 101: Make Your Own Slingback Chair – Saturday, April 5, 1-4pm
Wooden Jewellery: Handmade Earrings and Pendants – Saturday, April 26, 1-4pm
In this introductory workshop, participants will become familiar with some of the most common and widely applicable tools in the VTL inventory in a fun and inclusive environment. Participants will learn proper tool handling, application, and safety. Upon completion of the workshop, participants will have the confidence to name and use basic tools necessary for everyday projects AND walk away with a planter box they built themselves!
Facilitator: Tobias Atkinson
When: Saturday, March 8, 1pm-4pm
Where: Vancouver Hack Space, 270 1st Ave E
Cost: VTL & VHS Members: $20 | Non-Members: $27
What to Bring: All tools and materials will be provided. Part of the workshop may take place outside so wear comfortable clothing that is weather appropriate. No dangling drawstrings or jewellery, please.
Questions? E-mail: manager [at] vancouvertoollibrary [dot] com
Advance registration is required. Please pre-pay and sign up through the PayPal button below or come into the VTL to register. Please include your email address in the PayPal form! This is how we’ll contact you with any workshop updates and to confirm your registration. Refunds are available up to 24 hours before the workshop begins. VTL members must present their member cards on the day of the workshop to be eligible for the member rate.
In response to member requests for expanded shop hours, we’re introducing an additional open day each week! As of March 1st, the shop will be open as follows:
Now that we will be open an extra day each week, we’ll need some new volunteers to help staff the shop! Volunteers will be trained and have the opportunity to get involved in a community of builders and doers through workshops, in-shop interaction, and community building /volunteer appreciation events. No tool experience necessary!
Interested in volunteering? Submit a volunteer intake form and we’ll be in touch.
Our manager has settled in, our finances are in order and after some restful holidays the board is ready to address our growing pains (the shop is literally overflowing with tools!). The mandate of the VTL has always been to provide not only the tools but also the knowledge, skills and confidence our communities need to improve their public and private spaces.
Our diverse inventory and supportive membership are a testament to the success of tool sharing, but a lack of shop space has limited our ability to empower community members with the skill-sets required to tackle projects on their own. As a result, the VTL has been looking for opportunities to move into a larger building with shop facilities.
The move is being strongly informed by the New Space Survey distributed in November of 2013, the results of which you can see here. While the most demanding requirement of the move is to find usable shop space, our survey showed that two of the top three areas for improvement requested by our membership are longer hours of operation and increased rental inventory. The latter is being consistently updated (our most recent acquisitions are listed here), but our library is limited by a lack of additional storage space. In the meantime, additional hours or days of operation are being studied and will be addressed at a new location, if not sooner.
We have several criteria for a new location:
- Easy access by foot, cycling, transit and automobile traffic.
- A minimum of 2000 sqft. of space, ideally with the potential to expand upwards of 4000 sqft. in the short- to medium-term.
- Subdivided unit to allow for the separation of our rental inventory and shop space.
- Industrial zoning where noise is a non-issue and we avoid paying a premium for retail space.
- Light industrial facilities where appropriate, including adequate ventilation and heavy 3 phase power.
- Lease rates and conditions which are sustainable in the long-term.
Detail of zoning in East Vancouver – blue areas are zoned industrial.
Geographically, the location of a new shop is influenced by two factors:
- There is a distinct lack of inexpensive warehouse space in the Kensington / Cedar Cottage neighbourhood.
- When presented with a hypothetical move to Strathcona in our membership survey in November, 70% of those members who responded stated they would use the VTL ‘as often as’ or ‘more often than’ they currently do.
Expanding close to our current location would require a large increase in rental rate for retail space, which would not be an appropriate use of our members’ resources. Our member mapping shows that in addition to Cedar Cottage, we have large groups of members located in Mount Pleasant and Grandview. As a result, our pursuit of space along Clark Drive is informed the fact that such a location would be equidistant from each of the three neighbourhoods with the additions of Strathcona and Sunrise – both communities with good potential for engagement with our coop.
Throughout this process we are looking to ensure the stability of our own finances while allowing for future growth. This may be addressed by partnering with other coops, developing social enterprises or subletting in the medium term. We welcome any of your ideas along these lines – of course, we would love to have the input, advice and help of our members on any of these topics! Please feel free to contact Brian Beaudry at president (at) vancouvertoollibrary.com.
As many of our members are aware, we distributed a small survey back in November to get a better understanding of how our membership would like to see us grow in the coming year. The results of that survey follow:
1) Service Development
Our potential new location would allow us to expand the services we can offer our members. We aim to increase the diversity and quality of all of our services with time, but you can help us prioritize where to start.
Please rank the expansion of each of the following services in a new space for the VTL, 1 being the most important and 6 being the least.
2) Membership Structures
We are considering a number of new membership and service structures which would complement, not replace, our existing membership types and services. These include:
Annual – full access to work space and shop tools during regular hours and room for project storage for 1 year.
Monthly – full access to work space and shop tools during regular hours and room for project storage for 1 month.
Weekly – access to work space and shop tools during regular hours with an additional fee for project storage.
Limited Weekly – access to work space with additional fees for shop tools or project storage.
Drop-In – access to work space and shop tools paid for after use at an hourly rate.
Given the service descriptions above please rank how useful you would find each service type, 1 being the most useful and 5 being the least.
The next question supposes that we determine we are financially unable to maintain two locations, and we move the library to a new location at Hastings Street and Campbell Avenue in Strathcona. This site would provide the same tool rental access as previously available but also incorporate new work space services.
Provided the VTL relocates all of its facilities to Hastings Street at Campbell Avenue in Strathcona, how often would you use our rental and work space services relative to your current usage?
4) Member Mapping
To gain a better understanding of where our members are located in relation to our shop, we mapped those members with current or recently expired maintenance fees. There are two maps based on the volume of data, and they were mapped anonymously and with a resolution of several city blocks to ensure the privacy and security of our membership. The colour spectrum represents our members’ distance from the current space at 3448 Commercial St.