‘Right now drain snakes are in the highest demand’

The Chronicle has a nice piece today about one of Berkeley’s best ideas — its Tool Lending Library.

As reporter Peter Hartlaub points out, the 31-year-old Berkeley Public Library institution is the oldest continuously running library of its kind in the nation. It has spawned many imitators and, given the economy and our collective tendency to think DIY, is signing up around 250 new members every month.

The tool lending library, which is due to double its space with the scheduled renovation of the South Branch Library, is at 1901 Russell Street at MLK. Read the full story on the Chronicle website.

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  • It was a great article. The future renovation and expansion of the S. Branch is exciting and deserved.

  • Voxhumana

    Yes, rooter snakes, good to have from the tool lending library, which our family loves. Also good to know: The City of Berkeley will come inspect and clean out clogs from the curbside to your house line. Contact them first to have them attempt a clean out. This will save you lots of money. Check Yelp before hiring several contractors recommended on Berkeley Parents Network. They are unscrupulous.

  • TN

    If a street tree sits near your sewer lateral and clogs it, the City takes responsibility for cleaning it out into your property.

    We thank the honest plumber who told us this many years ago. It saved us an enormous amount of money.

  • Joan

    Yes, the south branch neighborhood deserves a new library…and an expanded tool library.
    However, a woman who does not live near that branch is suing the city to prevent the rebuilding and expansion of the branch and tool library. She thinks the building is historically valuable. In truth, it is seismically unsafe, ADA inaccessible, no fire sprinklers, too small. The neighborhood deserves as good a library as other neighborhoods, but it won’t get it if this lawsuit is successful. The neighbors told the city in many many community meetings to build a new library for South Berkeley.
    City council will take up the issue on December 7. If you want a new library in South Berkeley, that would be the time to show up.

  • Joan, I’ve heard about that and I’m trying to be at that City Council meeting. Do you have any links to the actual suit, who the plaintiff is, etc.?

  • Actually, never mind! I was able to find the source right here at

    So thank you,!

  • Friend of Libraries

    According to the city website, the plaintiff is a woman living in
    District 8, east of College. BAHA has also
    opposed the rebuilding of the branches, but is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit. From what I understand, The Friends of the Berkeley Public Library and the Berkeley Public Library Foundation will enter the case as co defendants with the city. Several neighborhood groups, the library union, the south berkeley Y, the disabled community, teachers, librarians, library users are all considering entering as co defendants, hoping to persuade the plaintiff to drop the suit. It will cost the city and its taxpayers money and time. Could result in only the North and Claremont branches being refurbished, leaving the west and south branch neighborhoods without the libraries they deserve.
    If you are concerned, write to city council by November 25, or come to the city council
    meeting December 7 to let the council know what you think.

  • TN

    I didn’t want a story on the Tool Lending Library to pass without a mention of Pete McElligott, who was the original and sole staff member for years. He was the one that made it work.

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