Christmas is over and January sales are in full swing, but not everyone is rushing to the shops: some people are borrowing, giving or lending instead. One project at the forefront of this ‘sharing economy’ is Hastings Library of Things, a community-run lending project.

Hastings Library of Things describes itself as a “magic cupboard full of things to borrow, use and return to be used again”. The library has power tools, camping gear, sewing machines, steam cleaners, puzzles and kitchenware. Membership is open to all, for a nominal fee of £3.00 a year for unlimited borrowing rights and, if you volunteer, the right to call yourself a ‘librarian’. 

“We started this project during lockdown, when the shops were closed, and people were amazing; giving, lending and sharing what they had,” says spokesperson, Shelley Feldman. “So, we thought we’d make it easier for people to borrow, even if they aren’t lucky enough to know their neighbours, or their neighbours don’t have the things either.”

We put out a call for donations, and now we have over 100 ‘things’ to borrow. Members browse online, (, then reserve their chosen items before collecting them from The Common Room in Cambridge Road. Once the thing is used it gets returned to be cleaned and used again – rather than going to landfill or gathering dust in a cupboard.

The most popular ‘things’ are our steam cleaners and sewing machines, but power tools and the tombola have also been very popular. For 2022 we aim to increase our stock of power tools and gardening equipment and hope to add a delivery service for people who live a bit further out. 

The library is open Wednesday 5-6, Friday 12-4 and Saturday 12-4 and the website to join is For more information contact Shelley on 07849093151 or  [email protected]

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