Did you know that the Tacoma Tool Library is nearly 100% volunteer-powered? It’s stories like Jessica’s that inspire us, and we’re grateful that our volunteers are willing to invest their time and energy to make the Tool Library a welcoming community space for all Tacomans. Take a moment to read through Jessica’s story, and if you see her at the Library, be sure to give her a “thank you!”
What inspired you to first volunteer with the Tool Library?
My work and personal life mixed when my healthcare coworker kept telling me about this amazing community service she was helping to start up. Sharayah's excitement and my desire to learn more about the world of tools presented a great way for me to get involved in my community. Now she's my best friend, and I've been volunteering for 3 years!
What do you feel like you “bring to the table” when you volunteer?
I enjoy being organized and my stint as a barista sharpened my multi-tasking skills, so I'm really good at a handling a rush. There are times when a brand-new member signs up, someone returns a handful of tools, and a third member asks where to find a specific item in a matter of minutes. It can definitely be overwhelming but I'm usually able to take care of everyone pretty quickly up front.
What is the biggest personal benefit you receive as a volunteer at the Tool Library?
The exchange of free membership!
What have you learned through volunteering?
My father is quite the handyman, but I didn't glean as much from him as I'd like during my childhood. I always learn something new while volunteering and am proud when I become comfortable with handling a tool or understand its purpose.
Who have you met through volunteering at the Tool Library?
I have met so many amazing people, especially the board members: Hayes is a wealth of knowledge and is kind enough to reach out whenever he knows something I've been eyeing has been checked back in; Adam is great for discussing random pop culture, and I love seeing his little family and their own home improvement projects; Ben is an actual librarian (!) and shares fascinating perspectives and stories that intersect with the tool world. I've also been inspired by members, from their sense of community and support as well as the tasks they tackle with our inventory.
What is your favorite “homegrown” project that you are particularly proud of?
I bought a bookshelf from Half Price Books and gave it a face lift. I borrowed an electric sander and some painting supplies and buffed and repainted the outside a pretty turquoise. Then I took old concert posters from college and lined the inside so that they peek out behind my books. It was a small project but I'm in love with how it turned out.
If you’re curious to learn more about how you can volunteer at the Tool Library, you can learn more on our volunteer page, here.