LaLonde is hoping to open his tool library in January. (photo courtesy The Tool Library/Facebook)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - An Illinois Wesleyan University student is preparing to launch a tool library for Bloomington-Normal.
Matt LaLonde is a junior accounting major from Downers Grove. He came up with the idea to start a tool library while working an internship at State Farm.
"There was an e-mail that was pushed across to me about how State Farm had just given away $25,000 to an organization in Philadelphia to start a tool library," said LaLonde. "I thought it was a really cool idea, and I researched it and found there wasn't one anywhere near us."
The library will lend tools - free of charge - to community residents for projects like gardening and home repair. The first local tool library will be located at the West Bloomington Revitalization Project office on West Washington Street.
"It's been a long process, a lot longer than I originally anticipated," said LaLonde. "My initial goal was to have it open by November and the end of the semester, but since I'm the only one working on it it's been a lot more work than I thought."
LaLonde said most of the work left before opening his tool library is organizational.
"I have close to 75 tools right now that I need to inventory and put into the system," said LaLonde. "I was recently awarded a $1,500 grant to purchase tools that community members say they could really use."
It's also never too late to donate your extra tools.
"They contact me through our website at thetoollib.com and we can arrange a pickup time," said LaLonde. "Otherwise, we accept donations from 3 to 5 p.m every Wednesday at the West Bloomington Revitalization Project office."