Need a Special Tool? Try the Library

By Ted Reiff

The community public library is such a core institution, I've always pictured it inhabiting a niche of its own. I certainly never saw it as a hub of reuse. But, you know what? That's exactly what it is. Libraries have been in the book reuse business literally for centuries. And most have added e-books and audio versions to the mix.

Now, according to a recent NY Times article, many libraries are branching out (no pun intended) by lending other stuff, too. In fact, the litany of things people can borrow at libraries across the nation is almost beyond this reuser's comprehension. For example, depending on the needs of the vicinity served, card holders can check out microscopes, board games, tools, fishing rods, cake pans, sewing machines, telescopes, cameras—and that's just a small sample.

I tend to get laser-focused on building-materials reuse and occasionally have to remind myself that people were reusing clothing, furniture, vehicles of every description, and lots of other things, long before they got serious about reusing lumber, windows, doors and roofing tiles.

Buying used items (including building materials) is a big money-saver. Renting them (think equipment rentals) is economical, too. But libraries are essentially free. Of course, the user is obligated to return the borrowed item in good condition—or pay a fine. But regardless of whether you buy, rent, or borrow, it's still reuse—and it's almost always a cost saver.

I seriously doubt that libraries will ever be lending building materials, unless you count paintings and other embellishments or works of art that can be enjoyed for awhile and returned. But knowing that so much else can and is being repeatedly reused is heartening. Ben Franklin (he founded the U.S. public library system) would love it!

Here, again, is a link to that fascinating NY Times article.

Specials of the Month

At the Oakland we are featuring cabinets and appliances. Receive 25% off the price of any appliance or cabinet (single, set or bathroom) in the warehouse through October 31.
The ReUse People Specials
The Los Angeles warehouse is featuring toilets, interior doors and bathroom sinks. Purchase any toilet for $35, any individual bathroom sink for $5, or any non-premium interior door for $10 through October 31.
The ReUse People Specials

New Inventory

The Oakland warehouse has received shipments of brand new siding. Stop by and check it out.


New inventory at the Los Angeles warehouse includes a solid knotty-alder exterior door with sidelights and leaded glass inserts, a beautiful set of solid wood kitchen cabinets with farmers sink, and a 36-inch Jenn-Air stainless steel range in excellent condition.

The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials

Location and Contact Information

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Oakland
9235 San Leandro Street
Oakland, CA  94603
(510) 383-1983; toll-free 888-588-9490
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-6:00 Closed Sunday

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Los Angeles
3015 Dolores Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-5:00; Sat 10:00-4:00

Please visit our partnering warehouses:

The ReUse Warehouse
1400 East Geer Street
Durham, NC 27704
(919) 219-4913
Hours: Mon-Fri, 2:00-6:00; Sat, 9:30-5:00

Second Chance Building Materials Center
1423 West Grove Street
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 331-2707
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:00-6:00; Sun, 12:00-5:00

Roaring Fork Valley Habitat for Humanity
7025 Hwy 82
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(970) 945-7733
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:00-5:30; Sat, 10:00-5:00; Sun, 11:00-4:00

Stardust Building Supply
3901 E. Thunderbird Road
Phoenix, AZ 85032
(602) 459-9803
Hours: Mon-Sat, 8:00-6:00; Sun, 10:00-4:00

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Salt Lake Valley,
1276 South 500 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 263-0136
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00am-6:00pm; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Summit & Wasatch Counties
6280 N. Silver Creek Drive, Silver Summit, UT
(435) 487-9015
Hours: Wed-Sat 10:00-6:00; closed Sunday

Recycle Utah
1951 Woodbine Way Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-9698
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00-5:30; Sun 10:00-4:00

Reuse Depot
50 West Madison
Maywood, IL 60153
(708) 223-0502
Hours: Wed-Mon 10:00-6:00p; Closed Tuesdays

New England Reuse
400 Sackett Point Rd
North Haven, CT 06473
(203) 230-2638
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00p; Saturday 9:00-1:00p

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