We would like to change people’s thought process, so instead of thinking 'how much will it cost' they will think 'can I borrow what I need'. We encourage people to borrow rather than buy and hold the joy of experiences rather than the brief thrill of a purchase.
Our Purpose & Goals
Many of us have tools, equipment and luxury items stored away in cupboards and sheds which we rarely use, or we bought as a passing interest. At Kernow Library of Things (KLOTH) we provide access to these items in an affordable way, we offer people the opportunity to achieve their aims and ambitions. This could be providing tools or equipment to improve their home environment, to upcycle or recycle goods, to take up a new hobby or take a more affordable holiday. We aim to make borrowing normal for all our community but particularly for members of the community who may not be able to afford the things that they need to improve their circumstances.
Having a library of things means that everyone in a community shares items and uses them as and when they need to. The idea behind KLOTH is to build and connect our community and to move away from the idea that in order to use things we also need to own them. KLOTH, which is a registered Community Interest Company (CIC), is somewhere you can come to borrow items that you do not own, may only need to use occasionally, and may not be able to afford.
The company goals encompass:
- KLOTH will save people money: 90% of borrowers said: "they now have more money to spend on things important to them".
- KLOTH will help build community: 75% of borrowers said they "feel better connected to their community because of the Library of Things".
- KLOTH will also help the environment: Having used the Library of Things, "borrowers are 60% more likely to repair or recycle items".
People who use KLOTH pay a small fee for borrowing items, they can also pay a regular membership fee which reduces the fees by half, for example, sewing machines are available from £4 per week for members or £8 for casual users. We are like a hire shop but our aim is to keep the charges as low as possible and to offer things that a professional hire shop may not have, such as camping gear, hand tools and kitchen gadgets.
KLOTH is a not for profit organisation; all fees are used to pay for the premises and running costs, maintain the things and purchase stock for the library.
KLOTH aims to engage our community. From the full-time parent who wants to make ice cream to the working person who wants to put up a shelf or the person whose roses need pruning. From the environmentally-conscious family who needs a gazebo for a party to the student working on a design project, or those newly housed who wish to decorate, KLOTH appeals to all these individuals and beyond.
After almost a year of ideas meetings KLOTH was set up as a CIC in January 2020 although due to the pandemic we didn’t open our doors until September of that year. With the support of the then Penryn Mayor, Mr Chaz Wenmoth we were offered use of Old Gentleman’s Hut in June 2020 and ready to open on 12 September 2020.
We opened with donated stock and things we had in our own homes which we had been collecting for some time. We then asked the community what they would like to borrow and started a Crowdfunder on 1 November 2020. This coincided with the start of the second pandemic lockdown which surprisingly worked in our favour as people were back inside spending more time on social media. We raised a total of £8,047 in 30 days, receiving £7,518.18 after Crowdfunder fees.
KLOTH or Kernow Library of Things aims to develop and connect a network of Libraries of Things across Cornwall. Our first Library opened in Penryn in September 2020 and has completed 651 loans to date (Jan 2023). We are now in our third year and have recently received a National Lottery Community Fund grant which we will use to develop the library further by increasing opening hours and more effective marketing to ensure that no one in the community is excluded from using KLOTH.
In the future, would like to establish a mobile library of things or a delivery service to reach more rural communities.
Our aims are:
- To allow members of the community to borrow things at low cost rather than purchasing something they may only use once or twice.
- Offering the community an opportunity to develop skills by loaning items such as sewing machines, woodwork tools and power tools.
- In the longer term we would like to offer low-cost training events in partnership with other projects.
- Save waste, many of these items and their packaging will eventually become landfill.