Traveling Tool Library


Traveling Tool Library, the first stand-alone structure by Building Community, is a flexible, mobile space that hosts a tool-share program. The library structure, designed and built entirely by Cornell students, recent alumni, and volunteers, is a flexible space that can open up to host public events such as performances, readings, workshops, and exhibitions.

The Tool Library is modeled after the vernacular tool shed: a small, humble structure found in the corner of backyards, often built and repaired using found and leftover materials. The structure was built using traditional timber framing techniques on a modified trailer. Most of the materials were salvaged from demolished buildings in Ithaca, Lansing, and Buffalo, NY.

The exposed stud wall in the back of the library provides the framework for shelving and storage nets for small hand tools, while the storage space under the floor provide ample storage for large equipment, such as ladders, scaffolding, and a community dinner table, also built by Building Community, which is a centerpiece at the club’s semiannual fundraiser dinners. The largest walls can be rotated out to create a stage platform and a ramp, turning the library into an open venue. The whole library can be moved with a pickup truck to serve specific community build projects.

Many of the tools which make up the Tool Library’s growing collection were donated from individual donors and businesses. Broken tools were restored in “Tool Restoration Workshops” held at Ithaca’s Sustainability Center. New tools were purchased from fundraisers. Together, the library now boasts over 100 pieces of hand and power equipment available for Ithaca and Tompkins County residents.

The Traveling Tool Library was sponsored in part by Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) as one twelve projects in the 2016 CCA Biennial, titled Abject/Object Empathies. Building Community thanks all students, alumni, staff, faculty, friends, neighbors, and organizations who helped this project become a reality.


Project Title: Traveling Tool Library

Organization: Building Community

Design Team: Yoon Cha, Isabella Crowley, Peta Feng, Ben Mayne, Evan Mcdowell, Cameron Neuhoff, Danny Salomon, Daniel Villegas-Cruz

Build Team:  Yoon Cha, Ada Chen, Isabella Crowley, Peta Feng, Samuel Gomez, Ben Mayne, Evan Mcdowell, Cameron Neuhoff, Miwa Oseki-Robbins, Zelmira Rizo-Patron, Danny Salomon, Duncan Steele, Emrys Taylor-Milner, Alisa Tiong, Daniel Villegas-Cruz, Andrew Wong


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