Calgary Tool Library: Five Aspects of Community Economic Development

August 12, 2015

Calgary Tool Library: Five Aspects of Community Economic DevelopmentCommunity Economic Development is a way of thinking about the world and your place in it that infuses all aspects of life. At its root, CED is the recognition that healthy communities, resilient economies and ecological sustainability are connected. It is the understanding that effective solutions are rooted in local knowledge and led by community members.

Simon Fraser University’s Community Economic Development Certificate builds such local knowledge and leadership by teaching students CED principles, practices and methods that work. In 2014, the certificate program was offered in Calgary for the first time through a partnership between SFU and Thrive—Calgary’s CED Network.

Twenty-three participants, including three Momentum staff members, completed the program. With theoretical study, hands-on experience and the support of a strong community of practice, they learned how to shape, nurture, implement and promote a CED dream-come-true.

One result? The launch of the first-ever Calgary Tool Library.

Shared and local ownership

The Tool Library—a social enterprise project of the Bridgeland Riverside Community Association—was launched in June 2014. The 300-plus individual and organizational members are co-owners of hundreds of tools. The sense of ownership and accountability are palpable, very different from conventional tool rentals.

Reduced environmental impact

No longer must you (or your neighbour!) buy, store and repair every tool you’ll ever need. Members of the Tool Library have access to 500 of the most in-demand household tools. Whether for standard home maintenance, basic car repairs or gardening projects, you’re likely to find the tool you need.

Increased social sustainability

The Library has become a community gathering space: neighbours deepen their bonds, strangers get to know each other. It’s a collaboration that brings together businesses, charitable foundations, and individual members and volunteers. The whole community benefits and contributes to its success.

Affordable, accessible, inclusive

There are fees for membership but the Library wants everyone to be able to access tools, regardless of income level, so fees are waived if need be. Everyone is welcome, whether a tool expert or a novice. Librarians and fellow members are happy to help you figure out what you need and how to use it.

See for yourself!

Visit the Tool Library online at, or drop by the tool shed in the lower level of the Bridgeland Riverside Community Association at 917 Centre Avenue NE.

“What is most exciting about CED is finding that all kinds of people care about community. They don’t have anything to prove. They just want to make things better.”

Originally published in the Momentum blog on June 5th, 2015

Amanda McKellar is currently Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Momentum in Calgary. Amanda is a communications expert with experience in writing for a variety of audiences having worked for 8 years as a self-employed content writer/editor. For other articles by Amanda McKellar, visit