Tool and device sharing library: from a local example to an interregional good practice

The Asikkala municipal library implements a new service that puts into circulation tools and products to serve citizens changing and accelerating consumption needs. At the same time, it invites citizens in rural communities to implement sharing economy practices in the Päijät-Häme region (Maallemuuttajat 2030). 

In the Finnish countryside, the sharing culture has been vital in the past – there were commonly owned machines, working parties, help, and tools usually available from the neighbors. The society of today has a lot to learn from the past practices of functional sharing economy systems, and about implementing them into communities and citizens’ ever-changing needs. Citizens’ active role in a circular economy is fundamental. Their interest in sustainable services drives the success of implementing new circular economy services, such as lengthening product life cycles through reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and refurbishment. 

In LAB University of Applied Sciences,  Maallemuuttajat 2030 project, a tool and device sharing library was implemented in Asikkala in cooperation with active citizens and the municipal library of Asikkala. In March, 2020 the residents were asked through a survey what kind of tools or devices they wished to borrow from the library. After that, the residents donated 20 items to Asikkala library, The service started in practice in June 2020. The library lends the items for two weeks at a time. The Maallemuuttajat 2030 project facilitated and organized the donation campaign, built an extra shelf for the library and solved storage solutions and other questions about starting the service. 

Citizen participation in circular economy 

 The practice is proving successful results and keen interest from citizens in sharing economy as there were 45 lends from the sharing library in the first three months. The project inspires citizens to adopt sustainable consumption habits and behavior patterns.   

Photo 1: The sharing library has 20 goods, including kitchen tools, camping equipment, a sewing machine, seamer, and steam cleaner. Photo: Kaisa Tuominen. 

The Interreg Europe funded project CECI, Citizen Involvement in Circular Economy Implementation shares information, experiences, and good practices of citizen participation in a circular economy, between project partners and stakeholders from six regions across Europe. The CECI project is led by LAB University of Applied Sciences, in cooperation between eight partners from six countries: Finland, France, Czech Republic, Spain, Belgium, and Bulgaria. 

Both CECI and Maallemuuttajat 2030 inspire and demonstrate practical ways of active citizen participation in the sharing economy. The tool and device sharing library of Asikkala municipality is one of the good practices from the Päijät-Häme region that the CECI project is sharing through the Interreg Europe network, hopeing the good practice will be accepted for the Policy Learning Platform. The tool and device sharing library is an ideal example of a community actively involved in implementing sharing economy on the local level. Similar cases may interest CECI partners in other European regions, thus acting from local, regional level, jet possibly impacting global.  

Writers 

Kaisa Tuominen works as an RDI-specialist at LAB University of Applied Sciences and as a project manager in the Maallemuuttajat 2030 project funded by the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD)  

Anna Svartström works at LAB as project developer in CECI project (Citizen Involvement in Circular Economic Implementation) funded by Interreg Europe. 

Links 

LAB University of Applied Sciences. 2020. Maallemuuttajat 2030. [Cited 22 Oct, 10 Nov 2020]. Available at: https://lab.fi/en/project/maallemuuttajat-2030 

Interreg Europe. 2020a. What is Interreg Europe? [Cited 10 Nov 2020]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/about-us/what-is-interreg-europe/ 

Interreg Europe. 2020b. Project summary. CECI. [Cited 22 Oct 2020]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/ceci/ 

Interreg Europe. 2020c. Good practices from Interreg projects and beyond. [Cited 10 Nov 2020]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/policylearning/good-practices/ 

Interreg Europe. 2020d. Policy Learning Platform. What is the Policy Learning Platform? [Cited 10 Nov 2020]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/policylearning/what-is-policy-learning-platform/ 

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