RED LODGE - A Red Lodge woman has started a community tool library at no cost, offering residents a sustainable way to access tools that are oftentimes hundreds of dollars to purchase.
Stephanie Naftal has lived in Red Lodge for more than 10 years. She previously lived in Missoula, where she found a community tool library at the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project.
Naftal was inspired by this idea and told MTN News she knew she had to bring the donation-based program to Red Lodge.
“The people donating the tools are grateful because they just sit in their garage. So they’re happy to just get rid of them, to go to people who actually need them and want to use them but can’t afford to buy them," Naftal explains. "Obviously, people who are borrowing the tools really appreciate it, especially after the flood."
Red Lodge was just one of many Montana communities impacted by flooding in June of 2022.
While this tool library is a great resource for Red Lodge residents attempting to make repairs following the flood, Naftal explains it has been in operation for more than a year. Recycling Red Lodge recently donated a shed to house the library, which Naftal says she is grateful for.
The physical tool library is located behind the Red Lodge Community Church at 308 S. Broadway Ave., but Naftal explains community members can find what tools are available on the library's Facebook page.
“In Red Lodge, we are trying to consume less, so that’s another benefit to it. (This) will kind of help people to get on board too with less consumption," Naftal says. "Not everyone has to have every tool at their disposal every day. And hopefully, other places will think it’s a good idea and do it, because like I said, not everybody can afford to have all of these tools."
The library has a shop vacuum, drills, socket sets, a lawn mower, and much more. Naftal wants to encourage community members to continue donating.
“One of our residents donated a couple of fans and a shop vac, and they didn’t last a day in the tool shed. Which was awesome. I was really happy to be able to have that for people,” Naftal explains.
All types of tool donations are accepted, but Naftal is also looking for some assistance.
"Anything people want to get rid of is great,” Naftal says. “But right now it’s just me, so that’s another hope, is someone else will come on board and help me do this."
Naftal says that she is hoping another community member will help her run the library.
“I would love it if someone comes on board to do this with me, that actually knows something about tools, which I really don’t. I just think it’s a good idea,” Naftal explains.
If you are interested in learning more about the Red Lodge tool library, please click here.
“I hope that it grows and I hope that people become more interested in donating and using the tools,” Naftal says. "It is really good to have it now."