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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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WASHINGTON NEIGHBORHOOD TOOL LIBRARY

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345 E. 18th. Photo in 2011.
WASHINGTON NEIGHBORHOOD TOOL LIBRARY. The Washington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation in 1972 sent a questionnaire to six hundred residents in the area asking what they would like to have for their neighborhood. Options ranged from a tool library to a nursing home. (1)

In 1973 through the efforts of Monsignor Anthony SIGWORTH looking for a way to help Washington Street homeowners, the Library was established to aid citizens accomplish things on their own and inexpensively. (2) Initially all a person had to do was identify themselves as living in the area by pointing to their name in the telephone book. (3) To check out a tool, an individual had to become a member by filling out an application and passing a number of guidelines. Once this was done, they received their “library” card and could check out as many tools as needed. Contractors were not eligible. (4)

In 1974 the Library workers collected used and broken toys. Once repaired, the toys were given to less fortunate families mostly in the inner-city area. (5)

In 1978 the National Committee of the Campaign for Human Development approved a $2,000 grant for the library. (6) From 1977 through 1981, $41,500 through community block grant funds went to purchase more tools. (7) In 1981 records indicated that 2,192 people used the library and checked out 3,999 tools. (8) In 1992 those figures changed to 3,649 people checking out 6,640 tools. (9)

In 2002 those wishing to borrow tools needed to visit Operation New View: Community Action Agency to complete an eligibility form. The maximum income to borrow tools was set at $43,700. (10) The Tool Library moved to 345 E. 18th St. in 1997. (11)

By 2015 the restrictions on income and residency in the Washington Street area had been lifted and use of the library was open to anyone living within the city limits. Patrons were required to place a $20 deposit on tools valued over $100 and a $5 deposit on a weed wacker. The money was refunded when the tools were returned intact. A one dollar-per-day late fee was charged for each tool. Supported entirely by donations and operated by volunteers, the library was seeking tool donations, volunteer support, and new borrowers. (12)

The 1977 through 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed the address as 1697 Jackson Street.

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Source:

1. "Seek Neighborhood Reaction," Telegraph Herald, Nov. 16, 1972, p. 10. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=RXVFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=p7wMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5072,2682156&dq=washington+neighborhood+tool+library&hl=en

2. Bragg, Mary Rae."Handy Free Service Limited," Telegraph Herald, June 22, 2002, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=h5VdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=u1wNAAAAIBAJ&pg=6192,5303743&dq=washington+neighborhood+tool+library&hl=en

3. Henricks, Mike. "Somehow, Word Gets Out About Tool Library," Telegraph Herald, February 8, 1981, p. 29. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=28dFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=YeoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4798,1138550&dq=washington+neighborhood+tool+library&hl=en

4. Eiler, Donnelle. "Tool Library is Home Fix-It Ticket," Telegraph Herald, September 2, 1993, p. 3A

5. "Toys Go to Needy Families," Telegraph Herald, December 24, 1974, p. 4. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wPpQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8r8MAAAAIBAJ&pg=3771,3632438&dq=washington+neighborhood+tool+library&hl=en

6. "Neighborhood Tool Library to Receive $2,000 Grant," Telegraph Herald, June 28, 1978, p. 3. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=29hBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=D6oMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4802,3735518&dq=washington+neighborhood+tool+library&hl=en

7. Henricks, Mike. "Somehow, Word Gets Out About Tool Library," Telegraph Herald, February 8, 1981, p. 29. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=28dFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=YeoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4798,1138550&dq=washington+neighborhood+tool+library&hl=en

8. Ibid.

9. Eiler

10. Bragg, Mary Rae.

11. Announcements, Telegraph Herald, August 30, 1997, p. 26. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=AC5FAAAAIBAJ&sjid=IrsMAAAAIBAJ&pg=940,7160844&dq=washington+neighborhood+tool+library&hl=en

12. Barton, Thomas J. "Tool Library Aims to Build More Usage," Telegraph Herald, June 215, 2015, p. 3A