East Warren library offers tools to make renovations easier

Robin Buckson
The Detroit News

Home improvement can be daunting, especially without the proper tools.

The right tools, especially the ones the pros use, can be expensive. That's where the East Warren Tool Library in Detroit comes in.

The maroon cinder block and brick building at 16006 E. Warren Ave. in the MorningSide neighborhood is home to more than 1,000 tools, from snowblowers to screwdrivers to generators to garden tools.  The library recently added tool No. 1,591 to the fold, a commercial-grade, electric drain auger  — a toilet snake on steroids.

Tool library member Latisha Johnson Davis, left, of Detroit works with Nate Minter, 17, of Detroit to measure and mark beams for The Shop project in January.

The tool library operates much like a book library but with tools.

The impact on the community surfaced soon after the doors opened in June 2019.

"There was a power outage the first week we opened," said tool library co-founder Joshua Arnston recalling a member whose basement had flooded  during the outage. Arnston also runs the Motor City Grounds Crew, which helps with the upkeep of the city's parks as well as provide tools for community groups that have a large cleanup or beautification project.

"One of our first members called to see if we had a generator and we did," said Arnston. "They came and got our generator and were able to pump out their basement and do some other things while the power was out. We could already see the power of having a tool library in the community and how beneficial it is to folks who might not have the means to buy the tools or equipment needed."

More than 90 people have memberships, which is offered on a sliding scale starting at $25 annually. The tool library offers workshops, and some volunteers are building The Shop, a 16 foot x 20 foot movable shop that will be used for library activities and programs.

Nate Minter marks a beam.

The tool library has participated in more than 30 improvement projects with partners in the community, such as block clubs and neighborhood organizations.

"The benefit to them is that we bring out the tools and pick them up when they are done," said Arnston.

More collaborations, classes and workshops are planned, as well as expanded public hours in the spring.

For information, go to www.facebook.com/ewarrentool/.