Tool lending library set to debut Saturday in Mundelein
You may never need this device, but if you do, Mundelein's new tool lending library has it in stock.
"I've never seen one before in my life," said Peter Vadopalas, assistant village manager. "For residents bottling wine as a hobby, we have a cork inserter."
For hobbyists or anyone doing general repairs, lawn work or other chores, there are scores of more familiar tools available to be checked out from the tool library at no cost.
Housed in a portion of the village's former water division facility downtown at 428 N. Chicago Ave., the volunteer-driven venture debuts at 9 a.m. Saturday. Local officials will be on hand at 1 p.m. for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to be followed by a tour and program overview.
Mundelein resident Van Miller originated the idea after seeing a similar facility while visiting his daughter in Portland, Oregon. The retired physical education teacher admittedly is not a craftsman but thought it was a good idea and approached village officials about a year and a half ago.
"The first time I heard about it, I thought, 'Why don't we have more of these?'" Vadopalas said.
Mundelein's tool library is said to be the first of its kind in Lake County.
The idea is simple but required myriad logistics to get to this point. Chief among them were securing a location, creating a nonprofit organization to operate it and establishing an ad hoc tool library committee.
Building inventory was another hurdle. Miller said he felt like the Maytag repairman waiting for someone to stop by during some tool collection events in May.
At one point, a nervous Miller called his contact in Portland for advice.
"He calmed us down," Miller said. "It's all going to pan out."
Slowly, the project has come into focus. Volunteers donated shelving, and the front desk/reception area was salvaged from a demolition project. Tools began to accumulate.
"All of the tools have been donated by residents. It's great to see the inventory they've built up," Vadopalas said.
Volunteers working behind the scenes included Mundelein High School junior Kajal Patel, who created a website, https://mundeleintoollibrary.org/, that contains the available inventory, contacts and other information.
The tool library will be open Saturdays and Tuesdays and operate just like a traditional library. Items will be lent for one week. There is no fee, but a $20 annual donation or volunteer time is suggested.
"We think the community is really going to embrace it," Vadopalas said. "All we need now is more volunteer help to manage it all."
The group has a six-month, no-cost lease that can be extended in one-month increments. The village is studying potential long-term uses for the building.
"My plan is to make us so successful the village can't get us out of here," Miller said.