Switzerland’s first ‘library of things’ deemed a success

Drills are one of the most borrowed items at Leihbar sda-ats

Need a sledge, bread-maker or CD player but you don’t really want to buy one? The concept of LeihBar, where people pay a small annual sum to borrow a wide range of items, has really caught on in Bern, according to the Swiss Consumer Protection Foundation. 

This content was published on December 2, 2019 - 15:49

In its first year of operation, 1,100 items were checked in and out of this “library of things”. 

LeihBar (a play on the German words meaning “borrow bar” and “borrowable”) was launched by the Consumer Protection Foundation a year ago in the city of Bern with the aim of making it easier for people to consume sustainably, conserve resources and save money. “Buying is so yesterday,” as the project’s website puts it. 

Since then, the most in-demand items have been drills and window-cleaning sets, the foundation said on Monday. 

The project is now financially self-supporting and is supported by an association of more than 200 people. The “library” and bar are run by around 20 volunteers. 

In exchange for an annual payment of CHF60 ($60), members have unlimited access to more than 350 items, from power tools and camping equipment to cupcake tins and sledges, which they can borrow for up to two weeks at a time.

Given the success of the LeihBar, the Consumer Protection Foundation says it now wants to set up similar projects in other Swiss cities with the help of other organisations.

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