New tool library opens in D.C.

While biking along D.C.’s Northwest Branch Trail a few days ago, Litterblog stumbled upon a new tool library  just a few steps from the Brookland Metro station.

With a name like Banished?ARTillery, you know it must have a quirky provenance, and indeed that is the case. The tool library is a nonprofit offshoot of Banished?Productions (, which describes itself as “an avant-pop performance company.” Performance artists need sets, and building sets requires tools. Now those tools, and others donated to the library, are available for lending.

The tool library, the only one in D.C., operates as a cooperative. Members pay a $100 annual fee and agree to donate nine hours of volunteer labor to help run the library. Alternatively, a “Struggling Artist Membership” is available for $50 per year ($4.16 per month) and 18 volunteer hours.

Members may borrow up to seven tools per week but with a limit of three power tools at any one time.

Niell DuVal, Banished?Productions’ technical director, showed Litterblog around the library and explained that it was inspired by similar undertakings in Portland, Ore., and Seattle. (Closer to home, Takoma Park, Md., had a tool library for a number of years, but it no longer exists.)

The selection of tools, while modest, is respectable, and Litterblog was enchanted by the prospect of borrowing the library’s shop vacuum and its reciprocating saw, a necessity for a planned rain-barrel modification.

The tool library is open from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. It is located in Studio 27 of the Arts Walk at the new Monroe Street Market, 716 Monroe Street N.E., next to the Catholic University exit of the Brookland Metro station.

For more information, go to


─Wayne Savage