Art News

Denver Tool Library Hosts First Birthday Party

It’s no joke: On Friday, April 1, the Denver Tool Library is turning one — and it's hosting a birthday party to celebrate. In recognition of a year’s worth of achievements, including selling more than 400 memberships, the tool-sharing organization is inviting everyone in the community to have a drink and listen to bands that support the library.

The Denver Tool Library was launched through a crowdfunding campaign in November 2014. Founder Sarah Steiner worked with well-known Denver tattoo artist Kevin Hennessy and a Small Print Shop to create T-shirts and bandannas as incentives for buying memberships and donating to the Indiegogo campaign. After successfully raising more than $23,000 (her goal was $20,000) to cover startup and overhead costs at the space Steiner found at 555 Santa Fe Drive, the Denver Tool Library opened its doors to the public last spring.

“We have done so many things in the first year, like getting our inventory to over 2,000 tools, and that doesn’t even include all of our wrenches and screwdrivers,” says Steiner. “We’ve also applied for our 501(c)(3), which should come any day now, and we’re about to start doing classes with the Denver Public Library, so people can start to see Tool Library classes taught at a library near them.”

The Denver Tool Library has been involved in a variety of fun projects over the past several months, Steiner says, including sending a volunteer to the first International Lending Library Symposium in Baltimore and working with a group of students from the Denver Permaculture Guild.  “We have five students who are taking landscape architecture and urban-design classes at the Denver Permaculture Guild and designing a community hangout space to improve our back lot,” she notes.

Those plans will be unveiled on Saturday, April 2, the day after the birthday celebration. “We’re going to take their design and break it into workshops to build a deck and a bar so people can work outside,” Steiner explains.

With the return of the warm weather, the Denver Tool Library is planning more projects outdoors, where volunteers and members can work together. And to complement the library’s existing bike shop, Steiner says, a volunteer will launch a much-anticipated spring bike tuneup workshop. “In the last month, it’s started to feel like summer again, and the Tool Library is really starting to get in the swing of things because of the weather,” Steiner says. 

Since first opening its doors, the Denver Tool Library has worked to foster a sense of community in the Art District on Santa Fe, partnering with organizations and individuals that support the DIY mission of inspiring and empowering the community by sharing tools and creative resources. Friday’s party at Su Teatro will be a celebration of these partnerships, with performances from Face Man, Strange Americans, Safe Boating Is No Accident and Lee Avenue. Screen printing of Denver Tool Library anniversary gear will be available from Arna Miller of Treasure Prizes.

“We’re so lucky to have the sort of community support and partners that we do,” Steiner says. “Incite Productions helped make these huge decorations for us, and the bands are so community-minded. They’re giving their time to play these shows because they care about the tool library, and we’re just really lucky in that way.”

The Denver Tool Library’s first birthday party will run from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 1,  at Su Teatro. Tickets at the door are $10 for non-members and $5 for members. This event will kick off the Denver Tool Library’s First Friday series, which will continue in May. Visit for more information. 
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Lauren Archuletta is a contributor for Westword's arts section, covering Denver's health and wellness scene. Follow her work for tips on cheap workouts and which yoga classes include mimosas and beer.