This Ottawa library lends outdoor materials instead of books

OTTAWA – It’s a library, but for outdoor equipment, not for books.

Ottawa’s outdoor equipment library is full of everything from sleeping bags and tents to bikes, basketballs and skis. And he is available to help provide access to everything on the outside.

“The initiative is really about filling a gap by providing access to equipment to help people be outdoors,” said Chris Osler of the Ottawa Outdoor Gear Library. “We welcome anything that allows someone to be on the outside.”

The library is currently lending to groups, but the idea is to eventually open up to individuals by “the end of November,” says Osler.

Equipment is donated, giving new life to items that might otherwise have collected dust in someone’s garage, shed, or basement.

“Equipment can be expensive; for example, outfitting a family can be expensive, ”says Osler. “So trying to find ways to make this affordable and potentially free for people to borrow gear to try something out, before they invest in it.”

Membership is currently free and borrowing works on a payment system you can, according to Osler.

“It’s amazing,” said Sharmarkeh Arab, a Meshup Ottawa volunteer, as he picked up surplus basketballs from the library on Friday to give them away permanently.

“This Halloween we’re going to be going to a number of different communities; we’re going to be giving the kids candy, and we’re also going to give them free basketballs to play with,” he says.

As the library prepares for winter, some equipment will be directed to the Rideau Winter Trail, which will run along the Rideau River from Donald Street to Bank Street during the upcoming snow season.

“We are very excited about our partnership with the Ottawa Outdoor Gear Library as it will allow some people in our neighborhood to get out and use the trail with snowshoes and skis,” said Peter Nor, President de la Rideau Winter trail.

If you have material that you are not using, the library is hosting a fundraiser this Saturday. Osler says they’re currently looking specifically for winter gear, such as skis, snowshoes, skates and trekking poles with spikes.

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