BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Western New York has gotten a generous helping of snow this month – and a local non-profit is helping make sure all kids can enjoy the wintry weather with a “Little Free Sled Library”.
The Tool Library, located in Buffalo’s University Heights neighborhood, created the colorful structure last February with funding from Awesome Buffalo.
They didn’t get any significant snowfall after it was completed last year, but it’s now up and operational at Shoshone Park.
The “library” has sleds and sledding disks available for anyone to use, and return after they’re done.
“The tagline is ‘have fun, and return when done’,” Darren Cotton, board president and volunteer at the Tool Library said.
The Tool Library is an organization with a collection of about 4,000 tools, from handheld items to power washing equipment and lawnmowers. For a yearly membership starting at $20 per year, members can borrow tools for projects like home improvement, landscaping, and gardening.
The Tool Library came up with the idea for a Little Free Sled Library after seeing a similar concept in Minnesota on social media, Cotton said.
They were able to make the project a reality with help from Awesome Buffalo.
Awesome Buffalo is a giving circle made up of neighbors who pool money and give away $1,000 in cash every other month to “weird, wonderful, and timely” projects in Buffalo.
“We really liked that it was a project that could be done with $1,000, and we liked the impact that it could make,” said Jessica Szklany, Awesome Buffalo chair. “It’s something that could make people smile, or help them have fun.”
You can find the sled library where Shoshone Park meets up with the North Buffalo Rail Trail.
Cotton said they hope the sled library inspires other individuals in WNY to create sled libraries of their own near popular sledding hills. The Tool Library has plans and tools available to create them.
“We’d love to see this idea spread around the city and Western New York – sort of a great winter take on the “free libraries” we’ve seen popping up around the city,” he added.
Awesome Buffalo is taking applications for projects for 2022.
“We’re looking for ideas for the whole year – we’re really looking for quirky, off-the-wall ideas that other people may not fund,” Szklany said.