Borrow items such as gardening and DIY tools, camping equipment and kitchen equipment.


A Library of Things is just like a book library, such as things that you do not use very often, do not have space for, or cannot afford. People can borrow items such as gardening and DIY tools, camping equipment, or kitchen equipment, all at a price less than one would expect to pay second hand for.

Benthyg is the Welsh word for ‘to borrow.’

In Cardiff, Benthyg Cymru, founded in 2020, currently operates two Libraries of Things: in Splott at Railway Gardens; and at ACE’s Dusty Forge serving Ely and Caerau. It also offers a mobile collection service with an electric van that can deliver items from either site to anyone in the city. Benthyg Cymru manages the mobile service in partnership with Repair Cafe Wales and Cardiff Council with funding from Welsh Government.

There are Benthyg Libraries of Things elsewhere in Wales such as in Monmouth, Llanfyllin, Newport, Barry, Penarth, Pontypridd, Sandfields and Port Talbot. Thanks to National Lottery funding Benthyg Cymru employs a part-time co-ordinator, Russell Todd, to oversee operations in Cardiff, including the identification of locations in the city for new Libraries of Things, and specifically to develop borrowing as a response to the cost-of-living crisis.

Russell said, “I remember visiting Benthyg’s very first Library of Things when it was a small community operation. It is now established in the city and has built excellent links with the likes of Repair Cafe Wales, housing associations, faith organisations and communities themselves.”

He added, “We at Benthyg Cymru do not want to ‘parachute’ into communities to open a Library of Things and then leave; this is not the sustainable way of doing things. We much prefer to take our time in communities working with local groups to set up the community’s own Library of Things, in a venue that they identify as the most appropriate, operating at times that best suit that community.”

People can join Benthyg Cymru for free and once they are members items such as carpet cleaners are available to borrow for £10, power washers for £5, garden strimmers for £7, and lots lots more. As a not-for-profit organisation the money gets ploughed back into opening new Libraries across Wales.

Benthyg’s Libraries of Things offer a varied range of volunteering opportunities too and are often the catalyst for other ideas and projects in communities, usually related to the environment, climate change or reducing waste. People who get involved with our Libraries of Things can also pay for borrows with their time instead of money.

The next ‘pin in the map’ in Cardiff will be Llandaff North and Gabalfa from which expansion into the north of the city is the next target. So, if you are in the likes of Rhiwbina, Llanishen, Tongwynlais or Lisvane we would love to hear from you if you would like our support to set up your own Library of Things. We want to bring about a revolution in people borrowing those things that only ever get used a handful of times a year, rather than buying them. Our vision is for every community in Wales to have its own Library of Things.

In collaboration with London Library of Things, we recently invested in new borrowing software to streamline the membership and borrowing processes. You can become a member and/or peruse the library in Cardiff at the website