A Zero Waste Community

As the new team settles in at SHARE Oxford, we’re really enjoying learning about all the local initiatives helping people to reduce waste and consume less. We hope that, as well as doing our bit with our Library of Things and Repair Cafes, we can develop our more ways to borrow page and become a “hub” helping people find solutions. We came up with the picture below as a view of the challenge, so we can think about where SHARE fits in and what gaps we can help people to fill.

We would love to hear from you if you’d like to let us know about a service or event we can share with the community, if you’ve got questions on where to share things or how to save waste, or any other thoughts and ideas. Do feel free to add to the comments on this post, or, as ever, drop us an email!

Maurice is moving on

As we pass our Third Birthday, we want to say a big thank you to Maurice, who co-founded SHARE, building up to an official launch on 16 Feb 2019. Since then, he’s continued to build a fantastic community of volunteers and sharers, as well as acquiring a unique and useful collection of things!

Having made the move to a new town, Maurice will stay involved as a director, helping guide us with his knowledge of the world of Libraries of Things and circular economy. Ben continues as Project Coordinator, and we are grateful to Chris and Philippa for joining the Board, as well as all our volunteers, meaning we have a great team to take things forward. Thank you for everything you’ve achieved, Maurice, and here’s to the next chapter!

Happy birthday, Oxford Library of Things

Today makes three years since SHARE Oxford officially launched the Library of Things. That was at the end of several months of acquiring ‘things’ (thank you all those donors of their unwanted items) and a group of volunteers creating our style, and setting up processes and trialling them.

The momentum has built ever since and we’ve learnt so much since then, had a changing group of helpers, added to our stock (there are now some 750 items in the Library), and made coming up to 1,900 loans (despite the downturn during lockdown).

With yet more newer volunteers, a recently constituted Board of Directors, and the evidence that the Oxford Library of Things is a going concern, we look forward to more years – alongside that growing number of Libraries across the UK and in other countries (we look forward to more ‘twinnings’ too).


Alex Mates

We are very sad to have learnt today of the death of our co-founder Alex Mates at her home in Romania earlier this week.

Alex brought the idea of a Library of Things to Oxford, called the meetings that brought it into being, and was instrumental in setting it up, inspiring it with her enthusiasm and devotion. She also started up and ran our Repair Cafés for a couple of years.

Alex was young, energetic, and very committed to the issues that underpin SHARE Oxford. Waste was her enemy. She worked in the waste team of the City Council. She set up the Circular Collective as a local manifestation of how the circular economy should work. And she saw repairing and sharing as causes to both promote and implement.

Alex was full of ideas, too many ideas sometimes, and had a strong sense of community. I’m sure that many people will have benefitted from knowing Alex and doing things with her. That’s certainly true of me.

Maurice, co-founder with Alex of SHARE Oxford

Alex’s former employers, ODS, have put together a page to raise money for Mind. Donations in her memory would be very welcome. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alexandramates

Buying less

I’ve just been in town and there’s a pop-up market selling all sorts of meaningless tat, for christmas I suppose, and getting in before the obscenity of Black Friday. We’ve just had COP26 and yay! we can all look forward to driving electric cars by 2035, or is it 2030 now? but we go on consuming so much unnecessarily.

Talking of Black Friday, for years, since long before Black Friday became a thing in this country, there has been Buy Nothing Day around the start of the big advertising push towards Christmas. It may not sound like fun, but we hope to encourage you to get involved…

Do your bit by resisting the allure of Black Friday and by supporting Buy Nothing Day 2021 on and around November 26th as a detox from consumerism and an opportunity for you to tune into the impact we have on the environment through shopping. People in more than 50 countries around the world will make a pact with themselves to take a break from consumption as a personal experiment or a public statement, and the best thing is – it’s free!!

…and repairing more too

We are again this year doing SHARE Oxford’s bit to combat the consumerism of Black Friday and holding a Repair Café. Our Repair Cafés encourage saving money and resources by keeping the things that you already have going, in preference to throwing them away and replacing them. “The greenest thing is the one you already own”

A conversation about the Library of Things

We were delighted when Caroline Wood, a local freelance science writer and podcaster, came in to speak to Maurice and Susan about how the library works. We hope you enjoy having a listen and learning a bit more about the library, the wonderful collection of things people have donated and ways you can live more sustainably by sharing rather than buying, as well as our experiences in the extraordinary last year.

September 4th (Saturday) early closing

For one day only, the Library of Things will be closing early. Hours that day will be 11.30 until 3.30 ONLY.

If you want to reserve items for collection on that day, please be sure to collect them by then, and if you have items to return, please bring them back by then. Very grateful.

All other days are will have normal opening hours.

Recruiting a Project Coordinator for SHARE

This is an exciting moment to take on this role. SHARE Oxford has proved itself to be a going concern and is now due to take the next step in extending its activities and impact. Part-time position on a self-employed basis.

£400 per week for 20 hours a week. Start date: as soon as possible

If you’re interested in knowing more, write to libraryofthings@shareoxford.org for the full role description

First international twinning of Libraries of Things

At today’s AGM we were excited to announce that we have twinned with Zero in Palermo in Sicily https://zeropalermo.it/

Waste reduction cannot be confined to individual countries if we are to make significant change. By linking, not only with other Libraries in the UK, but also with similar initiatives across the world we hope to increase the effect of what we do. Michelangelo of Zero wrote to us: “We are really happy to establish our twinning as a symbol of solidarity, common purpose and international recognition of commitment to shared values. We think that, besides the stated symbolic value, this initiative could lead us to share best practices, project milestones and more.”

We are proud to have initiated this and hope to join up with other Libraries in other countries in the future.