Learning repair skills

Concesio, Italy

Challenge team: Biblioteca Comunale di Concesio and library users

Population of Concesio, Brescia: 15,000

Summary: This library in Northern Italy is working with local volunteers to set up a repair café where library users can repair household items, learn new skills and meet other local residents.

The Biblioteca Comunale di Concesio in Brescia, Northern Italy and the library’s users want to address a need they see as a common challenge around the world: learning repair skills. In times of over-consumption this challenge team fear we are losing the ability to examine, understand and repair the tools and things we use. 

Together with its users, Concesio’s library is addressing this challenge by establishing a regular ‘repair party’. Library users are able to bring small household appliances that they will repair together with repair volunteers every second Saturday of the month. Following  a simulation session  in January, they will officially start in March with the help of the “Kakapolab” association. Their volunteers will become members of this association. 

There are six main repair specialisms – ranging from small appliances, computers and smart phones to wooden objects, toys and clothing items, as well as bicycles. 

Participation is voluntary and free of charge and participants are all local residents. The goal is two-fold: to reduce waste by encouraging re-use and recycling; and to strengthen social cohesion by setting up spaces to create moments of mutual support. 

After a call out on social media and local media, the challenge team recruited a team of volunteer repairers aged from 19 to 83. After meeting with all the volunteers, they bought the tools they would need and worked out the logistical and safety considerations before opening up the repair party to library users in January 2023.

The challenge team said: “The idea is unique because, we believe, ours is the first repair space within a library.”

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