Repair Café@the Library

Repair Café returned to the library on Saturday, February 17 and our volunteer fixers helped folks repair a variety of items, ranging from lamps to lamp shades, from bicycles to chairs, laptops to coat trees. Included were several items of clothing, a necklace, a telescoping cane and even the repair of a digital multimeter belonging to one of the fixers. We were not be able to repair outdoor gasoline powered equipment this time, but you can certainly bring them to our June Repair Café, which will be held on June 16. If you are interested in helping, either as a “fixer” or otherwise assisting with planning or on the day of the event, please call the Library at 231-758-3114.


What is a Repair Café?
Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). At a Repair Café you’ll find tools and materials to help you make the repairs you need on clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, small engines, bicycles, toys, lamps, etc. You’ll also find volunteer fixers with repair skills in all kinds of fields. Visitors bring their broken items from home to the Repair Café and start making their repairs, together with the volunteer fixers. It’s an ongoing learning process. If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get inspired at the reading table – by leafing through books on repairs and DIY.

Why a Repair Café?
We throw away vast amounts of stuff, even things with almost nothing wrong which could get a new lease on life after a simple repair. The trouble is, lots of people have forgotten that they can repair things themselves or they no longer know how. Knowing how to make repairs is a skill quickly being lost. The Repair Café changes all that! Valuable practical knowledge is getting passed on. Things are being used for longer and don’t have to be thrown away. This reduces the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products. The Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light, and to once again appreciate their value. But most of all, the Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is.

The repairs at the Repair Café are free. Isn’t that unfair competition for professional repairers like seamstresses and bicycle repair shops?
The people visiting the Repair Cafés at the moment are not customers of professional repairers. They are people who are tossing out their broken bedside lamp, blender, chair or coat because getting it repaired is viewed as more expensive than buying a new one. Visitors to the Repair Café learn that their items can be fixed a lot more easily than they might have thought. That way, the chance that they will take their broken items to a professional repairer in the future will increase rather than decrease.

Here is a link to an NBC Nightly News piece on Repair Cafés