South Portland residents will be able to borrow electric tools, like lawn mowers, hedge clippers and leaf blowers, for up to a week at a time at the new electric tool library at the transfer station. Contributed / City of South Portland

Starting next week, South Portland residents will be able to check out eco-friendly lawn tools at the city’s new lending library at the transfer station.

A grand opening for the South Portland Electric Tool Library will be held June 3.

The library is located next to the Swap Shop building at the transfer station off Highland Avenue. It will feature all-electric lawn care tools, such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and hedge trimmers, which residents can borrow for up to a week to use at home.

The project stems from the city’s One Climate Future Plan, said Susan Parmelee, manager of the city’s sustainability program. One climate change action strategy in the plan suggests working with other city entities, such as libraries, to promote a low-carbon future, “which this would absolutely fall under,” she said.

Any resident can borrow the electric lawn care equipment if they are at least 18 years old and have a South Portland Public Library card.

“We’re actually checking out all of the equipment under the library system,” Parmelee said.


Borrowers will also need to provide a credit card number, but Parmelee emphasized that the city is not looking to fine anyone for late returns. Rather, that data will be held just as a precaution in case the borrowed equipment is returned damaged or not at all.

The tool library gives residents a chance to see what electric lawn equipment has to offer, and how their performance has caught up to the standards of traditional tools.

“I think there’s been a lot of misconception about how well electric lawn equipment works; a lot of ideas that the battery dies too quickly or that it can’t cut tall grass,” Parmelee said. “We want people to know that electric lawn equipment has improved over the last few years. We want to give people the opportunity to see that, run the equipment, see for themselves if it is worth buying one.”

South Portland has distributed over $8,000 in rebates for more than 40 households who have purchased electric lawn care equipment through the city’s Electrify Everything! program.  

The tool library and Swap Shop will open June 3. They will be open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through October.

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