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Kershaw County Library starts South Carolina’s first Repair Café

Posted: July 20, 2017 5:00 p.m.
Updated: July 21, 2017 1:00 a.m.

What do you do with a broken toaster, a bike that’s a little wobbly, or a dull knife? Toss it? No way! Kershaw County Library and Habitat for Humanity of Kershaw County are organizing the first Repair Café in South Carolina on Saturday, August 5.

At Kershaw County Library’s Camden Branch on August 5, everything centers on making repairs. Starting from 10:00 am and ending at 1:00 pm, various volunteer repairers will be available to help make all possible repairs free of charge. People visiting the Repair Café will bring along their broken items from home. Small appliances, small furniture items, clothing, jewelry, bikes, toys, laptops, and dull knives are all candidates for free repairs.

According to library director Amber Conger, “Volunteers who are handy in various areas will be ready to assist any community member with repairs to items that they bring in. We aim to promote sustainability, teach repair skills (people have to stay with their items and learn as items are being worked on), help people save money, and bring neighbors together to have a good time while helping each other in a meaningful way.”

Community members can also enjoy a cold beverage, watch or lend a hand with someone else’s repair job, or find inspiration at the reading table with books on repairs and DIY.  Even spirits can be repaired!  “We will offer a station where patrons can write a letter of encouragement to be sent to a soldier overseas,” Conger said.

By promoting repairs, Kershaw County Library and Habitat for Humanity want to help make life a little easier for local residents. "We live in a throwaway culture, and items get tossed which have practically nothing wrong with them, and they could easily be used again with a simple fix. Unfortunately, many people have either forgotten that they can have things repaired, or they just don’t have the right skills to do it. Repair Café wants to change all that."  

Conger hopes to see lots of smiles and budding friendships as much as fully operational items at the end of the day. “While we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to fix everything, everyone should leave with troubleshooting insight if not a full-on repair.  Above all, Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is to learn.”

The Repair Café concept arose in the Netherlands, in 2009, and was formulated by Martine Postma, at the time an Amsterdam-bases journalist/publicist. In 2010, she started the Repair Café Foundation (see Repaircafe.org). This foundation provides support to local groups around the world wishing to start their own Repair Café. The foundation also supports the Repair Café in Kershaw County.

This program is also made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and administered by the South Carolina State Library.

Kershaw County Library still seeks volunteer repairers!  For more information, please contact Amber Conger at amberc@kershawcountylibrary.org or (803) 425-1508.

If you go

What can you bring for repair?

• Small appliances/electrical items

• Small carryable furniture items

• Clothing/textiles

• Jewelry

• Computers 

• Bikes

• Toys

• Knives needing sharpened

• No TVs, microwaves or large appliances

• Bring replacement parts with you 


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