Latah Library to host Repair Café

Event brings sense of community to Moscow, allows people to fix items instead of throwing away

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COURTESY OF JACKIE CARTER

Volunteers running the event will help fix and clean items community members bring in.

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

The Latah County Library District will host a Repair Café event from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at the 1912 Center in Moscow. 

The free event is an opportunity for community members to bring in items they need repaired, said Jackie Carter, library assistant and repair café coordinator. Volunteers will be there to help fix and clean the items people bring in. 

Community members can bring in small appliances such as lamps, vacuums and fans, Carter said. There will also be stations for books, jewelry and clothing. 

“We also have a glue station,” Carter said. “Everyone seems to have that one item in the house that needs a special kind of glue, and they don’t want to go out and pay eight or nine dollars for a bottle of glue they’re only going to use once.”

Carter said the library hosts the Repair Café four times a year. The library did not host it last year because of the pandemic, but this will be the third year the event has happened. 

The people who come through the Repair Café are grateful, she said. Some people save up broken items in their house just to bring them in to be fixed. 

People can get frustrated when they buy something that only lasts a couple of years, Carter said. Rather than throwing it away, community members can make it last longer.

“It’s a resource people didn’t realize we had,” she said. “It saves money, and it just seems less wasteful.”

“It’s enormously satisfying to see people come into the event with something they have that is non-functioning, something they have been hanging onto for years on the off chance that it can be somehow fixed,” she said. 

Repair Café is a movement that started in the Netherlands in the early 2000s, Carter said. It spread throughout Europe and is now hitting the U.S. 

The event is operated by volunteers, so there is no guarantee an item will be fixed because volunteers might not have the correct materials, said Lisa Egan, library access services manager. 

Egan said she enjoys seeing the way the community gets excited about the event.

“It’s good for the environment,” she said. “It’s good for the community, and we’ve had great community response. It’s a lot of fun.”