A LIBRARY that gives out tools rather than books is to be opened in Leith Walk, which is one of my favourite streets, but that is by the by.

The Edinburgh Tool Library (ETL) will be housed in an old Tardis-stye police box, so we must hope it's bigger inside than out, or there goes my chance of borrowing a bulldozer.

Still, it's an intriguing idea. The first library I ever visited was on Leith Walk, and I managed some time ago to find a copy of the first book I remember reading there: "The First Book of The Barbarian Invaders AD 375-511."

What a peculiar child I must have been, forever changing the subject to Visigoths. Mind you, I cannot recall what happened in AD 511 that caused the final whistle to be blown, so I've just looked it up in the book and it says: "Clovis the Frank died." Yes, I thought it would be that.

I feel like a Vandal among the ruins of Rome whenever I enter a DIY store. Every item I encounter breaks as soon as I touch it. Handless, d'you see?

So, I cannot see me making much use of the ETL, particularly if it involves speaking to someone. I don't have even the words, never mind the skills, for DIY. All I end up saying is: "Please help me."

But it's a terrific idea, what with the price of everything nowadays. No reason why a lending library should be restricted to books. Indeed, public libraries offer you CDs, DVDs and all sorts now. Soon, they'll be like Lidl, where you go in for a pint of milk and come away with a submarine.

In fact, you'll get more peace and quite in a tool library, as public libraries are bedlam these days. In the old days, you got shushed for speaking loudly. Today, you could go in banging a drum and hardly be heard over the din.

The ETL also has the ulterior motive of helping young people into work. Tool librarians will be on hand to offer advice and generate enthusiasm for genuinely useful trades that account for a small percentage of the jobs market.

It's all good: the edifice, the locale, the motive. I cannot help thinking, too, that it'll be less disturbing than reading about Ostrogoths and Huns.

Had there been an ETL when I was a boy, perhaps I wouldn't have grown up so handless. Then again, at least the book library taught me about Hermann the German. His warriors used to shriek into their shields to create a terrible clamour in the forest, you know. Fascinating. Oh Lordy, I'm off again.