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Making a human connection, one repair at a time


In the world we live in today, if a toaster breaks or those comfy sweatpants you bought for cheap from the markdown rack get a rip in them, you’d probably toss them.


Replacing things quickly, with a tap on our phones or clicks on a keyboard, is so easy to do. This is why what’s going on at libraries across King County, Washington feels kind of radical.


They are calledfix it fairs, or repair cafes. People bring in busted toasters, stereos that have been silent for too long and pants that haven’t been worn due to holes here and there. A small army of “fixers” equipped with tool boxes and their own sewing machines greets these people and their broken objects. For a few hours, strangers get to know one another over pop up workshop tables.


Longtime fixer Paul Sovino says, “No matter how unimportant the piece of material is that I’m fixing at any given moment, to that person the repair is worth its weight in gold.”


In this story, we’ll spend some time at a Repair Cafe that took place at the Skyway Library near Renton, Washington.



Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.