Toy library’s new home

Claire Hollings, left, hiring toys from lead librarian Rebecca Kenny,
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On the first day of opening at their new premises, the Ashburton Toy Library was abuzz with families hiring toys.

One child commented ‘‘it looks like there are more toys.’’

There aren’t, but the 950 toys that were moved over Easter now have a better space to be displayed in.

The library is now located at 21 Archibald St, Tinwald. It is up the long drive alongside Idea Services, on the north side of Active Explorers preschool on SH1.

The library members are thrilled to have found a new home after having to vacate their former location.

President Anthea Moore, said ‘‘our new location is great, there is off street parking, a large space, with room for children to play and parents to connect. As the area is fully fenced children will be able to play with the water toys outdoors in the warmer months.’’

They had outgrown their former location because as well as hiring toys, ‘‘we want to provide a space where families can come, children can play and socialise as well as the parents. Watching your child pick out toys to play with helps parents decide what toys to hire,’’ said Anthea.

Now they have lots of space for parents to sit and have coffee, and children to have fun.

With a much larger premises the toys can be better displayed and this makes it easier for children to find toys that appeal to them.

With the layout of the building, which has been used by Idea Services and various early childhood centres, there has been an opportunity to create a variety of areas such as ‘‘an area with toys for newborn’s where they can be safely on the floor playing while the parents pick out toys,’’ said Anthea.

Frankie and Sadie Sinclair test toys at the Ashburton Toy Library.

Children’s developmental levels change quickly so having the toy library means families aren’t spending a lot of money on a toy that children might grow out of in a short time.

Anthea said, ‘‘it is interesting a family might hire a toy and then six months later hire it again but to watch the different way the child plays with it shows how they have developed.’’

The toy library are always looking to increase their membership numbers. They currently have about 140 families. The benefits of an increase in membership is two fold.

For the not for profit organisation the increased income enables them to buy more toys. For the member they have access to a diverse range of toys that they haven’t had to purchase.

‘‘Being able to regularly change children toys is great for the child,’’ said Anthea.

Memberships begin on the day they are taken out and last a year.

There are two forms of membership. For $60 there is no requirement to help at the toy library. If you are prepared to undertake two shifts a year, of two hours, then the membership is half price.

The cost of hiring the toys ranges from free to five dollars for a two week period.

Those on duty can bring their children with them. Volunteering to do a duty ‘‘ is a great way to see what toys are in the library as you are issuing them, or putting them through the returns and maybe take the toy out yourself,’’ said Anthea.

As well as issuing and returns of toys, volunteers help check the toys, for missing pieces or broken parts and assist with keeping the toys well displayed.

If people are looking for a gift, vouchers can be purchased for any amount for either a membership or a toy credit for toys with a cost to hire them.

If people have second-hand toys in very good condition they are welcome to donate them to the toy library.

The library have appreciated the businesses who have sponsored toys. Some businesses donated toys linked to their business such as hairdressing and beauty salon toys or a toy kitchen.

The toy library is open Thursday’s and Saturday’s from 9.30am-12.30pm and Tuesday’s 3.30pm-5pm.

Now they are settled in what they hope will be their forever home they can continue to support families, provide stimulation for children and help provide fun and cheap rental of toys.