Toy Libraries

Toy Libraries. Here's an apparently proven concept and profoundly sensible service. I've found no equivalent in the US.

...toy libraries offer services to local families based on regular toy loan for a nominal fee (and sometimes for free). They provide carefully selected toys to borrow, play sessions, and a friendly, informative meeting place for parents and carers.

The first toy library was started in 1967 by Jill Norris, a Froebel-trained teacher and mother of two children with disabilities. The idea grew from families exchanging toys in their own homes and fundraising to provide specialist toys and equipment. Soon recognised as a valuable resource for the community, by 1973 the scope had widened to offer all children the opportunity to borrow toys through local toy libraries.

Toy libraries are often run by volunteers; many are parents themselves. Some are run by paid workers and others are part of a service offered by professionals: nursery and school teachers, social workers, health workers and others. All NATLL member toy libraries are managed locally and are responsible for their own funding arrangements.

There are over 1,000 toy libraries throughout the UK, serving approximately 250,000 children.

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