West Seattle has a Tool Library; how about a Toy Library?

November 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | 20 Comments

When Katie sent a short note asking us to add to the calendar two meetings later this week to see if there’s community interest in forming a West Seattle Toy Library, we thought it sounded like news. So we asked for more details. She explained:

There are no other toy libraries in Seattle. They are very popular in the UK and Australia. The USA has a National Toy Library Association that affiliates with toy libraries in other major cities. They are not as popular in the US as they are in other countries around the world but I think that should change. The recent interest to be green and teach sustainable practices to our kids should extend to the realm where they live: toys.

I was tired of buying toys that my toddler would play with for 10 minutes and then toss aside. I want to teach her what it means to recycle in a meaningful way and I want her to learn to treat things with respect so it can be used in the future. I was looking for something that we could do as a family, and so I google searched toy libraries in Seattle. Much to my amazement and annoyance, there isn’t one. So. I guess we’ll have to start one. The tool library has been a major source of inspiration for me and I am looking for other families who want to jump on the bandwagon and get this thing going!

The meetings are 7-8 pm this Thursday (November 21st) and 3-4 pm this Saturday (November 23rd), both at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor). Come to one to talk about “what a toy library is, overview of function, & opportunities for participation.”

20 Comments

  1. What a great idea! We first heard about this in New Zealand and I mention it to people all the time!! Will try to join the meetings.

    Comment by AH — 2:38 pm November 19, 2013 #

  2. Beautiful idea! Maybe it would be a good idea to see what established toy libraries do in terms of sanitation? My concern, especially with plush toys, would be bed bugs. Unfortunately, Seattle seems to have periodic outbreaks.

    Comment by Rebecca — 3:17 pm November 19, 2013 #

  3. We don’t have any children, but this is a fantastic idea! Sure wish there was a toy library back when I was a kid. It would have saved my parents with four sons a LOT of money!

    Comment by kevin — 3:31 pm November 19, 2013 #

  4. I love this idea! I hope to make the Saturday meeting.

    Comment by Lisa — 3:35 pm November 19, 2013 #

  5. yay Katie for the jumpstart; I’ve suggested this in neighborhood groups for years; we already have the neighborhood model of WS Tool Library; had no idea there were already national/international models of toy libraries; excellent news

    Comment by Diane — 3:56 pm November 19, 2013 #

  6. No need to start one. Just go over to Ercilini Playfield, there are dozens of toys for sharing there. Just play with them at home and then drop them off at any park. Junction and Morgan parks could sure use some. The Park Department encourages this type of sharing.

    Comment by Jed — 5:27 pm November 19, 2013 #

  7. When we lived in the Midwest, our local preschool PTA (yes, there was a PRESCHOOL PTA!)had a toy lending library. It was fantastic! You could check out a toy for a week or two, and as long as you returned in clean and in good working condition, you were free to check out another. It takes a community to support this kind of effort, and we were lucky to be part of such a community. I hope WS can step up to the challenge.

    Comment by Toys R Us! — 6:06 pm November 19, 2013 #

  8. How about a medical hardware library? Things like canes, walkers, wheelchairs, shower seats, etc. So many people, like myself, have these items taking up space and would love to see them go to someone that needs these items. The have started the conversation here in Fauntleroy. Right now we are looking for the space to store these items. Anyone have any suggestions for a space to store these things? Please contact me at gmwinv@comcast.net

    Comment by Gordon — 6:16 pm November 19, 2013 #

  9. We have participated in the Toy Library while living in Australia. This is exactly what the community needs. It is a great way to share some toys and save some money on high priced items. Our “rented” items were always very clean and well cared for. Will try to make meeting. Thanks for getting the seed planted.

    Comment by Jenn — 6:29 pm November 19, 2013 #

  10. I’ve been walking by Ercolini Park regularly since it opened. And each time, it seems the collection of trikes, scooters and cars has been added to. It’s really cute after dark, when the toys are scattered willy-nilly – lying just where they were dropped when a child reluctantly had to leave. I think children rather enjoy toys that have been played with by someone else. I once worked at Magic Mouse Toys, and we often ended up having to sell the demo that a child had been playing with, because having new one from a box didn’t have the same appeal. A toy library will be fun.

    Comment by Last53BusRider — 7:03 pm November 19, 2013 #

  11. @Gordon – There is a similar established organization in Edmonds called The Donor Closet. http://myedmondsnews.com/2013/04/sponsor-spotlight-the-donor-closet-the-heartbeat-of-ms-helping-hands

    Comment by Alphonse — 8:03 pm November 19, 2013 #

  12. The Neighborhood House High Point Family Center had a toy library service. I don’t know if they still do it. That’d be a good resource for the conveners to learn what works/doesn’t work.

    Comment by Jenn2 — 8:59 pm November 19, 2013 #

  13. I think it’s a great idea for grandparents when the grandkids come to visit!

    Comment by Lori — 9:09 pm November 19, 2013 #

  14. I love it when the elves line up all of the toys at Ercoloni, organized by color, size or wheel number.

    Comment by J — 9:26 pm November 19, 2013 #

  15. I suggested to Katie that she be sure to visit there, actually, because that was also the first thing I thought of when considering the concept of shared toys … we drove by there yesterday while en route to check out something on Genesee Hill, and there they all were, neatly parked and colorful! – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 9:35 pm November 19, 2013 #

  16. I can’t make either meeting. Katie, can you provide your email and I’ll send to my WS momma friends?

    Comment by Samm — 9:46 pm November 19, 2013 #

  17. Yes. The email address created for this endeavor is: westseattletoycoop@gmail.com

    Thanks for your interest! I’m looking forward to meeting everyone.

    Comment by Katie Steen — 8:52 am November 20, 2013 #

  18. For about 2.5 years my friend and I slaved over a lending toy library in north Seattle primarily focused on families with kids with special needs due for o the constant need for new stimuli and motivating toys for therapy (aka reinforces). It was A HUGE undertaking and lots of work with very few users. When we closed down, we ended up donating a majority of the toys to orgs and then hosted give away sessions. I think many American kids have a set mind that their toys are theirs alone which is sad considering the opportunities the toy library idea presents. I sincerely hope this goes forward and has a longer life and higher use result/outcome.

    Comment by andrea m — 5:08 pm November 20, 2013 #

  19. Great idea but I heard of toy libraries being discontinued in other cities because of widespread illness… flu, cold etc

    Comment by sp — 12:59 pm November 21, 2013 #

  20. So fabulous! I don’t have any children or plan on having any, but I absolutely LOVE sharing economies!

    Comment by Krystal — 5:52 pm November 23, 2013 #

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