A New Chapter for Whakatāne Toy Library

A New Chapter for Whakatāne Toy Library
Hilary Beaton
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A New Chapter for Whakatāne Toy Library

More toys for local families and children

Whakatāne Community Toy Library has joined forces with Whakatāne Libraries thanks to Whakatāne District Council support. 

“Unfortunately, our previous premises at James Street School became unavailable, so we had to scout for somewhere we could operate from with a limited budget,” says Toy Library President, Amy Hurren. “We approached the Whakatāne Libraries team, who were incredibly supportive.”

Whakatāne Libraries helped by cataloging the toys and creating a streamlined process for borrowing. “It’s exciting to see our plans come to fruition.”, says Amy.

The new partnership model means anyone aged over 18 years with Whakatāne Libraries membership, which is free, can hire toys. All toys, games, and puzzles are priced at $1, $2 or $3 and can be borrowed for up to three weeks.

There are nearly 200 local toy libraries across New Zealand providing families and children access to a range of quality toys. Hiring toys is an affordable way to give children access to toys and games that are not easily available in their community. In Whakatāne, every endeavour is made to source New Zealand-made toys.

Borrowing toys is also good for the planet as toys can be used many times by multiple families rather than being used once and thrown out. The range of toys available promotes creativity and inspires free play, all of which promote brain development.

“What we really love to hear about is the spontaneous play that comes naturally from children’s curiosity, love of discovery, and enthusiasm,” explains Amy.

The large and often cost-prohibitive toys on offer, such as ride-on vehicles, dollhouses, and bikes, allow children to enjoy them without parents and caregivers needing to find long-term storage solutions.

Kim Johnston, Library Projects and Business Coordinator emphasises that the Toy Library is not limited to parents with young children. “We’ve already noticed that there are a number of grandparents and caregivers who hire toys, particularly during this school holiday period,” Kim says. “The three-week hire period seems to be the perfect amount of time to hold children’s interest, too.”

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