By Lethbridge Herald on March 1, 2020.
The Lethbridge Public Library Crossings Branch unveiled the new toy library at their facility on Saturday, for families to access a variety of new toys.
The main branch of the Lethbridge Public Library has hosted a toy library for a couple of decades, and has seen positive response from families who like to take advantage of and cycle through the different toy options. Following some public feedback from westside library users, faculty of the library decided it would be a good investment in the community.
“The new toy library is really exciting, we are just so fortunate to be able to open one here,” says Sarah Head, Manager Branch Service Lethbridge Public Library.
“The main branch has had a toy library accessible since 1992, and when we built this branch, we didn’t plan to build a toy library, it was actually a cafe space, but we heard from our community through numerous comments and people coming up to the desk asking about it, and so we decided based on that community need that we would try and build that. We had the space and we were really fortunate to secure funds from The Friends of the Public Library and FortisAlberta.”
Part of the toy library project at the Crossings Branch was sponsored by FortisAlberta who encouraged the library to invest in sustainably made toys from companies using sustainable practices. Although the reuse of a single toy between many different families reduces the amount of waste, the library took it one step further, using recycled materials and trusted manufacturers.
“FortisAlberta gave us a grant of $1,400 to purchase sustainably made toys, so we have toys from Green Toys, which is a company out of the United States and everything is built out of old milk bottles,” says Head.
“Some of the other toys that we have are from companies that use sustainably sourced materials such as lumber, so it lessens the environmental impact, but also the fact that it is also a sharing library, so you can borrow an item and bring it back, and those toys get used a lot more times than if they went home with just one kid and got played with for the couple of weeks before they get bored of it.”
The Friends of the Public Library raised a majority of the funding, and provided $2,700 towards the launching of the program at the Crossings Branch. Committee member Vic Mensch says it is good to see the money they have raised go towards the happiness and enjoyment of youth in the community.
“The Friends really is the fundraising arm for the library, so we do a lot of grant writing, applying for grants, run casinos, we sell stuff and all kinds of different fundraising, and then we donate a lot of that money back to the library for special projects like this,” says Mensch.
“It is great to see that the money that we have raised for this goes towards something that brings joy and a lot of contentment to kids, it also helps families, too, because kids are happier playing with toys.”
Families with a Lethbridge Public Library card will now be able to access a toy library at both locations in the city, along with a variety of different programs they offer. Library cards are free of charge for the second year in a row. For more information, visit lethlib.ca.
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