Toy Library History

Yes, Toy Libraries are a thing!

Toy libraries first came about in the United States in 1935. Today, the USA Toy Library Association identifies more than four hundred toy libraries. The closest locally are in Rochester and Penn Yan. We feel that the toy library presence will continue to grow in the United States. Many more exist internationally, including 1200 in England alone, and are supported by the International Toy Library Association.


Membership in a Toy Library Supports Families By

  • making it easier to keep up with the developmental leaps of children as they quickly grow out of toys and are ready for new ones;
  • exposing children to the sharing economy and reuse culture at a young age, which helps instill in them the true meaning of what it is to share;
  • introducing children to a wide variety of toys that can stimulate different areas of brain development;
  • lessening the potential financial stresses associated with purchasing toys;
  • lowering the amount of time needed to rehome toys when children outgrow them;
  • increasing access to toys that may be outside of some budgets;  
  • encouraging play to be a large part of the development and education of children, which research is showing to be integral to the success of both;
  • reducing waste and environmental impact by scaling down the total number of toys that one community needs;
  • providing the opportunity to try out toys before purchasing them; and
  • creating a space for children from all parts of the community to play with each other and for caregivers to discuss issues related to toys and play.




Additionally, according to the International Toy Library Association, the general benefits of toy libraries include:

Some of the benefits of toy libraries:
 
1. Interactive play between parent and child helps to strengthen the parent-child relationship.
2. Children have a safe place to meet and socialize with other children.
3. A child's self confidence increases with each toy enjoyed and mastered.
4. Toy librarians ensure that children experience very positive adult-child interaction, something which is often lacking in families due to the stresses of modern life.
5. Children learn important social skills like sharing and turn-taking.
6. Resilience is strengthened as children learn to accept losing a game and having to make compromises in group play.
7. Educational stimulation with special focus on foundation skills for literacy, mathematics and scientific thinking for young children whose families are living in poverty.
8. Early intervention with graded toys for children with special needs.”


Please check back soon for more updates to the Toy Library History section of our webpage.

In the meantime, the International Toy Library Association webpage, which is the source for benefits of toy libraries list above, is a great place to learn more about toy libraries. It can be found here: