News


Welcome to our New Director of Operations, Emily Art

posted Sep 13, 2018, 10:50 AM by Debra Lewis   [ updated Sep 13, 2018, 10:51 AM ]

The Finger Lakes Toy Library is happy to announce the hiring of a new Director of Operations, Emily Art. Thank you to the Community Foundation’s Lane Family Fund and Tompkins Today and Tomorrow Fund for helping to fund this position. 

Prior to joining the Finger Lakes Toy Library, Emily was a teacher for Washington, DC Public Schools, working with students from pre-K through first grade.  Previously, she worked at a nonprofit organization, where she created programming on a variety of issues, including children’s mental health and healthy school food.

Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from SUNY Geneseo and a master’s degree in public health, with a focus on maternal and child health, from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. 

“The Finger Lakes Toy Library is a great example of why I feel lucky to live in this community,” Emily shares.  “It is an amazing resource for all members of the community and I am thrilled to become a part of the toy library team!”

Emily will be hosting open hours on Thursdays from 3-6pm starting September 20th. Come in and meet her!

Thank you to the Community Foundation's Lane Family Fund and Tompkins Today and Tomorrow Fund

posted Jun 25, 2018, 5:10 PM by Debra Lewis

We are so grateful to have received $2500 of grant funding this Spring from the Community Foundation’s Lane Family Fund and Tompkins Today and Tomorrow Fund! Thank you so much!

The grant money will be used to help us fund a part-time Director of Operations. 

The position is for 8 hours a week to start with an hourly rate of $15/hour. The Director of Operations will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the toy library (regular open hours and periodic events). This position will include managing volunteers and interns, ensuring the toy collection and the toy library itself stay organized and in good condition, performing outreach within the local community, communicating with members, and regularly communicating with the FLTL board, as well as attending board meetings. The FLTL Board is a working board and the Director of Operations will be strongly supported by it.

Our hope is that this position will grow as our fundraising efforts grow and that we will be able to offer more hours in the future. We are hoping to find someone who is committed to the toy library and who would be interested in growing with us. 

FLTL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2016, which opened its doors in June 2017 and has been entirely volunteer-led up until this point. FLTL operates a community toy lending library, currently lending over 800 toys to over 160 members. The mission of the Finger Lakes Toy Library is to improve quality of life by increasing access to toys, supporting play, and encouraging a culture of reuse and sharing.

Please email cover letter and resume by July 20 to FLTL Board President Debra Lewis at debra.lewis@fingerlakestoylibrary.org. More information about FLTL can be found on our website at: www.fingerlakestoylibrary.org 

Ithaca Journal Front Page Story

posted Apr 29, 2018, 7:54 PM by Debra Lewis   [ updated Apr 29, 2018, 7:55 PM ]

Thank you so much to Kate Collins from the Ithaca Journal for her fabulous story and photographs!

All Things Equal Interview

posted Apr 29, 2018, 7:53 PM by Debra Lewis

An Interview with our Operations Manager, Amber Smith:
http://whcuradio.com/podcasts/all-things-equal-april-25th-2018/

Article in Cornell Chronicle

posted Mar 25, 2018, 2:38 PM by Debra Lewis   [ updated Mar 25, 2018, 2:41 PM ]

Thanks to Nancy Doolittle for this great article in the Cornell Chronicle:

http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2018/03/toy-library-visit-delights-children-hasbrouck-community-center

“I was thrilled to learn about the FLTL when their staff reached out to Cornell’s Office of Community Relations about ways to better connect with Cornell,” said Kate Supron, campus-community liaison for Cornell’s Office of Community Relations. “The FLTL is a valuable asset to both the Cornell and greater Ithaca/Tompkins communities, providing access to high quality educational toys without the investment of purchase. It also provides a sustainable destination for toys families have outgrown. The ‘pay-as-you-can’ membership scale and outreach program add equity and inclusion to their core value of sustainability. These are guiding principles for Cornell and its home communities."

Thanks to HABA USA for your toy donation!

posted Jun 23, 2017, 12:57 PM by Debra Lewis   [ updated Jun 23, 2017, 1:00 PM ]

"At HABA USA we believe in the power of play and the incredibly positive impact it has on child development,” says Ashley Ware, Sales and Marketing Coordinator at HABA USA. “We are happy to donate our toys and excited to be part of the Finger Lakes Toy Library!”


Thanks to Kelsey from the Ithaca Voice for the great photos and article!

posted Jun 23, 2017, 12:55 PM by Debra Lewis   [ updated Jun 23, 2017, 12:56 PM ]

Ithaca Voice said on Facebook

Who needs some happy news to end their week? A new toy lending library is opening next week. Local children will be able to borrow toys just like they would books from the library.

Founder Debra Lewis had the idea to open the Finger Lakes Toy Library after having her daughter two years ago.

"I found myself increasingly aware of all the high-quality toys out there and the unaffordable price tag on them. And I kept thinking how great it would be if Ithaca had one big collection of nice toys for all children in the area to share," Lewis said.

Follow this link for their article and photos: 

https://ithacavoice.com/2017/06/lets-play-check-100s-toys-ithacas-magical-new-toy-lending-library/

Ithaca Voice June 21st - the day before the opening ceremony

posted Jun 23, 2017, 12:52 PM by Debra Lewis   [ updated Jun 23, 2017, 12:56 PM ]

https://ithacavoice.com/2017/06/toy-library-opening-ithaca-thursday/

“At HABA USA we believe in the power of play and the incredibly positive impact it has on child development,” says Ashley Ware, Sales and Marketing Coordinator at HABA USA. “We are happy to donate our toys and excited to be part of the Finger Lakes Toy Library!”

Pre-ribbon-cutting press release

posted Jun 23, 2017, 12:50 PM by Debra Lewis

Ithaca’s new Toy Library to hold ribbon-cutting ceremony after receiving three local grants - including from the Community Foundation

 

The Finger Lakes Toy Library (FLTL), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed in 2016 to operate a toy lending library in Ithaca, has found a location, and after being awarded three local grants this spring, will be opening its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 22 at their location in Clinton West Plaza. All are welcome to stop by between 4:30pm and 6:00pm with the ribbon cutting ceremony happening at 4:45pm.

The mission of FLTL is to improve quality of life by increasing access to toys, supporting play, and encouraging a culture of reuse and sharing. Our community toy lending library on Clinton Street will function for toys and play much in the same way that the public library functions for books and reading. Internationally, toy libraries work just like book libraries, except that instead of borrowing a book, members borrow a toy. Toy libraries have been around in the USA since 1935 and provide a large number of benefits to members, which for FLTL will include both individual families as well as organizations and businesses.

After announcing the nonprofit’s existence to the community with a successful crowdfunding campaign this past holiday season, which engaged over 100 donors, the board of FLTL spent the winter writing grants and searching for a location. So far, the toy library has been awarded three local grants: a $750 Sustainable Tompkins Mini-Neighborhood Grant, a $425 Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library Community Organization Grant, and a $5,000 Community Foundation Grant from the Howland Foundation.

“We are very grateful for the support we have received from the community so far,” says President Debra Lewis. “We look forward to hosting community members in our location at Suite 106 in Clinton West Plaza for our ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 22nd as we open our doors and begin lending toys to the community.”

The toy library collection currently consists of almost 400 items, most of which have been donated by community members whose children have outgrown them. Toys were also purchased using grant funds, such as eco-education toys thanks to Sustainable Tompkins and literacy-related toys thanks to the Friends of TCPL. Additionally, toys have been donated by toy companies themselves. There have been board games, toys, and puzzles donated by companies such as Peaceable Kingdom, Gamewright, Family Pastimes, Sunsout Puzzles, and Snap Circuits. HABA USA in Skaneateles has donated a selection of toys that will be unveiled at our ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“At HABA USA we believe in the power of play and the incredibly positive impact it has on child development,” says Ashley Ware, Sales and Marketing Coordinator at HABA USA. “We are happy to donate our toys and excited to be part of the Finger Lakes Toy Library!”

Toys available for borrowing will initially be suitable mostly for children under the age of 7, but the toy library will also have an all-ages board game and puzzle collection available from the start. The toy library hopes to expand their collection in the future as more funding becomes available to include a wide range of toys for older children as well. FLTL plans to curate a collection of toys for lending that emphasizes high-quality, educational, environmentally-friendly, gender-neutral, and/or non-media-based toys, as well as toys that encourage open-ended, creative, imaginative, and cooperative play, and toys that build fine motor, gross motor, spatial reasoning, and other skills.

In addition to the lending of toys, FLTL hosts playtimes throughout the greater Ithaca-area, some of which are STEM-themed. Other themes for playtimes are in the planning stages. Toys from the collection are brought to playtimes, and children have the opportunity to play with them and each other in various off-site locations.

“Play is increasingly being shown to be invaluable to the development and education of children, especially during early childhood,” says Vice President and Volunteer Executive Director Amber Smith. “We look forward to positively impacting all Ithaca-area children by making high-quality toys accessible to everyone in the community.”

The ribbon cutting, taking place at 4:45pm will feature speakers from the Toy Library and the Chamber of Commerce. For more information, please visit the FLTL website at: www.fingerlakestoylibrary.org or the Tompkins County Chammer of Commerce website at: https://business.tompkinschamber.org/events/details/finger-lakes-toy-library-ribbon-cutting-187929


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