Toy Library tripled in size in past year

First anniversary of permanent home at St. George’s United Church in Courtenay

Erin Haluschak

Record staff

 

While the road hasn’t been without bumps following the first year in its permanent home, the Comox Valley Toy Library is learning the needs of its users.

Last year, the volunteer-run library found a home at St. George’s United Church in Courtenay, and as a result, it has tripled the toy collection and began to “figure out the ropes to what works for the Comox Valley,” explained volunteer Vivian Vaillant.

“It’s really nice to have a permanent location. We really got out with such a bang, but we also realized it’s way bigger than we could be, because we’re 100 per cent volunteer run.”

As a result, the library, which provides new toys every week to its members, scaled back on its hours and really focused on getting an organizing system that would be easy for volunteers, added Vaillant.

“We would love to be open five days a week, but we’re not a publicly-funded library.”

She noted the library – which requires a $20 yearly membership with 100 per cent of the cost going towards their liability insurance – has toys for newborns to children eight years old.

Open the first and third Tuesday and Saturday of every month, the library is looking for more volunteers. Vaillant said volunteering is a wonderful way for community building.

“It’s more like a village than a service,” she noted. “People started off as members are now volunteering. We’d love to see more grandparents come out and have multi-generations.”

Recently, the library received a gaming grant which was used for a new cataloguing system and storage bins, which Vaillant added will make it easier for the library to grow. It is also looking at offering online toy renewal.

Currently, the library has a base of about 10 volunteers and would like to add to that list. The annual general meeting with a chocolate buffet is set for April 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Comox Recreation Centre.

Vaillant said the library’s funding is reliant on how many people come to the meeting, so volunteers are also offering childcare during that time, and memberships will be for sale at a discounted rate.

“Our hours will be limited by the number of volunteers we can reply on. It is important to us to offer an alternative to buying more plastic gear than we need.

“Sharing toys is a significant reduction (to the) landfill and a wonderful message to children.”

The library is also seeking board members, particularly a vice-president and a secretary.

For more info, visit the Comox Valley Toy Library on Facebook.