After months of planning and preparation by volunteers, this weekend the Comox Valley Toy Library will open its doors for the first time.
Located at the LINC Youth Centre in Courtenay, the toy library’s two-day grand opening will run from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with regular hours after this weekend being 3 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
Comox Valley Toy Library Society founder and chair Rebecca Mohrs says those involved in its inception are very excited to open.
“Everyone on our board of directors and our volunteers have been working a lot to get the toys cleaned and catalogued and organized, and just getting the word out … so we’re all really excited for this to open,” says Mohrs. “And, we can’t wait to start borrowing ourselves and start meeting all of the people who want to use us.”
Mohrs says this weekend is a great time for those interested to sign up as members. The annual membership fee is $20, which allows members to borrow up to five toys every two weeks.
“We want to keep (the fee) low so that it’s really accessible to any family,” adds Mohrs. “But, the toy library isn’t only for people who can’t afford to buy a lot of toys; it’s for all families, and businesses, to use.”
For example, Mohrs notes a café is interested in borrowing toys to circulate in its kids zone, grandparents can borrow toys in preparation for visits from their grandkids or those having friends with kids visit from out of town can borrow toys, too.
“And (it’s good for), just for any family who wants to have less clutter in their home and a constant, fresh supply of fun, stimulating toys,” adds Mohrs. “It’s great for people who care about the environment, too.
“We have a huge amount of toys (donated) from only really, maybe 20 families … And just realizing that those toys are from only a few families, imagine how many fewer toys will need to be manufactured to supply the families of the Valley if they’re using the toy library — and how many fewer toys will then end up in the landfill.”
Mohrs roughly estimates the toy library now has 200 toys in its collection. Exersaucers, ride-on toys, puzzles, various figurines, baby toys and electronic learning toys are a few examples of items in its collection. Most toys are suitable for young children (birth to kindergarten) but there’s a few things for older children, too.
Toy donations are always welcome. Toys must be easily wiped clean, however, as they are sanitized between loanings. Stuffed animals are not accepted.
As well, the toy library will also accept donations of baby gear like strollers, booster seats and jolly-jumpers that can be borrowed when expecting out-of-town visitors.
The Comox Valley Toy Library Society is a non-profit society made up of volunteers. The City of Courtenay donated the space at the LINC for it to operate out of, which Mohrs notes the society is thankful for.
Donated toys not suitable for the library’s collection will be put in a garage sale sometime in the near future, in an effort to generate money to cover library expenses, such as insurance and cleaning and administration supplies.
The Comox Valley Toy Library’s grand opening will feature facepainting for kids. A sign outside the LINC building (300 Old Island Highway) will direct visitors to the toy library area.
The society is looking for ongoing volunteers to help operate the toy library, and hopes to increase its operating hours once a volunteer pool has been developed. For more information, visit http://cvtoylibrary.weebly.com/, e-mail email@example.com or join the Facebook group Comox Valley Toy Library Society.