‘Playroom of the city’ gets newroom to foster play
Enjoying the toys in the new Palmerston North Toy Library premises are Levi Aguilar, 2, and in the foreground Jedd Fraser, 4. Moving from cramped conditions on Amberley Ave to the off-road shopping precinct on the corner of Church and Cook St across from the fire station during the last school holidays, the library now has plenty of room to display, and for kids to play with a collection of more than 2000 toys.
Toys can be transitory. And pricey. 40 years ago, to help counter these costs of childhood, a group of parents set up the Palmerston North Toy Library in the old Main St City Library.
Since then, this ark of toys has moved periodically, spending time in the former St Andrews Church hall in Ashley St, before moving to Queen Elizabeth College in Edgeware Rd in 2000, and then to the old Amberley Ave scout hall.
A new library chapter was started during the recent school holidays when its playthings and puzzles were packed up and shifted from Amberley Ave where it had been for 18 months, to a more central location.
A spacious premises in the Freedom Print retail precinct on the corner of Church and Cook streets across from the central fire station is now its new home.
Library co-ordinator Jo Lewis has been part of the ‘‘playroom of the city’’ for decades, and is well acquainted with the library’s history.
‘‘It was originally set up for children with special needs, and grew from there when it was opened up for everyone.’’
The new accessible location with plenty of free off-street parking ticks plenty of boxes for the members.
‘‘This place gives us the scope to display them and more space for children to play while parents are choosing.’’
The value is evident with children making happy use of the the area to give some of the playthings a good workout.
‘‘There’s been lots of positive feedback about our location and the parking. This could be the start of another growth spurt, and here we’re better equipped to sustain that growth.’’
Aimed at children between babyhood and around 8 years old, and special needs, the library is arranged in easily identifiable sections, which includes large toys, fantasy and imaginative play, puzzles and family games.
Lewis has overseen the collection as it has built to more than 2000 items, keeping it organised and under repair.
Funding for library acquisitions comes from grants organisation and includes Lottery funding and Lewis said there was great support from members of Menzshed who came in during the move and secured the shelving.
Staffed by volunteers, the toy library is open Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 9.30am to 12.30pm, with new signage due soon to help promote the Church St corner.
Maya Eggers Ramirez, 1, makes the most of plaything try-out time at the city’s new toy library.