Giving the gift that keeps on giving
Toys, especially the durable, quality, educational kind, can be expensive.
Buying such a toy for one child this Christmas may be affordable - but buying one each for a family of two, three or five children could prove prohibitive.
The solution, said Manawatu Toy Library’s Jo Lewis, is to buy a $95 annual toy library membership and have year-round access to a variety of toys for each child in the family.
‘‘A good quality toy averages at around $100. A trike or or any of the bigger toys can be over $400,’’ Lewis said.
The library notched its 40th birthday at the end of October. The journey began in a city council-owned building on Rangitikei St in October 1976 to provide toys for children with special needs.
Peggy Mercer, who is still with the library, remembered how it began.
‘‘Parents with special needs children had so many demands on them and couldn’t afford the electronic toys that were coming in, so a need for a service that provided those toys was high.’’
Less than a year later, the library moved to Terrace End School, and in 1981, to the public library on the corner of The Square and Main St East.
It’s next home was the St Andrews Chancery building on Ashley St. There the library was opened up to all children, with an annual subscription of $10.
It then relocated to QEC where it stayed until 2015. Earlier this year it moved from the Amberley Ave scout hall to new premises on Church St.
‘‘They did a really good job setting it up. It’s the same set-up we use today,’’ Lewis said.
Toy library member Karen Gilmore said she enjoyed the wide variety of toys and games.
‘‘We learned about the library through friends and joined at the beginning of the year so that we could have some of the bigger toys that we couldn’t purchase ourselves.’’
Jennifer Lussing and her three children were here from Nova Scotia.
‘‘We don’t buy toys, except for maybe Lego. It’s a good fun environment, and we change toys multiple times, and there are great learning resources here,’’ Lussing said.
The well-maintained toys can be borrowed for up to three weeks at a time.
Enjoying toy library toys are Mia, 2, mum Karen Gilmore, Asa Lussing, 4, Peggy Mercer and Forest Lussing, 7.