Giv­ing the gift that keeps on giv­ing

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

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.

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