The Minneapolis Toy Library was launched in 2014 after two mothers came together over a idea about toy sharing. After successfully writing the first grant application for the Center for the New American Dream, a post on a social media page brought two other passionate moms into the mix who all together started the Minneapolis Toy Library. Together the four moms: Taryn, Molly, Rebecca and Rosie set-up the organizational structure, toy inventory and events. Taryn later that year moved to a different part of the state leaving the library in good hands with the three others.
The toy library began as a mobile program, bringing toys to the free meeting rooms at libraries in the Minneapolis area. Soon the toy inventory grew and the group could no longer cart them to and from libraries. In the Spring of 2016 the group decided to hold events at Rebecca’s house in a dedicated space in her garage. It was a memorable summer of having the community choose toys alongside her family’s motorbikes, however the need grew larger to find a more sustainable space. On August 2nd, 2016 the toy library finally had a place to call home, the youth room on the lower level of the Richfield Lutheran Church.
Why a toy library?
Many parents feel the need to buy new toys to capture their child’s attention and stimulate their development but want to balance this desire with frugality whether out of environmentalism, minimalism, or necessity. Furthermore, young children’s interest wanes quickly with toys, so a toy library is a great way to ensure that toys are getting more use than they would if they stayed with just one family (and parents can forgo the headache of storing unused toys). In addition, toy library volunteers can help parents select toys that are appropriate for their child’s developmental age in order to offer the most engagement and learning.
The Minneapolis Toy Library is a toy lending program for families with children ages birth to 5 years. The library offers an opportunity for families to connect with one another while supporting their child(ren)’s development through play and reducing their impact on the environment.