We made our first Give to the Max goal!!

This morning we crossed our $3,000 Give to the Max goal!! Woo hoo! We are grateful for all the support from the community and donors. This money will go directly to purchasing barcode tools, point of sale system, and computer/printer for the NE branch. With this taken care of they will be able to get off on the right foot. When the current location (South branch as we’ll call it) opened we didn’t have any of these fancy things. Going back and barcoding over 4,000 toys is a lot of work. Glad they won’t have to do that and can put their time into making the library better and better!

Our new goal is to raise another $3,000 to help pay for the rent of a permanent space. This is our biggest hurdle right now. To find the perfect space we may have to pay more than anticipated. We are devoted to this NE location and won’t let that stand in our way. With your help this will ease our rent concerns. With most of the day still left at the time of this post, we know we can do it! Let’s go!

Please consider donating today!

Thank you!

Rebecca Nutter

Executive Director

Give to the Max November 18th

Give to the Max is coming up – November 18th. It’s Minnesota’s giving holiday where donors support the work of organizations that make Minnesota a great place to live. We believe the toy library helps make Minnesota a great place to raise a family. Nearly 800 families have made a choice to borrow toys because they care about the environment and their child’s development. Now those children have learned a new way to play – they borrow toys and bring them back for others to use (circular economy). They learn how to respect the materials that others will use.

We are excited to bring a toy library to Northeast Minneapolis. You can help us make this happen! Our fundraiser is to raise $3,000 to help with technology needed to run the toy library.

Do you want more sustainable options for families in the Twin Cities? Do you have children who would benefit from the educational toys we have to offer? Please consider giving in any amount to our fundraiser.

We will have updates about the fundraiser and updates about how the NE toy library is doing on our GiveMN page as well. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more updates.

NE Minneapolis Toy Library

Hello!

The Minneapolis Toy Library is growing! We are working on setting up a NE Mpls toy library location!!  The wheels are in motion and the girls behind this endeavor are motivated. These 2 local moms, Abby and Teresa were inspired by the idea of sharing toys and got in touch with us. Our conversation led to the idea of the toy library having a second location in NE Mpls. Here’s a little bit about them:

Teresa lives in Columbia Heights with her husband, Bob and their three kids: Stella, Tatum and Eddie. Together they also live with Dez the dog and Rojita the tarantula. 

Teresa has a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Much of her work experience has been in the natural food industry. She is passionate about sustainability and sharing environmentally-friendly practices with others. 
When she’s not doing Toy Library work, Teresa enjoys gardening, reading novels with female protagonists, crafting, and volunteering her time with her local (book) library and her kids’ schools. She and her kids love exploring the Twin Cities, especially Northeast!


Teresa is excited about building community amongst families in Northeast Minneapolis with the Mpls Toy Library. She is drawn to the concept of reducing waste and battling consumerism with toy sharing.

Abby lives in the Waite Park Neighborhood in Northeast with her husband Josh, son Harrison and dog Hazel. She finds joy in biking around NE, thrift shopping, exploring parks and playgrounds, visiting the dog park, and trying all the different restaurants around NE! Her family continues to practice owning less and finding items used or local.


Abby is passionate about early childhood education. She believes building community and supporting families is an essential part of raising children. Previously, she worked as a toddler teacher at the University of MN Child Development Center. This is where she met Rebecca! Then she earned her M.Ed and Licensure in Parent and Family Education and began teaching as a Parent Educator in Columbia Heights. She extensively grew the program through listening to the wants and needs of the community.

Through this work and her own parenting, Abby has seen the value of community supporting families through normalizing challenges, celebrating joys, and sharing of toys & clothes. She has also seen how having less toys in a room and rotating toys increases engagement and reduces challenging behaviors. One of her sons favorite activities is opening a “new” toy bin from the closet!

She is excited to bring her love for toys & learning, minimalism, and building community to Northeast through the expansion of the Minneapolis Toy Library!

 

When will this all come together at a location in NE?  We do not have a date yet. Abby and Teresa are seeing MANY spaces for temporary use and permanent use. They do have 2 pop ups scheduled in NE Mpls. Saturday, November 13th 11-2pm and Saturday, December 4th from 11 – 2pm. Both are located at the Eastside Food Co-op. Check out our Facebook page for more information. We are excited and there are some ways you can help us make this a reality:

*tell your friends
*Email mplstoylibraryNE@gmail.com if your interested in joining their newsletter, have information on a location, or possible partnerships
*have resources to share: plastic bags, computer components, or toys 

We are JUST in the beginning stages of planning, but will keep you up to date as things progress. One thing to keep in mind – our Give to the Max goal this year will be to raise money for technological needs for a new library. Give to the Max is Minnesota’s giving holiday. It will take place on Thursday, November 18th this year. Reaching our financial goal will be fundamental in being successful. Early giving begins November 1st. Please consider giving – if we all help a little we can make it happen!

Thank you to all who have supported us.  This is an exciting new opportunity to serve even more families and continue offering a more sustainable way to play. 

UPDATED 5/31/21 Summer open hours plans

Change to summer in person borrowing plans!

In light of the recent restrictions lifted in Minnesota, the toy library will NOT be using reservations for families to come in to the library to borrow toys. Minneapolis still mandates that people wear masks inside, so that will stay in effect.  We will have a capacity limit of 10 family members inside the library at a time. If the capacity is reached when you arrive you will have to wait outside our doors until there’s space.  Please be courteous of others and keep your visits brief.  We encourage you to bring the toys home to try them out.  This saves on time and keeps toys cleaner.  

We apologize for all the back and forth.  I’m sure you are all experiencing this in your daily life as well and with other businesses.  We don’t want to confuse people and hope our communication ahead of our Monday, June 7th opening will help all know our current plans.  

Our hours for the summer:

Every 2nd and 4th week of the month

Monday 9 – 12

Wednesday 6 – 9

Saturday 9 – 12


A couple notes:

*We are still accepting toy donations.  You can bring those in and down the steps, there will be a bin for toy donations.  No need to come in the library for that.  Same goes for our recycling containers.

*You can renew in person or contact us through email.  We accept Venmo (@mplstoylibrary), cash, check or credit card at the library.

*Remember to use our toy cleaning protocol on our website to clean your toys before they come in.  Remember the plastic bags they came in as well.  

Can’t wait to see you!!!  Let us know if you have any questions, we are happy to help.

Rebecca and Kari

We are reopening this summer!

We decided to reopen the library for borrowing on Monday June 7th, by appointment.  Woo hoo!!  We are so eager to have you back, especially for the newest members who have never been inside before.  


Here are the new hours (Begin Monday June 7th):

Every 2nd and 4th week

Mondays 9 – 12pm

Wednesdays 6 – 9pm

Saturdays 9 – 12pm

For members:


 We’re using SignUp.com (the leading online SignUp and reminder tool) to organize our upcoming SignUps.  To reserve your spot to come into the library, sign up here.

Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click this link to see our SignUp on SignUp.com: https://signup.com/go/usUbGjt
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com.

How to make this successful and safe for everyone:

1) Your spot is a 30 minute spot.  Please arrive and complete your time within the library during this timeframe.  

2) Wear your mask and try maintain your distance from others

3) We are asking that you bring as few people as possible.  We have set a capacity limit and will be monitoring this at the door.  If we are over capacity because more than 1 person comes in your party we will hold back folks until there’s room.  So even if you have a reservation you still may need to wait outside for a bit.  

4) Toys are not to be played with as we allowed before.  Now we’d like the toys to stay in the containers until you get home.  

*We are still accepting toy donations. Please bring toys inside the building, down the stairs there will be bins, just place them there. Tax receipts will be on the outside of the bins.

*You can sign up for membership and pay for your membership inside the library starting June 7th. We accept cash, check, Venmo (@mplstoylibrary) and credit card.

Thank you for your patience as we decided when to reopen the library.  We are excited to see you!  Email us at mplstoylibrary@gmail.com if you have any questions. 

February 13th – we start taking toy donations!

We will begin taking toy donations starting at our first toy pick up event in February – February 13th from 9 – 12. Please bring your gently used, clean, and age appropriate (0- 5) toys to the event. We will have bins outside labeled “Toy donations” where you can place your donations. We will also have tax donation receipts for you to take. Tell your friends and family! These donations help keep our library fresh with new toys and help find a good home for toys to get another life playing with other families. If the toys aren’t appropriate for our library (not appropriate for our age group or we have too many of the same) we will add it to our garage sale collection.

Thank you!

Give to the Max 2020

Hello!  Thank you for stopping by.  The toy library is just that, a library for toys.  Families of young children become a member to borrow toys instead of buy new for their growing child.  This is an economically wise choice and also good for our planet.  Why buy new when you can SHARE!  

We continue to grow each year.  New families come in every month and are excited to try out all the toys.  We have nearly 4,000 toys!  Yes, that’s right!  We have cataloged and hand labeled that many toys.  Be believe so much in the libraries mission to be place where families can come together, where children can find age appropriate and safe toys to learn and grown, and of course to help preserve our Earth’s resources.  We love the service we offer and are doing well to make it happen each year.

The space we rent is bursting with wonderful toys.  BIG toys like slides, trampolines, strollers, lawnmowers, sleds, and large dollhouses.  We have been a resource for the community to drop off second hand toys, which will in turn get loved for years to come.  We do our very best to maximize every inch of the library.  Last year a volunteer created wall puzzle storage to hang our puzzles.  However with all these donations coming in we are finding it hard for our volunteers to manage the space safely as we are operating our curbside toy pick up option.  Volunteers pack up between 60 – 100 orders that are placed around the library space in bags and amongst all those toys.  With part of the room being occupied by large toys, we cram all those orders and volunteers into the other space.  If those big toys were hung on our last big open wall, we could have more space to work safely (and be socially distanced right now). When we do reopen to families they will also see this benefit.  

Our volunteer run, hard working toy library organization is looking for some support from you!  We are looking to raise $500 to buy wall mounted storage solutions for these toys and give us more space.  Then we can continue to serve more families, keep being a resource for toy donations, and operate safely.  

Please visit our Give to the Max fundraising page to learn more and donate. With everyone’s help, we can do it!

Thank you,

Rebecca and Kari

Update – BLM statement

Our work regarding inequality


This summer we stated that the toy library would work on 3 goals to promote equality within our community, as a response to George Floyd’s death.  These were our 3 goals and how we have worked on them recently:

1) The toy library will purchase more culturally diverse toys/materials for young children.  Children should see representations of their skin color, cultural traditions, and family make-up when browsing our toy shelves.  This affirms a child’s worth in the world and gives families opportunities to discuss these topics through play at home.

We have purchased many new toys that represent P.O.C and diverse families.  We will continue to monitor our inventory to make sure these groups are represented.

2) The staff will look at the structures and policies in place to ensure that wording and actions are fair for all who work with the library and hold membership with the library.

During our last board meeting, the board and staff looked at our bylaws to look for wording and policies that would deemed unfair to certain groups in our community.  Nothing stood out to the board attendees, but we did feel it necessary to add a clause that the toy library does not discriminate against gender, race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, religion, or political views.  This will be added.

3) Our outreach committee will hold a brainstorming session within the next couple months, to discuss “how are we reaching and engaging with our communities of color?” Can we do more to engage with them so they know about the toy library as a resource for their family.  At the end of the meeting they will come away with 2 action items for continued work on this topic. 

We began this work by surveying all our 300 members, asking “how can the toy library ensure we are reaching and serving underrepresented communities?” The chair of the outreach committee also set up a Zoom meeting to discuss some ideas further.  From this meeting they came up with 3 goals:

1) Promote our scholarship fund to families 
2) Translate our order form to Spanish
3) Make a “how to” video on our curbside service in Spanish and English

The toy library is looking forward to working on these goals and serving a more diverse community population.

How will the toy library help the black community?

We are deeply saddened by the events that took place in our community recently.  George Floyd lost his life at the hands of police officers.  It was wrong. Our community must come together to find ways to address the inequality people of color are experiencing. We have thought about how we can help promote justice within the toy library community.  We though about one of our goals as an organization – “building community.”  After brainstorming we have come up with the following goals to help address the inequality experienced by black people and people of color:

1) The toy library will purchase more culturally diverse toys/materials for young children.  Children should see representations of their skin color, cultural traditions, and family make-up when browsing our toy shelves.  This affirms a child’s worth in the world and gives families opportunities to discuss these topics through play at home.

2) The staff will look at the structures and policies in place to ensure that wording and actions are fair for all who work with the library and hold membership with the library.

3) Our outreach committee will hold a brainstorming session within the next couple months, to discuss “how are we reaching and engaging with our communities of color?” Can we do more to engage with them so they know about the toy library as a resource for their family.  At the end of the meeting they will come away with 2 action items for continued work on this topic.

We hope you stand with us, as we do what we can to help fight injustice we see in our communities.  If you have any resources you’d like to share with us about culturally diverse toys, resources for talking with YOUNG children about racial inequality, or black community organizations we as the toy library should be aware of please send us an email at mplstoylibrary@gmail.com.  If you’re a member and would like to be part of the outreach committee, please email outreach.mtl.committee@gmail.com.

Thank you,

Rebecca Nutter
Executive Director
Minneapolis Toy Library

Looking for volunteers

We love our volunteers.  They are why we exist.  They give their time to help us provide the toy library service to hundreds of members.  We have been so grateful for the support from our volunteers.  Thank YOU!  Thank you for choosing to spend time with us and support our mission.  We truly are blessed.

Our curbside service has been running smoothly for the past month – hooray!  We have worked out the kinks and are operating fairly smoothly.  (thank you to those volunteers that have given us the ideas to make things work better – it takes a village). Our social distancing protocol is being adhered to and all volunteers are wearing masks, so we feel we are operating to the best of ability to curb the spread of COVID19.

We have some upcoming shifts that we need help filling. Here is the scoop of what shifts would look like:

Monday shift from 6-8pm – put toys back on shelves, clean visibly dirty toys, check toys in using the computer, and possibly take pictures of toys (to adhere to bag so folks know what’s inside).

Wednesday shift from 6-8pm – fill toy orders by gathering toys appropriate for certain ages and interests (provided) and place around the library for easy pick up on the Saturday event.

Saturday shift from 9 – 12pm – CURBSIDE TOY PICK UP EVENT.  Bring pre-bagged toys out to curb for members to pick up, bring returned toys back into the library, check in those toys on the computer, and place toys back on shelf.

If you are interesting in helping please visit our SignUp Genius page.  If you know others looking for volunteer opportunities, please pass this along!  We miss the teenagers and families that would come and helps us out, even though they weren’t members.

Thank you,

Rebecca and Kari