Saturday, March 1, 2014

Toy Librarian

Ashfield Play Forum in Nottinghamshire, England has made a toy library available to local children. My best friend Liz told me about it when she began volunteering there. I was intrigued by the idea of a toy library and asked if she would tell me and readers of Speak Up Librarian more about it. She agreed to answer any questions I had and good-naturedly allowed me to title this post Toy Librarian.

Sarah: Hi, Liz! Thanks for joining me online today . I am interested to learn more about the Toy Library. It sounds such fun.

Liz: Yes, it is so much fun and I feel the skills I have are being put to good use there. I also learnt that Ashfield Play Forum has been going for 30 years now.

Sarah: How many toys does the library have?

Liz: I don't know exactly, but definitely over 100.

Sarah: That's quite a lot. What types of toys are they?

Liz: There are books, puzzles of different kinds to suit different ages, and floor games to name a few. 

Sarah: I see. Quite a variety then. What ages of children do the toys appeal to?

Liz: The Toy Library is for children between 0 to 8, so there are toys to suit those age groups.

Sarah: How do parents or caregivers borrow toys from the library?

Liz: They just come along to any Toy Library session, bringing along two forms of identification to register. They then look at catalogues of toys available and pick what they like. Its 20p each week to hire a toy and they are allowed two toys maximum at any one time.

Sarah: How did you get interested in volunteering at Ashfield Play Forum?

Liz: I discovered Ashfield Play Forum by accident after attending a coffee morning last year, which money raised was for Children in Need. While there volunteering was mentioned, saying they were needing volunteers for the Toy Library. I was naturally interested and gave my details to Jane. I had a chat with her later to find out more and although it wasn't working with children in a play setting as I first thought, I was still interested. I volunteer two days a week.

Sarah: What do you do at the Toy Library?

Liz: Every day is different. I have stocktaken some of the toys one day, which was to check they were ok, like not being scribbled on and no missing parts for example to writing addresses on envelopes another day and I also helped with jobs in the Scrapstore, like replenishing stock and making stuff to show what could be made out of materials available in the Scrapstore which is another service to their Toy Library that they have.

One of Liz's craft creations from the Scrapstore
Sarah: Thank you, Liz. It's always a pleasure chatting with you. The Toy Library sounds like a marvelous resource to parents who would like to entertain their children with a variety of toys at low cost. I think that sharing of our inventories is what makes libraries (of all types) a great asset to their communities. 

Liz: To learn more about the Ashfield Play Forum, visit their website at

Sarah: To learn more about Liz, visit her blog at

1 comment:

Liz Fisher said...

I thought your post title was a great choice.Suits all round to the post and your blog. X