Toys need a friend

Toy librarian Jason Heagerty, Penny, Zara, Jack and George.

By Tate Papworth

The Albion Toy Library is on the verge of being homeless.

The much-loved library has been operating out of Albion Primary School for three years, but the school’s redevelopment means there’s no longer room for the library.

Albion Toy Library secretary Jeni Paton said the volunteer-run library needs a home, fast.

“We’re so thankful to Albion Primary School, we initially thought we might be able to stay on, but we’ve recently been told that’s not the case and we have to be out by the start of the school holidays [September 23],” Ms Paton said.

“We just don’t know at this stage what we’re going to do. We’ve kindly been offered a place at the Kororoit Creek Neighbourhood House, but that’s not ideal because we’ve got a lot of toys.

“We’re short on options so we may have to end up there, but it would mean hiring a shipping container and storing a large amount of toys in the garages of volunteers too.”

The library has almost 50 members and an extensive collection of more than 300 toys.

The Albion branch has been so successful that in 2018 it was voted runner-up for the 2018 Best Small Toy Library in Australia.

Ms Paton said it’s more than just a place to borrow toys.

“It’s also a great place for families to come together and make local connections,” she said.

“Every session is a ‘stay and play’, so kids get to try out the toys before they borrow them.

“It’s a really welcoming space for children and adults – we offer tea, coffee, friendship and support when they’re having a tough day.”

She said no stone would be left unturned in the search for a new home.

“We are excited about the future – we have so many ideas for projects, we just have a bit of a hurdle.

“If anyone knows of a space that could accommodate us we’d love to hear from them – community groups, churches … anyone.”