Seeking a new place to park

Toy library needs a new home

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 27/05/2014
isaac rea
MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ

PLAY TIME'S OVER: Russell Street School pupil Isaac Rea, 5, in the Manawatu Toy Library's police car.

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Manawatu's tiny tots and toy lovers may be left in the lurch if their toy library can't find new a home.

The Manawatu Toy Library Association is looking for new premises for its collection of 2000-plus toys after being given notice by its landlord that it has to be out by the end of the year.

The association pays a peppercorn rental for a three-classroom block at the back of Queen Elizabeth College, in Edgeware Rd in Palmerston North, where it has been for 14 years.

The school is set to start a $1.2 million Ministry of Education-funded upgrade, aimed at creating a more modern learning environment. A number of school buildings will be refurbished, six will be removed as well as four other structures that have reached the end of their economic life, including the rooms the library rents.

Toy Library Association committee member Emma Ochei said members were perusing the property market for a suitable space and hoped something would crop up so the library-goers wouldn't be left at a loose end.

The association, which is run mainly by volunteers and on a shoestring budget, was looking for 200 square metres to house and display the toys with easy access, street profile and parking facilities.

"There's novelty in new toys, they really help children with their development and motor skills, their communication and imagination by just playing. The other aspect is reusing the toys and the idea that things aren't just consumed and tossed out the window afterwards," Ochei said.

"It'd be nice to find a landlord with a community focus - we're hopeful."

The library was set up in 1976 as a space for families of children with special needs.

In 1987 it opened its doors to everyone and it now has 180 member families, as well as half a dozen schools on its books.

The library's catalogue of toys includes ride-in cars, rockers, walkers and spring bugs. It has rattles, mobiles and music boxes, instruments, puppets, puzzles, Lego, wooden blocks, hammering benches, shape sorters, doll's houses, cars and cooking sets.

Co-ordinator Jo Lewis said it was a major change for the library. "It's a challenge to make it better than before and we're optimistic it will work out."

National Toy Library Awareness Week runs until Saturday, with World Play Day being held tomorrow.

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- Manawatu Standard

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