Toy library thrives at Thames St site

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Membership numbers at the North Otago Toy Library have grown by a quarter since the organisation moved into its new premises.
The lease on the toy library’s former home in Arundel St expired at the end of June with no option to renew, after the privately owned building was sold a week after the toy library had reopened after the Christmas break.
That left committee members scrambling to find a new home for the 600 toys the organisation loans out to families across the district.
In August, the Oamaru Licensing Trust stepped in and offered the committee one of its spaces, the former site of Natural Health at 109 Thames St.
North Otago Toy Library president Tara Arbuckle said since the toy library relocated to Thames St. there had been significant growth in membership, which she put down to an easily accessible location with a high volume of foot traffic.
Since the start of September, 20 new members had signed up, bringing the total number of members to 80.
“Things have gone better than we thought,” Mrs Arbuckle said.
“We’ve had quite a few new members and all of our old members have come back. People can stop in on their way to do some shopping and things like that, so it’s really good.”
Due to the Thames St site being smaller than the previous venue, the toy library rotates toys on a regular basis and stores others in a back room or upstairs.
Summer toys are being rolled out, while there is a plan in place to put up a photo board with pictures of toys in storage that people can still take out on loan.
“It’s a work in progress,” Mrs Arbuckle said.
“We’re going through a lot of our toys at the moment. We’re looking at some of the older stuff we have and some of it’s getting a bit of re-do or a tidy-up.
“We’re finding it challenging with some of our bigger stuff.”
However, she said the Thames St site was “manageable” and the committee, volunteers and staff were more than happy with their new base.
The North Otago Toy Library was established in 1988.