Council takeover of Carlton’s toy library deemed a “huge win” for families
The City of Melbourne will be taking over managing the Melbourne Community Toy Library (MCTL) at Carlton’s The Chapel from mid-July following a struggle for permanent funding.
As a small not-for-profit organisation, MCTL has played an important part in creating spaces for families to come together; something that was made very clear to the council ahead of the transition.
“Members of the toy library volunteer committee have been working hard with the City of Melbourne to achieve the best outcomes for Carlton,” MCTL president Emily Corcoran said.
We hope that this will ensure that there is a toy library in our suburb for many years to come.
Despite telling Inner City News that there is “some sadness in wrapping up” the organisation, Ms Corcoran added that she is “looking forward to sitting back and enjoying the next chapter”.
“The Carlton branch has been incredibly important to my journey as a parent. It opened across the road just after my son was born and I have loved being a part of the committee for the past seven years,” she said.
“I have met so many wonderful people through the toy library, and it has helped me feel really connected to other parents in our community.”
The takeover will now mean that after the Carlton branch closes from June 30, it will reopen from July 17 as a free service, allowing families to continue to borrow toys from The Chapel using a free library membership.
This news is being considered a “huge win for families in Carlton”, as Ms Corcoran said the previous membership fee model had been a barrier for some families in the area.
In preparation for the changeover, a stocktake and clean-out of the branch has already taken place, and MCTL and the council are asking the community to chip in with new ideas on how the collection can be refreshed.
At both the Carlton and North Melbourne branches, families are also being encouraged to complete an in-person or online survey as further aspects of the service are reviewed, such as opening hours.
North Melbourne’s toy library, located in Hotham Hub, will follow the same model as Carlton’s toy library when both re-open on July 17, while the Docklands toy library will look a little different.
From July 17, Docklands’ residents will access toys at Library at the Dock through a click and collect service via the City of Melbourne’s online library catalogue.
In place of the play sessions, the council will introduce special story time and toy sessions to residents visiting Library at the Dock as a way of “refreshing and reimagining what toy libraries look like in our city”.
As is the case with the other libraries, users of the facility will only need a City of Melbourne libraries membership.
“We’re working with the local community to welcome current toy library members to our library membership, and to ensure the transition of the Docklands toy library is as smooth as possible,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
“Toy libraries are an innovative way to support children’s learning and development through play and imagination, and an accessible and cost-effective way for families to access resources.” •