Toys galore at The Chapel under new free service 

Brendan Rees

A rejuvenated toy library is keeping young minds happy at The Chapel in Carlton and, best of all, the service is now free for families. 

The Cardigan St facility, along with other toy libraries in the municipality, was initially launched in 2021 through the Melbourne Communities Toy Library (MTCL), a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organisation. 

But a recent review by the City of Melbourne found the model of funding was not sustainable, with the council deciding to absorb the toy library service on July 17 as part of the City of Melbourne libraries. 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp, who dropped into The Chapel in August, said the transition meant the toy library service was now free for everyone, “ensuring all families have the opportunity to relish in the delight of what our toy libraries have to offer”.

Membership fees were previously costing up to $180 a year for families. 

The toy library collections are also available at the Hotham Hub in North Melbourne and Library at The Dock in Docklands, with 3000 toys available, including puzzles and games for children aged to eight years.

Up to three items can be borrowed per card with a borrowing period of three weeks with one renewal.  

“Toy libraries are a treasured part of our community – providing children and families with opportunities to play and develop skills with the biggest toy collection you’ve ever seen,” Cr Capp said, adding almost 300,000 visitors had visited libraries this year.

“We’re excited to be able to continue the toy library service through our network of City of Melbourne libraries, where toys can be browsed and borrowed the same way as books.” •

The council’s Creative Melbourne deputy portfolio lead Cr Elizabeth Mary Doidge said, “Our local toy library services provide such a fun and enriching experience for children, allowing them to expand their creativity and imagination through play”.

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