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I am just about to open our toy Library and wondered whether any of you had any tips for good practice or could tell me of the pitfalls to avoid. I will be providing a service to families living in our Sure Start area. Things I am finding difficult are on-going funding, membership, opening times as the current staff will need to staff the library and deliver learning sessions too.

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Hi Dana, I dont think Ive welcomed you before, so welcome. :o

 

we started a sure start toy library last year, where individuals borrowed toys for a 2 week period. But we had major problems with this. Sure Start were adamant that they could only lend to children who were under 4, but not including 4, so once our children reached their 4th birthday, they could no longer use it, unless there were younger children in the family. We also had problems over the post code issue, with children living in neighbouring streets, one being in a 'sure start' post code and one not. Again, these children could not borrow. We felt strongly that this was discrimminatory practice, so we abandonned the idea in favour a loan to the nursery, which deosnt then exclude anyone. We do not have enough resources of our own to run our own library along side sure start, although we have done in the past.

 

When we did it in the past, we had much more space and better staffing, so it was not a problem. We set the library up at the end of the day, parenst were able to come in half an hour before normal end of school day, and take their child to choose what they wanted. The staff ran a rota for the management, so we all shared the responsibilty. When the nursery was halved in size, but also increased in numbers, we just couldnt do it any more. You will need to thinkabout what you do if toys are not returned, or if they are broken. Also whether or not you would like Sure Start to do some workshops with the parents on how to use them!!! This is much needed in our area, but of course may not be everywhere.

 

I'm sure there willl be other memebsr who have some wrods of wisdom for you. :D

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Thankyou Mundia. We have also pondered over the issue of age and wondered how we would keep a check on that. The opening times are a problem as we are soon to be spread across different sites to do our work. Did you have a late opening?

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sounds lke a logistic nightmare Dana, working across 3 sites. What sort of setting are you and how come you are across sites?

 

We didnt have any special opening times, just normal school hours. This made the managment difficult, as we needed space for the parents, the library, and also our normal 39 children. Sure start were happy to run the library itself but the space caused major headaches. The system we have now, where we borrow as a setting works much better for us, as we tell sure Start what we would like to borrow and they just bring it. You may find that you have to experiment with what works for your own situation, and be preapered to go back to the drawing board if it deosnt work the first time. :o

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