Based on the success of the Free Little Libraries program, the City of Coquitlam is introducing Little Toy Libraries.
“We have around 12 free-book libraries in our system,” says Kathleen Reinheimer, Manager of Parks for the City of Coquitlam, “and toys are a natural extension of the concept that provides an amenity for neighbours in our local parks.”
In 2015, the City experimented with placing toys in the local parks and found the idea was well received by the community.
“We just had them in storage tubs on the ground,” Kathleen recalls, “so we were looking for ways to make them a little more high profile.”
To that end, the City worked through its Park Spark program to put the toys in baskets with signage and offered local businesses and individuals the opportunity to sponsor a toy library.
Park Spark is a City initiative that works with businesses and the community to enhance Coquitlam parks. The local business community volunteers to fund the first batch of toys. And their staff members are involved in checking on the toys.
“They make sure the toys remain in a safe condition and commit to refilling the toy basket if needed,” Kathleen explains. “However, we noticed last year that at least one location ended up with more toys in the basket than it started out with. It was an indication to us of the community’s comfort around the program.”
According to Kathleen, the main message from the Little Toy Library, apart from offering toys for children to borrow or use in the park, is that Coquitlam parks are safe and a comfortable place to visit.
“We want the community get out into the parks,” she says, “to be physically active, and have fun.”
For more information on the Free Little Toy Libraries, check out the City’s website at www.coquitlam.ca/cib, call 604.927.6312, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The City of Coquitlam can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.