What is a Toybrary? A Toybrary is a toy lending library - it operates just like a book library, only the items available for loan are toys.
What are the benefits? Will-n-Essie's Toybrary makes it possible for families (grandparents, others) to offer their children a constant rotation of high quality play-things for their cognitive and physical development and pure enjoyment, regardless of the amount of money they have for purchases or space for storage. Participating families save money, storage space and the environment. Members also enjoy being able to try out a toy they find at the Toybrary prior to purchasing it.
Are the toys sanitary? We only stock toys that can be easily sanitized, and every toy is cleaned after every return so members know that the toys on our shelves are available for their children to enjoy, germ-free!
Who can join? Naturally, parents account for the majority of our membership. We also have grandparents, foster parents and others that borrow toys for when they have little visitors.
How much does it cost? Membership varies with each Toybrary and with the type of membership selected. The typical range is $60 - $100 per year, per family.
How many toys can I borrow at once? Each toy in our inventory has a "point value" ranging from 1 - 5; our inventory is mostly comprised of 1 and 2 point toys. There are membership options that allow members to borrow either 5 or 10 points worth of toys for any given two-week lending period. Other membership options allow members to borrow a total of 30 - 75 points worth of toys per year, for one week lending periods. These memberships tend to appeal, for example, to grandparents.
How long can I keep a toy? Most memberships allow members to borrow toys for a period of two weeks. (see question above)
What age ranges do your toys cover? We stock toys for children ages 6 months through early elementary school. However, many of our toys appeal to a much greater age range. For example, many older children and their parents can be found enjoying our K'NEX building sets and our challenging board games.
What kind of toys do you have in your inventory? Our inventory covers a spectrum of play categories, including toddler toys (stacking toys, shape sorters, etc.); building toys; role-play; arts and crafts; musical instruments; physical play; alphabet toys; puzzles and games. We are also building our selection of adaptive toys for children with special needs. Individual inventories vary according to the populations they serve: for example, our urban Center City Toybrary focuses on smaller toys for easy pedestrian carriage; our Wenatchee Toybrary offers an additional selection of larger, outdoor toys for families with yards.
What about breakages and missing pieces? We count pieces when a toy is returned. There is a nominal charge for missing pieces (although if you find that piece a week later behind the sofa, we will return your money.) We charge a replacement fee for lost or irreparably broken toys - a fee that, thanks to our industry and retail Sponsors, is most often significantly less than the toy's retail value.
What about late returns? We understand the unique challenges of life with young children. Therefore, we have built a number of "grace days" into each membership, which allow for a few late returns. Beyond that, there is a nominal penalty for late returns.
Can Children Play at the Toybrary?
PHILADELPHIA: We welcome our member children to play with our toys in the context of making their own special selections. We are, however, conscious of wanting to keep our shelves organized, our pieces counted and toys sanitized for our other members and therefore do not encourage prolonged play within the Toybrary. Most families will visit for 10-15 minutes, allowing ample time for their children to choose their toys.
WENATCHEE: Our space is divided into two sections: one for our lending inventory and one for children to play and moms to relax. Members are therefore invited to make the Toybrary a destination for fun and refuge. Meet a friend at the Toybrary and enjoy a cup of coffee while your children enjoy their latest toy selections or while you peruse our shelf of parenting books!
Can I make a financial contribution? Will-n-Essie's Toybrary is a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization and donations are therefore tax-deductible. Please contact us if you are interested in contributing.
Can I donate used toys? Our Toybraries gratefully accept donations of like-new and gently used toys. However, in keeping with our high quality standards, we are very selective regarding those donated items that we keep. Any donated toys that we do not feel are appropriate for our inventory will be forwarded to other local charities. Please contact your local Toybrary for donation specifics.