Drowning in toys or just can’t afford them?

The Byron Shire Toy Library is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Pictured are rocket scientists Liam and Raven. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Aslan Shand

Have you ever dreamt of saying to your kids, ‘No more toys! There are sticks and stones and mud – they will just have to do,’ in response to the overwhelming clutter of children’s toys that take over your once-manageable household? I do – regularly!

As any parent would know there is always a balance between getting your kids enough toys to play with so you don’t feel like an irresponsible parent and not drowning in them. But there is another way! That’s right, you don’t have to buy all these toys you can’t afford (and they seem to tire of so quickly); you can borrow them from the Byron Shire Toy Library.

The toy library has over 500 different toys that you can borrow – and more importantly take back.

‘We have a wide range of toys of all kinds: bikes, scooters, slides, duplo, train sets, doll houses, trucks and cars, puzzles, games, and more,’ said Mary Norton, who volunteers to help run the service.

‘Children quickly tire of their toys and discarded toys are wasteful and end up cluttering people’s homes and going to landfill, so a toy library is environmentally friendly and supportive of the many young families in the Shire,’ she said.


It is not just borrowing toys that you can get from the library; you can also get a connection with young children and the broader community as a volunteer at the toy library, says Mary, and they desperately need more volunteers to keep the service going.

‘I volunteered at the toy library when I was feeling bereft of grandchildren as it’s good to be around young people and little children. It is a joy to see the little ones get excited when they walk in and see the array of toys on the shelves.

‘Now I have grandchildren they love to visit the library to play and select toys to bring home.’

Playgroup connections

The toy library is currently providing their service out of the Suffolk Park Children’s Centre, 3–5 Coogera Circuit, Suffolk Park, and are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am till 12 during the school term.

‘We are servicing some 50 young families and are open two mornings a week, but we only have three volunteers to run it,’ says Mary. ‘We have found that linking with the Suffolk Park playgroup has increased our patronage, so we hope to develop more links with playgroups in the Shire. This makes it convenient for busy young families to visit two services on the same morning.

‘Now the playgroup where we are is only able to happen once a month we would like to find another playgroup possibly in the north of the Shire to link in with.’

The toy library has been running in Byron Shire for 25 years and has serviced families with preschool children and their grandparents as well as young adults with a disability.

So if you need some toys for your kids, want to connect with other families, or just give a little of your time to a great cause then contact Mary on 0409 241 626 or drop into the toy library soon. They will be open for their next session tomorrow Tuesday, 30 April.

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One response to “Drowning in toys or just can’t afford them?”

  1. P Cordeiro says:

    I always supported the Toy Library near me, as my kids were growing up.
    It’s a very clever idea that should be supported, like the nursing mothers association.
    I would love to be able to help.

    However, If Council Community Halls were truly open for the public that are most in need of our local facilities, it wouldn’t charge such heavy fees to our community, or business such as the toy library.

    For instance. The Ocean Shores Community Hall, which is closed most days of the week, could be the perfect location for the toy library, and would cater for may families in need.
    The Ocean Shores Community Center stand just beside a brand new set of (definetly not affordable)
    “shanty town,” and a brand new pre-school.

    The excuses given by Council regarding the expensive hiring fee charges, are ridiculous to say the least.

    And because of the narrow-minded financial views on hiring fees, Council still can’t find ways to properly manage inelligent programs to support those buildings.
    So because they are reluctant to do so, we could eventually lose those buildings as we lost the Round House.
    Ah,… Maybe that’s what’s all about, hey… The Real Estate world.

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