Our goal is to establish a network of toy libraries throughout the South Florida area, beginning with Miami Dade and expanding as possible given demand, availability of toys, volunteers, and space. Toy libraries can be found in other places in the country and are prolific in other countries (like the UK and New Zealand), and include families with a membership (which will be low-cost and include no-cost options) borrowing high-quality toys like they would borrow library books. Toy libraries in a community increase child access to high quality toys, which increase opportunities for early childhood social emotional and cognitive development and exploration. The goal is to focus location of these libraries in areas of Miami-Dade where individual children are less likely to be able to afford to buy a large quantity of these toys - by sharing them more children have access to them and spend more time playing than on screens. Toy libraries also decrease the waste, both financially and materially that plastic toys contribute to the environment. Most children only use new toys for around 6 months and then discard them, and then many of those toys end up in landfills. Our goal is to instead redistribute gently used toys to other children who can benefit from playing with them. This will decrease the number of toys parents need to buy for their children, as well as the number of toys that are wasted.
Funded by Miami, FL (September 2021)