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GAME CHANGERS: Reasons to love Toy Libraries

Robyn showing off the best of Brisbane South Toy Library

As we face the consequences of environmental degradation, circular and sharing economies are gaining momentum globally.

The toy industry is no exception, with four large sharing programs leading the way: Toy Libraries, Toy Rentals (such as Whirli Subscription), Toy Swaps (The Great Cloth Diaper Change), and Online Toy Sharing Platforms (such as Fat Lama).

These are often more economical for families while also providing flexibility in choice as children’s interests change and they develop.

Thanks to the pandemic, families spent more time at home, resulting in a higher demand for toys and play materials. Toy libraries have been able to meet this demand by offering a safe and convenient way for families to access toys and games.

Technology has also played a role in sustainable businesses gaining increased reach and uptake, with online platform Whirli offering a full delivery service and many Toy Libraries now offering Click & Collect services.

Toys date back to 500BCE and continue to play a key role in creating happy and healthy children, and learning by play is a powerful tool. This is why we love Toy Libraries Australia and have recently formed a partnership with Brisbane South Toy Library, where the simple service to Borrow > Play > Return allows us to tread lightly.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Rebecca Stevenson, a mum of two boys and Treasurer of Brisbane South Toy Library, who shared her insights on the benefits of toy libraries and sustainable living.

Join us in exploring this fantastic toy library and some inspiration for living a sustainable family life.

Why Buy When You can Borrow

Game Changers – Brisbane South Toy Library

1. How long has Brisbane South Toy Library been operating for, and how many members does it currently have?
The Brisbane South Toy Library opened in 2019 and we have 115 active member-families.

2.What made you want to volunteer to run this amazing not for profit service?
The Toy Library is run by a team of passionate volunteers who want nothing more than to build an amazing catalogue of resources for the community to access. I’m currently on maternity leave from my usual job as a music teacher so I wanted to use my skills and give back to the community while I have some ‘spare time’.

3.What are the top 3 most popular toys right now?

  • The coupe ride-in cars are always a favourite. We have the traditional cars and also a fire engine with a working hose.
  • Our musical instruments, particularly the pat bells and the tongue drums are in-demand as they produce the most beautiful tones.
  • This summer, our water-play toys and Melissa & Doug ice-cream shop have been absolute hits.

4.What’s your favourite toy/game/dress up currently?
We recently received a large donation of John Deere branded toys from a (wonderful!) local business. My son adores the John Deere ride on excavator. It’s the mode of transport of choice to travel to the shower each night!

John Deere at Toy Library

John Deere ride-on, a fav at Brisbane South Toy Library

5.Why do families love Brisbane South Toy Library?
I can’t speak for everyone but;

My husband loves the Toy Library because it reduces the money we spend on toys,

My eldest son (2.5 yrs old) loves the Toy Library because he gets a selection of new toys every 4 weeks,

And I love the Toy Library because I can borrow toys that are very expensive and bulky that I would not normally purchase, like the roller coaster and the climbing frames, and I know I’m helping to reduce landfill and break the cycle of consumerism that is encouraged in today’s society.

6.Tell us about the services available to members?
The Toy Library is open every Thursday 9.30 to 11 am and every second Saturday 9.30 to 11 am at Richlands Community Centre. We offer a click ‘n’ collect service for parents who need the quick return and borrow option.

Gift certificates for 6 or 12 month memberships are available for purchase online or in person.

Hires last up to 4 weeks but members can borrow up to 6 toys at any of our borrowing sessions.

Memberships are available for 6 or 12 months and we also offer discounted membership for families who have the ability to volunteer at the Toy Library.

7.What’s your favourite treat? 
My favourite treat is going to see performances. I love musical theatre and seeing the Queensland Symphony Orchestra perform.

8.What’s your go-to kids gift?
A membership to the Brisbane South Toy Library! If a child joins before they are 1 year old, they receive 6 months of membership for free.

Toy Library In-Store

Toy Library In-Store

9.What’s your favourite way to contribute to keeping Australia clean?
My 2023 New Year’s Resolution is to use what I have to make what I need and to gift to my friends and family. If there are things that I need, I like to pick them up second hand whenever I can. I particularly love scouring op shops and Facebook Marketplace.

10.What’s your favourite Australian sustainable business, and why?
Tirtyl is an Australian-owned, social enterprise business that operates out of Brisbane. They make hand wash, body wash, laundry sheets, universal cleaner and dishwashing tablets that are packaged in 100% home compostable packaging.

For each tablet sold, they remove the equivalent of 1 plastic bottle of waste from the environment. I love that this local business is changing the way we clean and is being environmentally responsible with beautifully fragranced products.

You may view, order or redeam your SPARK POP gift card for a 6 month Brisbane South Toy Library Membership here. 

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