Little Free… Toy Library!

Thanks to Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakota UMC for sharing this Great Idea in the Dakotas Conference UMC newsletter.

Doreen shares a beautiful narrative of the birth and growth of the South Dakota Toy Lending Library – and non-church nonprofit that began outside the church, but which has found a new home – large enough to house its growing inventory and needs – in a former daycare space in First UMC’s (Sioux Falls) building.

Gosmire quotes First UMC ministry partnership coordinator, Tami Prostrollo as saying, “Our vision statement at First UMC is, ‘To be a sanctuary of Christian hope, love, and encouragement in the heart of Sioux Falls.’ We like to partner with community organizations in ministry. The Toy Lending Library of South Dakota is an example.’

The Toy Lending Libraries are great outreach tools because they address so many important needs and share so much love at the same time. According to Gosmire, the Toy Lending Library:

  • is expanding to more diverse communities – minorities and communities of children with differing abilities
  • is expanding community access, following their mission to “create opportunities for children from newborn to five year olds to enhance their learning development through play’
  • is a growing trend as ‘parents realize the convenience, sustainability, cost savings, and benefits of borrowing toys rather than purchasing them’
  • creates community as caring adults, children, and staff visit regularly
  • provides new and used toys to all families for free!!

Volunteers and three paid staff provide administrative work (receiving and thanking folx for donations), outreach/solicitations, maintenance (cleaning, repairs, reboxing), and librarians – check-out and check-in. The Toy Lending Library has seen a lot of growth since its beginnings in 2014.

Imagine the lives touched with joy and learning through a Toy Lending Library in your location!