Toy Lending Library shares the fun

Logo designed by Bitty Cook

It was April of 1998 when I discovered Heights Parent Center (HPC). My daughter, Erin, was eight months old and we attended the Baby & Me group. By November of that year, I was asked to join HPC’s Toy Lending Library (TLL) as a volunteer.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. TLL is a program run only by volunteers; dedicated parents who count, clean and care for hundreds of toys. Instead of finding chaos, I found a well oiled machine. Each toy being checked in or out gets counted, every toy gets washed upon return, and volunteers keep tedious track of the broken and missing pieces. Amazing!

Well, it's ten years later and I’m still working at the Toy Lending Library and still loving it!

The TLL stocks old and new toys, either donated or purchased, carrying all of the popular toy brands. Because of our unique storage arrangement, we have created catalogs that are organized and designed by children’s ages and interests. Much thought and care has gone into our toy selection and program. My family’s personal favorites are the Fisher Price Little People sets.

Several years ago a couple of moms created “play kits.” Play kits were developed to add a literacy dimension to the TLL collection. The themed kits might include: toys, puzzles, costumes, books, and play pointers. Play pointers give parents and caregivers extra ideas about how to play around the theme expressed in the kit, including activities, songs and crafts that incorporate skills learned through play. Currently we are expanding our play kits selection.

Parents who participate in the TLL program find that it provides a very important opportunity to teach children about caring for toys and sharing with others, practicing an environmentally friendly approach to toy selection and recognizing that a wide range of borrowed toys can provide just as much fun as the bright shiny toys advertised in the media.

Last month we celebrated Toy Lending Library’s 25th anniversary! TLL has undergone physical changes and has seen many families come and go, but our heart is still strong thanks to participants, volunteers and a generous community. Come check us out!

Hours: first and third full week of each month – Tuesdays 6:30 - 8 p.m. and Fridays 10 - 11:30 a.m. For the full schedule, please visit our website at

The Toy Lending Library is located in the Activity Center in the CH-UH Main Library on Lee Road (across the bridge in the "West Wing").

Annual membership fee: $40. Members can borrow up to three toys for a two week lending period and take advantage of the Stay & Play Program during each session. This provides an opportunity to interact with other families and to see and play with additional TLL toys from our inventory.

TLL is in need of volunteers! TLL volunteers get a free membership! Call us at 216-321-0079 and ask for Lynn if you are interested.

Lynn Grimm is a program assistant at Heights Parent Center and oversees the operations for the Toy Lending Library.  Lynn lives in Cleveland Heights with her two children, Erin and Jack.
Read More on "Got kids?" Corner
Volume 1, Issue 6, Posted 12:08 PM, 08.26.2008