Finger Lakes Toy Library selects its new home

The Finger Lakes Toy Library, an Ithaca non-profit that plans to establish a toy lending library for kids around Central New York, has found a home at Clinton West Plaza.

Photo by Isabelle Plante.

The 501(c)(3) was formed last year with the intent of making membership in the toy library free of charge, “so that all may join without hesitation or limitation,” president Debra Lewis told us last fall. Funds raised by a fundraising effort that kicked off with Giving Day in November and ran through December will go “towards goals such as purchasing toys, creating brochures, hosting a fundraising event, purchasing insurance, and securing a location.”

FLTL vice president Amber Smith says the organization has “signed a lease for Suite 106 in the Clinton West Plaza,” a west-end plaza near the corner of West Clinton Street and Meadow Street that’s also the home of the new FLX Fit Club fitness center, and the Child Development Council.

Toy libraries aren’t a new concept, says FLTL vice president Amber Smith. “Toy libraries work just like book libraries, except that instead of borrowing a book you borrow a toy,” she says. The United States has had toy libraries since 1935, and they’re supported by the USA Toy Library Association and the International Toy Library Association. There are hundreds in the US, with the nearest in Rochester and Penn Yan.

Joining a toy library “exposes children to the sharing economy and reuse culture at a young age, which helps instill in them the true meaning of what it is to share,” according to FLTL. It can also give kids access to toys their families might not be able to afford on their own, and a wide variety of toys “can stimulate different areas of brain development.”

The group will start with toys for children up to seven years of age, and if early efforts are successful, they’ll expand their collections to include older children as well as toys specifically for kids with special needs.

“Our toy librarians are busy preparing the space to begin lending the awesome and growing collection of toys we have built, thanks primarily to generous donations from the community,” Smith says. “We are thrilled to have a space with off-street parking and easy ground-level access.”

This month’s Giving is Gorges event will offer an opportunity for a fundraising push on May 9th and 10th. The group hopes to open in late June with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

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