Docklands toy library prepares for changes amid council takeover
The Melbourne Community Toy Library (MCTL) at The Hub at Docklands will close at the end of June with some of its services to be absorbed by the City of Melbourne from July 17 at Library at the Dock.
The takeover follows MCTL’s struggle for permanent funding to be able to support the space at Docklands, with the council adopting the toy library services as part of City of Melbourne’s libraries.
“Logistically, it’s been very challenging – it’s also a space we’ve had to pay rent,” MCTL president Emily Corcoran said.
We’re not a business, we’re a small organisation of parents meeting late at night to get things done.
The toy library at The Hub will operate as normal until the end of June, with the space closing between July 1 and July 16 to allow for re-cataloguing and other transition tasks.
Docklands residents will then be able to access toys at Library at the Dock from July 17 through a click and collect service via the City of Melbourne’s online library catalogue.
In place of the play sessions, the council will introduce special story time and toy sessions to residents visiting Library at the Dock as a way of “refreshing and reimagining what toy libraries look like in our city”.
“Toy libraries are an innovative way to support children’s learning and development through play and imagination, and an accessible and cost-effective way for families to access resources,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
One of the main benefits of the council takeover will be that toy library users only need a City of Melbourne libraries’ membership rather than the previous paid membership system to utilise toy library services.
“We’re working with the local community to welcome current toy library members to our library membership, and to ensure the transition of the Docklands toy library is as smooth as possible,” Cr Capp said.
While the council looks to refresh play sessions as part of the transition, community development officer at Docklands Pop-Up Neighbourhood House Jason Butcher expressed some concern with the new model.
“The play sessions were undoubtedly the most useful community program that the toy library had,” Mr Butcher said. “There are so many new arrivals and young, migrant families moving into Docklands post-COVID and a lot of them are using these play sessions to build and re-establish the community.” •