How does the toy library work?

It works just like a regular book library, except you borrow toys instead of books! Once every two weeks you head down to the library, choose some toys and get them issued by the librarian. You will be given a receipt showing what toys you have on loan and the date they are due back. At home, you check that all pieces are there and then enjoy your kids spending time with these new toys. Toys are due back 14 days from issue, but you have 1 week grace period to allow for sick kids etc.  You can also reserve any toys, either very popular ones or for parties, at $2 per toy.

Usually you can renew your toys for another 14 days if you’d like. This can be done by yourself on the member section of our website (only once and before due) or by email. Renewals will only be granted if the toy is not reserved by anybody. You will also be asked to renew any toy with missing pieces or packaging, so it pays to spend some time packing them all up and then put them “out of sight” before you come.

Just as you need to take a bit of extra care with books you’ve borrowed from the library, you need to look after the toys, i.e.. make sure you keep track of all the pieces, don’t leave toys outside in the rain or where they might be stolen, ensure your children don’t misuse or break the toys and finally clean and dry the toys before you return them. Please read our Membership Rules document.

How do I join the library?

The easiest way is to complete online enrolment here. However, you can also do this when you come in, if you prefer.

We prefer eftpos payment but also accept cash for your subs. You will also be asked for proof of address and ID.

Where is the Taranaki Toy Library?

We are a little hidden from view. We are at 524a Devon Street East, behind Knox church. During the day we usually have a flag next to our permanent sign. If you come by car, then take the church driveway and follow it all the way to the end. There’s usually enough parking right outside. We also have a bus stop right in front of us.

Who runs the toy library?

The library is a non-profit (charity) community service; we are not a council or government organisation or a business. We are a group of parents working together to benefit our children and community. The library is run by a paid part-time coordinator Jana who is responsible for the day-to-day business. Additional to that, there are many volunteers in different roles involved. Have a look at our team and committee information.

Can I get a discount?

Yes! Community Service Card holders have a reduced membership rate. You can save $8 per 6 months membership.

What is the difference between a duty member and a non-duty member?

Duty members help at the library in exchange for a reduced membership rate. Usually these shifts are on Saturday mornings or Thursday nights, however other days can be made available after discussion with our coordinator. As a duty member, you are required to do one 2 hour shift per 3 months membership. If you fall behind in your duties, you will be asked to catch up or pay the difference between the duty and non-duty subscription. You can pick a shift that suits you on our online calendar or with Jana at the library. Note: we are happy to arrange home duties for expectant/ new mothers, on request.

In addition to this, ALL members are expected and will be asked for specific jobs to help out with our main fundraising activity, our Book Sale in September each year.

What do you have to do for duty?

Usually, you help check-in the toys, by counting the individual pieces of each toy to check for completeness, if reasonable clean and nothing broken. If it’s a quiet session you might be asked to help with cleaning, re-labeling toy boxes or helping with getting new toys into circulation. Unfortunately, you cannot bring your children to your duty session. Usually, young children don’t last this long without parental attention and surrounded by all the toy boxes. We also feel that sessions can be busy, and we need you to concentrate on the job and our very limited space doesn’t allow for kids being close by.

I put my name down for a duty but now I can’t make it. What do I do?

We understand that things to crop up, but would really appreciate every effort to be made to attend the duty session you booked- not turning up for duty is one of the easiest ways to cause stress at the library: for the coordinator and the other volunteer on duty  just as much as for any parent that would then have to wait longer if no replacement can be found. Especially if it is short notice, we are happy with ANY replacement you could send, i.e. partners or hubbies, grand parents, friends. Please DO NOT choose email to let us know of any last-minute cancellations as these are not checked until just before we open. For very short-term cancellations, please message us on Facebook as this is checked more regularly.

If you know in advance, you can email Jana and she will take you off the roster and try to find a replacement for you. Feel free to offer alternative times as often it is easier to swap duties. The roster is usually filling up a couple of months ahead so please don’t leave it too late. You will get an automated email every 3 months to remind you. If you cannot fulfill your duty requirement, you will be charged the difference of a non-duty membership.

I’ve got home, checked my toys and realised parts are missing or broken on the toy we borrowed. What do I do? 

You will need to let us know within 24 hours of borrowing it if anything is not right with the toy. You can either call (leave a message if not answered) or email, stating the toy code and what’s wrong with the toy and we will note it in our system and then sort it out when you come back.

What happens if I lose or break a piece?

You will be asked to renew any toy with missing pieces or packaging, so it pays to spend some time packing them all up and then put them away before you come to the toy library.

If a toy or its packaging is damaged during your hire, please let us know and stop using the toy if deemed unsafe. On return, our coordinator will inspect the damage and set a charge for the damage. Our standard fine is $5 but this can vary, depending on how easily it is to replace and how essential the piece is. The plastic boxes and bags are part of the toy and cost the toy library to replace. There will be a charge made if the box/bag is severely broken while you have the toy. If a piece is missing or damaged, rendering the toy unusable, you may be requested to pay a portion of the replacement cost and have the option of purchasing the toy.

We always welcome the return of pieces, even if they have been missing for a long time! However, once fines are paid they are non-refundable so we encourage you to give it a good go to find any missing pieces in the first place.


Some of our toys require batteries, especially those for very young children. The toy library is not obliged or financially able to provide batteries. We advise that you invest in some rechargeable AA and AAA batteries and make it a habit to take them out when packing up for returns.

For sustainability reasons, we have invested in a charger that can give regular, non-rechargeable batteries another few life cycles. Therefore, as a member you can leave your empty batteries with us, we might charge them a few more times and then make sure that they are properly disposed of at the end of their life. However, charging takes time and with the many battery-operated toys we have these days we cannot supply every single one with freshly recharged batteries. Please let us know if this is an issue for you and we will try to help you out.

How clean are your toys?

On every return, toys are checked on being “reasonably clean”. This means that we expect every member to return their toys in a state that they would like to borrow it, including the packaging. We also try to spring-clean every toy once a year but this takes about 10 months to get through. So, if your child is still putting things into their mouths, please give your toys a wipe at the start and end of your loan period! Janola wipes are ideal and handy to have. We also encourage you not to use our toys if your child is sick. However, we believe that most everyday “bugs” that could be picked up by your child, could just as well come from childcare, outings or siblings and are just part of building up an immune system.

I want to suggest a toy for the library. How can I do this?

If you have a suggestion for a toy, please talk directly with the coordinator. Often, we might already have a similar toy, but it is too popular for you to see it on the shelves in which case we might suggest reserving it.

We take pride in providing toys which you may not have seen in stores and select our toys based on our toy buying policy which is looking at quality, play value, need for packaging, transport size etc. We also don’t buy toys with short-lived themes or the latest hypes. However, all suggestions are taken to the committee for discussion and if successful we will put this toy on our wish list. Toy buying usually happens a few times per year after successful funding applications or fundraising activities.

I’d like to give a toy library membership as a gift voucher. Can I do this? 

Absolutely! What a great gift to give to a family with young children. You can give a voucher for any type of membership or any amount you would like! Either email us or come down to the toy library when it’s open, and we will arrange a gift voucher. You can pay eftpos or cash.

Why does the library close over the Christmas period? Can I still hire toys during this time?

The toy library closes for 4 weeks over the Christmas period to allow for the annual leave of the coordinator. It also gives everyone a much-deserved holiday from duties, including our much loved permanent helpers. Additional to this, we do a stock take during that time.

If you have a current membership for the entire closing time, you can still borrow toys, but we caution about toys with lots of pieces. As 4 weeks means a much longer borrowing time, we would appreciate members taking extra care to avoid lost pieces or damaged toys.

Toys can be reserved and then issued in the 2 weeks leading up to the closure date. This is a very popular option to have a nice long loan of water tables, slides and climbers especially. It is also popular for grandparents who are expecting little visitors over the holiday period.

I’m having a birthday party – can I reserve some toys?

Of course! If you are not a member, you can join the toy library for a short time and borrow up to 7 toys If you would like to reserve toys, please allow 2 weeks for us to track them down and this will cost $2 per toy. Feel free to talk with our coordinator about age appropriate suggestions.

If you are already a member, you can reserve toys the same way or book them yourself via the member section of our website. Make sure you pick the right date?. There is a $2 reservation fee per toy.