Pakenham Toy Library named best in Australia

Toy library committee with kids. Front from left: Thomas Lardner, Billie Gohr and Evelyn Roberts. Back from left: Kimberley Lardner, Dominique Gohr, president Liz Roberts, Harper Newman with mum Cara Newman, Georgia Kent with mum Rachael Kent and Toy Libraries Australia's Victorian Development Officer Erin Krusic-Golub. Pictures: COREY EVERITT 414088_01

The Pakenham & District Toy Library has been named the best metropolitan toy library in the country, recognised by peak body Toy Libraries Australia for their contribution to the local toy library, helping families connect and learn through play.

The local community organisation has won Metropolitan Toy Library of the Year for their outstanding effort to re-open the Pakenham based service over the last 12 months.

Pakenham & District Toy Library Inc president Liz Roberts said the Pakenham Toy library team were honoured to take out the National Award.

“It is really lovely to be recognised in the National Toy Library community for our efforts to get the Toy Library running again in Pakenham, it was something we really weren’t expecting,“ Roberts said.

Pakenham & District Toy Library closed over the covid pandemic and a new committee of volunteers worked from late 2022 to June 2023 to get the community run service up and running again.

The collection has over 1200 toys and is located at the Hollins Children’s Centre in the Cardinia Lakes Estate in Pakenham.

The toy library now has 45 families as members and a committee of 11 members guiding its continued growth and development.

The effort shone against a field of hardworking toy libraries across the country, some with hundred of members.

Toy Libraries Australia’s Victorian Development Officer Erin Krusic-Golub said Pakenham & District Toy Library’s efforts was a leading example of the passion demonstrated by community volunteers in delivering a toy library service which promotes children’s development and community connections.

“We’re proud to be recognising the team at Pakenham & District Toy Library for their dedication to making play accessible for all children and to sharing the benefits of toy libraries” she said.

“Toy libraries are an affordable and sustainable way for parents and carers to support a child’s development, while also creating important community meeting places. It’s no surprise that toy libraries across the country are booming as more families turn to borrowing toys to save money, reduce waste and reconnect with their communities.”

“The Award is really encouraging for us, it inspires us to continue the work of improving the toy library for local families.

“We have been grateful to have received grant support from a number of governments and not-for-profit organisations over the last year and those who join up and visit regularly will see more improvements over the coming year as a result of that support. Our journey continues,” Liz said.

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The Toy library is open fortnightly in term times, alternating between Saturday and Sunday. Next open on Saturday 20 July.