Guest Blogger

Too Many Toys: Recovering Library Programming and Play Spaces

Play food scattered atop a table in the children's play area with other toys on the surrounding floor.

Have you ever looked around the library and wondered where all the toys came from? Or who was going to clean them up? Did it make you want to cry? Or maybe kick and scream and have a bit of tantrum? I’ve been there, and I’m guessing you have, too. Whether you’re looking at a public floor play space or programming toys, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Supporting play in libraries often means giving children and caregivers access to many toys and activities. Open-ended toys provide more learning opportunities, but often means more loose parts. If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen something that would be just perfect for your program or space and purchased it. But when does it become too many toys? Can you recover? Let me tell you what my library did.

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

FamilySpace at the Library

Several years ago, before the COVID-19 outbreak, Invest in Children, a community wide public/private partnership administered by the Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood, and the United Way of Greater Cleveland came to the two largest library systems in Northeast Ohio (Cleveland Public Library (CPL) and Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL)—the largest suburban system for which I work) with an idea.  Although delayed thanks to the pandemic, the first FamilySpace location opened in September 2022 at CCPL’s Garfield Heights Branch, and three other locations (two in each system total) followed.  The response has been positive, to say the least.

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Like Kids with New Toys: A Closer Look at the USA Toy Library Association

Thanks to Every Child Ready to Read 2nd edition, children’s librarians have explicit permission to promote play as an integral part of early literacy and developmental skills for young children.  Isn’t it just the best job ever?  I have ALWAYS been a huge fan of toys, since, er, birth.  And getting to pass that joy to a new generation—and encourage their parents and caregivers to rediscover their own inner children—is a delight!