I fell in love with the concept of toy libraries way before I had kids, when I volunteered at Sunny Corner Toy Library in Auburn. We have now been making use of toy libraries as a family for over four years, since before my eldest turned one. They definitely aren’t as well known as book libraries. Plus can be hard to find sadly.

Here is information on seven toy libraries nearby, though none are actually in the City of Parramatta. There is also a Google Map at the end of the article with them marked. And make sure to read our hints and tips before heading to your local toy library – they will save you a lot of headache!

Why Use a Toy Library?

There are SO MANY reasons to use toy libraries. Here are the main ones for us:toy libraries

  • Saves on landfill
  • Saves money – why buy, when you can borrow?
  • Gives kids access to a large variety of age appropriate toys
  • Reduces storage issues
  • Lets you try toys before buying them, particularly for birthdays and other special occasions
  • Provides kids with a chance to learn about sharing collective goods, taking turns, being considerate of the next user, and taking care of the toys

What is a Toy Library?

toy libraries
Toys at Wentworthville Library are sealed in bags. There are tags with a description and photo of the toy.

A toy library is like a book library but for toys. For a small annual fee (or in some cases for free), you can borrow a large variety of educational toys, ride-ons, costumes, puzzles and games to play with at home, on a regular basis.

Toy libraries vary greatly in size, structure and policies.

  • It is common for toy libraries to be community organisations, run by volunteers. Most of the ones listed here though are part of the Councils library service. And are staffed by Council staff, which to me makes the most sense.
  • Normally toy libraries charge a small annual fee to be a member, but a few are for free.
  • Some are much more understanding of missing pieces, while others charge hefty fees.

Wentworthville Library

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Information is provided on age appropriateness and other warnings from Australian Standards.
  • Toys are required to be cleaned by the borrower prior to returning them.
  • Toy libraries may also hire out large party toys (such as roller coasters or bouncing castles) and children’s tables and chairs.

Hints and Tips

I sometimes have a love/ hate relationship with toy libraries. Love the excitement the kids have with borrowing the toys and watching them happily play for hours. Plus like saving on landfill and money. But hate trying to find all the bits when returning them.

toy library

Here are a few important tips, from my few years of using toy libraries, to help make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.

  1. Be warned, most toy libraries do not let kids play with toys before borrowing them. In some cases the toys are sealed in bags that you can’t see into. There are however photos of the toys to help you choose. But best to manage the kids expectations.
  2. A number of the toy libraries only accept cash. Remember to check this information for the toy library you plan to join below.
  3. Make sure you open the toys, and not your kids. Remove any small pieces likely to get easily lost. Like the tiny kettle and iron from the doll house we borrowed and still can’t find months later.
  4. Check the toy libraries policy on missing pieces. Some, like Wentworthville Toy Library, are VERY understanding and will let you still borrow while you look for them. This means you don’t need to go out and buy replacement pieces straight away. And if you can’t find them, there is only a small replacement fee. Others, like North Ryde toy library, however will halt any further borrowing and charge a sizeable fee per item to have them replaced. In this case, it may make more sense for you to source replacement pieces yourself.
  5. Have a special container, box or area at home that you store the borrowed toys in. It will make finding them a whole lot easier. And yes it is impossible for them not to go wandering. But having a system of placing them in a certain area does help and means that every piece is not in a different part of the house!
  6. Renew the toys if you can’t return them by the due date or to let the kids have more time with toys they really enjoy. Nearly all toy libraries let you now renew either online or over the phone. And even the ones that don’t have the option to renew will give you a few more days if you call and ask.

Wentworthville Library


Local Toy Libraries

While there aren’t any toy libraries in the City of Parramatta (yet), there are seven nearby. And hopefully SDN Child Services will re-open their toy library once they settle into their new offices in Parramatta.

  1. Wentworthville Library | Cumberland Council
  2. Sunny Corner Toy Library | Auburn
  3. North Ryde Library | City of Ryde Council
  4. CCA Toy Library | Eastwood
  5. Blacktown City Council Libraries
  6. Burwood Library | Burwood Council
  7. Penrith City Council Libraries

Special mention should also be made that West Ryde and Ryde Libraries have science kits available to be borrowed. While they state that these kits are for children 7yrs+, we have been able to borrow some like magnetic tiles suitable for kids over 3yrs.

Ryde Library
These science kits are for the older kids that attend school. You can’t open them in the library. They are available for hire.

1Wentworthville Library | Cumberland Council Library

The toy library at Wentworthville Library is fantastic and the one we use – every 6 weeks to be precise. We love this toy library because:

  • it has a very large collection of toys, including a great selection of large outdoor and indoor toys, such as cubby houses, play gyms, ride ons and pretend kitchens;
  • you can borrow and return toys any time the library is open;
  • they are very understanding about missing pieces – giving you time to locate them while still being able to borrow. And if you can’t find a piece, the replacement fees are low.
  • you can search online for toys through the library catalogue; and
  • you can renew the toys twice, meaning you can borrow a toy for up to 6 weeks.

Wentworthville toy Library

The toy collection is organised according to their use and all toys are sealed with a tag describing and showing the toy. There are also party packs for hire for $25, which you can hire for weekends or during the week by arrangement.

Borrowing

To borrow, you must be a member of Cumberland Council Library (which is open to anyone) and then join the toy library. This involves completing a membership form and paying an annual fee.

  • Individual membership options start at $25 to borrow 1 toy at a time and go up to $54.50 to borrow 5 toys at a time. All toys can be borrowed for two weeks and can be renewed online, in person or over the phone twice.
  • Group membership option is $61.50 to borrow 4 toys at a time for 4 weeks.

NOTE: The library only accepts cash payment.

Wentworthville Library
Play gyms, cubby houses and kitchens available to borrow

Opening Hours

  • Monday, Thursday: 9.30am – 8pm
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9.30am – 5.30pm
  • Saturday: 9am – 4pm
  • Sunday: 2pm – 5pm

Location and Contact Details

  • Phone: 8757 9067


Sunny Corner Toy Library is a not-for-profit organisation that has been operating since 1983. They have more than two thousand items for children 6yrs and under to enjoy, including:

  • cars and tricycles,
  • train sets,
  • building and construction,
  • games,
  • costumes,
  • musical instruments,
  • puzzles,
  • DVDs.
  • big toys or party packs for hire, such as activity houses and gyms, roller coasters, slides, big cars, a special ride on train for that very first birthday, tables and chairs.

And for the parents, there is a special parents resources section.

Toy Libraries

Borrowing

Any family with children 6yrs and under can borrow up to six items, every two weeks from Sunny Corner Toy Library, once you become a member.

To become a member, you simply complete an application form and pay the annual fee, which is currently $60. You will need to bring your drivers license and Medicare card when joining and they only accept cash or cheque.

It is helpful to know that Sunny Corner Toy Library are understanding about missing parts. They take note of the missing pieces and are very grateful when you find them, but you can continue to borrow in the meantime.

Toy Libraries

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday: 1pm – 4:30pm
  • Thursday: 10am – 2pm
  • Saturday: 10am – 2pm

Location and Contact Details

  • Phone: 9649 8173


3North Ryde Library | City of Ryde Library

This was the first toy library nearby that we found when we moved to the Parramatta area four years ago. It is great that there is no charge to borrow toys and is integrated as part of the library service. The toy collection is mostly puzzles as well as some baby toys, musical instruments and animal figurines. It is a small to medium toy library, about a quarter the size of the on at Wentworthville. Toys are stored in clear containers and kids aren’t allowed to play with them in the library. There is however a large box of duplo that the kids can play with while you browse the toys.

Borrowing

North Ryde Library Toy Library

Any child under 7yrs can borrow from the toy library at North Ryde, once they have their own membership card. They can borrow three toys for up to three weeks and you can renew once. Toys can only be borrowed and returned to North Ryde Library during branch library opening hours.

Please Note: A returned toy will not be accepted if any pieces are missing, unless payment is made for loss and damage.

North Ryde Library Toy Library

Opening Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 12pm – 8pm
  • Tuesday: 10am – 5pm
  • Friday: 12pm – 5pm
  • Saturday: 9.30am – 12pm
  • Sunday: Closed

Location and Contact Details


Community Christian Aid (CCA) Family Day Care recently opened their well stocked toy library to the general public. To get access you need to pay an annual membership fee of $60 for 12 months or $30 for 6 months.

CCA Toy Library Eastwood

Borrowing

Membership allows you to borrow up to 4 toy/ activities, 4 puzzles and 4 books/DVDs for up to 4 weeks at a time. Toys must be returned on or before the 4 week hire period. A late return fee of $1 per toy may be charged per week overdue.

Keep in mind that there is a minimum $5 per piece replacement fee for any missing pieces. Some pieces with greater value are charged at higher prices depending on what it costs to replace them eg Schleich animals etc. You may borrow the toy for an additional 1 month period to try and locate any missing pieces. If the toy becomes inoperable due to the missing piece, you will need to replace the toy or pay a negotiated replacement fee.

CCA Toy Library

Opening Hours

The CCA Toy Library is open at specific times on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.

  • Monday: 9am to 4pm
  • Wednesday: 10:30am to 6pm
  • Friday: 9am to 4pm

The CCA Toy Library is closed on public holidays. It may also close from time to time when the Toy Librarian is ill or on annual leave. They notify members of closures as soon as possible.

Location and Contact Details

  • Address: 12 Lakeside Road, Eastwood
  • Phone: 9874 0066. Note: you need to park on Hillview Road and walk through the staff car park to enter the toy library. You will see the toy library sign next to the door.


Blacktown City Libraries has a small toy collection, of about 100 toys, housed at the Mount Druitt branch. The toys are mainly puzzles, vehicles and baby toys. You can see what toys they have through the library catalogue and then request them to be delivered for pick up at any Blacktown City Library – how cool is that!

Opening Hours

Each Blacktown City Council library branch has slightly different opening hours. Here are the open hours for the main branches, and it is best to check using the links in the location section for the specific branch you will visit.

toy libraries

  • Monday to Thursday: 9:30am – 7:45pm
  • Friday: 9:30 – 6pm/ 7:45pm
  • Saturday: 9:30am – 4pm/ 6pm
  • Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

Location and Contact Details


6Burwood Library | Burwood Council

Burwood Library has a toy library that caters for children aged between 0-5 years. It is a free service.

Borrowing

To borrow, your child needs a children’s library card, which any child can apply for. You can borrow up to three toys for up to three weeks.

Opening Hours

The toy library is available at Burwood Library on Thursdays from 11.00am to 1.00pm, as well as on Saturday mornings from 9.30am to 11.30am.

Location and Contact Details

Telephone:  9911 9999


Penrith City Council provides a toy library service targeted at children 8yrs and under. The toy library collection can only be accessed by attending a toy library session at one of three library branches. The toys include baby toys, construction sets, puzzles, vehicles, food, animal and house play sets.

They also have a specialised toy library outreach collection, housed at the St Marys library branch, for children living within the Penrith LGA. This collection consists of switch adapted toys and equipment, and sensory resources. For further information on accessing the specialised toy library outreach collection, contact Michelle via email or call 0418 664 879.

Borrowing

Toys can be borrowed for three weeks, with the option to renew twice. This means you can potentially borrow a toy for up to nine weeks. You must be a member of the library to borrow toys. This is free for residents of the Penrith LGA and for non-residents there is a small annual fee of $18 or $15 concession.

The toys are housed in locked cupboards and can only be borrowed during a toy library session. But you can return toys at any time, to any branch.

Opening Hours

Toys can only be borrowed during one of the toy library sessions below. Note: Toy Library sessions do not run during school holidays.

  • Penrith: Wednesday 10am – 12pm and Saturday 10am – 12pm
  • St Clair: Thursday 10am – 12pm and Saturday 10am-12pm
  • St Marys: Tuesdays 10am – 12pm

Location and Contact Details


Google Map of Local Toy Libraries

Here is a map with the seven toy libraries.

3 COMMENTS

    • Thank you very much Kevin….hadn’t heard about that one. Unfortunately I can’t find much info online so am waiting to hear back from Burwood Council with details.

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