Forward to the past
Dwayne Baraka shares his inspiration:
I don’t know how I came across it, but it’s one of the things that I can’t imagine doing without. No, it’s not an Apple product. Giving them up was tough, but now I can’t imagine going back. Nor is it Google glass. (Actually, if you know how to get hold of one of those…)
It’s the Lewisham Toy Library, and I am in love with this model of shared product ownership.
I have a 17 month old boy, and for a very modest fee each year (24 pounds), I get to borrow a steady stream of toys. Many of the toys are focused on my little one’s development and many of them are wooden or deliberately focused on longevity and sustainability. Not a Barbie in sight, but there is a set of ‘different ability’ dolls to help teach children about things like diversity and difference. I have borrowed a staggering array of toys – musical instruments, balls, bath toys, battery powered things, cooking sets, blocks, books and tents – most of which I would never have bought. And all of which are a joy to my little boy, and have been since he was six months old.
I can’t wait to borrow a bicycle, or a trampoline, or the very technical-looking Meccano set as he grows older. I’m guessing that my wife and I have saved hundreds of pounds already, and over the lifetime of our membership will save thousands. Honestly, we could pay twice as much and that would still be true.
It also saves us an incredible amount of space. One of our friends sacrificed a full-size fridge to house all of their child’s toys, and we barely have more a freezer drawer’s worth. It’s recycling at its best. And it has allowed us to politely explain to relatives that our child has thousands of toys (literally, in a fashion).
Shared ownership is a good thing, but it’s not a new thing. The Lewisham Toy Library celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. If you’re wondering about the title, if Back to the Future can work, I figure Forward to the Past must work too?
Happy 40th Lewisham Toy Library!
Disclosure: The author recently became a committee member for the Lewisham Toy Library, and periodically receives a cup of tea and a biscuit at committee meetings and a sense of pride in supporting something that helps many.
More 6heads inspiration here: https://6-heads.com/
A cup of tea and a biscuit! Are you sure this is not swaying your opinion?! I fully agree, toy libraries are fantastic. The Post Growth Institute is about to publish a list of 5000 post-growth initiatives; assets we already have in our transition to an economy with less material throughput.