Did You Know? The Library Lends Toys

You can see a black puzzle of the solar system that includes brightly colored planets and other objects, as well as the orange toy label.

by Eliana, teen volunteer at HCLS Savage Branch

I have been a volunteer at the Savage Branch for years, and a daily customer of the library since middle school. Howard County Library System offers so many services that I have only just discovered!

Did you know that customers of Howard County Library System can borrow educational toys? That’s right: each branch offers a wide array of toys for customers to borrow for free. Here’s how to access them:

Ask at the children’s desk for their “Flip and Views,” which have a picture of the toy and the toy’s name. They are sorted into five categories: cognitive toys, motor toys, puppets of all kinds, social toys, and a wide variety of puzzles. Pick a slip, any slip, and hand it to a staff member.

After receiving the Flip and View, the staff member retrieves the toy for you. The toys aren’t available on the library floor like books in order to keep things clean and orderly. The toys come in Howard County Library System bags with nifty labels. These labels list the components of the toy – especially if it’s a set – and an age level recommendation. All you need to do is check the tag to make sure everything is included. Once the toy has been checked out, it’s all yours to enjoy at home for three weeks!

When a customer is ready to return a toy, simply return it in its bag along with your books. If a toy gets broken, simply take it to the front desk and explain what happened. The library staff are super understanding about these sorts of things. Your library would rather know when something is broken. The toy may end up in the library’s “toy hospital” where they replace spare parts and mend broken toys.

Once returned, each toy is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before its corresponding flip and view returns to view for the public. After that, the toy is officially available to borrow once more!

Photo of teenager wearing a jean jacket, glasses and a mask holding rainbow ribboned sticks with bells.

Every Howard County Library Branch offers this free service. If you are interested in a toy, please speak to the staff at your branch and they will be delighted to assist. You can also view the educational toy collection here on the HCLS website. As for me, those ribbon bells look quite appealing. I think I may check those out myself so that I might frolic about the back hills like the majestic creature that I am.

Eliana is a teen volunteer (and frequent visitor) at HCLS Savage Branch.