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Newsletter nº 3 (2012)

Istanbul 2012 Having in mind that it is crucial for ETL’s members to meet every year, Turkey hosted the 16th meeting, held in the 19th and 20th of April, in the facilities of Marmara University. It was with great satisfaction that the members recognized that ETL is now a stable group with the same people/organization coming each year, what gives an important contribute for the continuity of work. The meeting was attended by the following participants: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.


Hungary: 8 TL

Belgium (Flemish): 90 TL

Italy: 1000 TL

Belgium (French): 120 TL

Lithuania: 108 TL

Croatia: 18 TL

Netherlands: 300-400 TL

Cyprus: 6 TL

Portugal: 750 TL

Denmark: 40 TL

Romania: 150 TL

France: 1200 TL

Spain: 600 TL

Germany: 100 TL

Switzerland: 380 TL

Great Britain: 1000 TL

Sweden : 200 TL

Greece: 4 TL

Turkey: 9 TL

Each country presented its annual report, which made clear that the financial crisis has also deep impact on the functionment and funding of toy libraries all across Europe. Nevertheless, several activities have been carried out in all countries with the aim to promote Toy Libraries' recognition and to defend the Right to Play, namely the dissemination of the celebration of World Play Day in the majority of the countries and several symposiums, conferences and exhibitions regarding Play and Toy Libraries.

6500 Toy Libraries in Europe


 To disseminate the concept of toy libraries as a means of bringing play and play materials to people.  To serve as a link between national toy library organizations, providing opportunities for international exchange of ideas and materials.  To maintain a liaison with other organizations and associations pertaining to developmental and social issues, health, education and play.  To organize common presentations at international events such as the International Conferences organized by the International Toy Library Association.  To cooperate with organizations having similar goals.


ETL’S DEFINITION OF A TOY LIBRARY Some members highlighted that the wording “toy library” is being incorrectly used by institutions that have another purposes (namely commercial intents regarding play). So it was suggested to revise ETL’s definition of toy library, what was agreed by all members. The definition should now be read as follows: Toy libraries provide resources for play, including toys, games, trained staff and dedicated space on a non-commercial basis.

WORKING STANDARDS The working standards, worked out in Lisbon and Brussels, were accepted by the different countries. ETL will release it as part of the global “Documentation for Toy Libraries” that will have the following contents: 

ETL history

Working standards

Different charters of quality

Different standards for toy libraries

All website addresses of the participating countries

ETL’s Newsletters

This documentation is now inexistent in Europe and will respond to a gap that most countries feel regarding access to reference documents in the area of toy libraries.

ETL will release the “Documentation for Toy Libraries” that sums up the group’s work and will provide reference documents about toy libraries


Group present at the meeting in Istanbul, 2012

ETL’S STRUCTURE AND FUTURE WORK ETL’s members were divided in three groups to discuss ETL’s structure and future work. Each one of the questions below was firstly worked by a small group and then analyzed by the entire ETL’s group.


Does ETL want to be an Association or a group?

For the time being, ETL will stay as an informal group. This issue was already discussed in previous meetings and the “formal” aspects of being an association were highlighted as they probably would imply a change in ETL’s current situation: today we are a working group that can focus on technical issues and that doesn’t spend time on formal aspects. This discussion will be resumed in upcoming meetings.

2. Who can be a member of ETL? A member’s profile was drawn as follows: 

Members are National Associations of Toy Libraries or similar (no individual members);

Members must live in a European country and speak English fluently;

The decision of accepting the membership is of the entire responsibility of ETL (no automatic memberships). A membership form will be created.

ETL will stay an informal group and focus on technical issues, as it has been until now.

3. What are the tasks of ETL? All the tasks below are crucial contributes to strengthen the European Toy Library Movement: 

to inform each other, the group, Europe and policy makers;

to be informed of the ITLA decisions, of important European or world topics with influence on Toy Libraries’ work;

to represent European Toy Libraries (establish contacts with policy makers and have a strong European representative in ITLA);

to influence local Toy Libraries’ policy;

to reflect national and international policies.


GETTING TO KNOW ISTANBUL... The organizers of this year’s meeting welcomed the participants with a concert in Marmara University facilities and prepared a series of activities to get to know NEXT MEETING:

Turkish culture and arts. The first visit was the Istanbul Toy Museum, with a collection of over 4,000 toys

Date: April 19th –20th 2013 Place: Denmark

from around the world. A very well designed space where workshops for children and families are carried out. In the last day of the meeting, the members participated in an Ebru Workshop, a traditional Turkish art that ETL members could experience with the help of a professor from Marmara University. There were also a visit to the Karagöz Traditional Turkish Shadow Puppet Theatre where ETL’s members saw a play and were able to talk to its the creator.

ETL will continue working to strengthen the European Toy Library Movement ETL HISTORY AND MEMBERS The Group of European Toy Libraries (ETL) was founded in 1996 during the 7th International Conference on Toy Libraries in Zurich (Switzerland). ETL is committed to the beliefs that play, playthings and playful interaction are essential to optimal education, physical, psychological, social and cultural development. It has as current members the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

4 © Child Support Institute, 2012

ETL is a section of the International Toy Libraries Association of (ITLA) and works in close co-operation with ITLA.

European Toy Libraries - Newsletter 3  

European Toy Libraries - Newsletter 3 Anual meeting in Istanbul 2012