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Newsletter nr. 1 (2010)

Presentation Booklet Lisbon 2010

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). Since 1996, regular meetings have been held in the following cities: 1996 Zurich – Switzerland 1998 Paris – France 1999 Lisbon – Portugal 2000 London – United Kingdom 2001 Florence – Italy 2002 Lisbon – Portugal 2003 Graz – Austria 2004 Brasov – Romania 2005 Lisbon – Portugal 2006 Athens – Greece 2007 Barcelona – Spain 2008 Noordwijk – Netherlands 2009 Winterthur – Switzerland 2010 Lisbon – Portugal

The European Group is an informal group. We are committed to the beliefs that play, playthings and playful interaction are essential to optimal education, physical, psychological, social and cultural development. The members of ETL are National Associations of Toy Libraries, play professionals and individuals interested in promoting play, from countries across Europe: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.


• 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.

ITLA INTERNATIONAL The Group of European Toy Libraries is a section of the International Association of Toy Libraries (ITLA) and works in close cooperation with ITLA. ITLA is a non-profit making international organization consisting of national toy library associations, institutions and individual members. One of the main goals of ITLA is the encouragement of cooperation between the different

national organizations. To strengthen this co-operation, ITLA organizes an International Conference every three years. A unique and specialized collection of historical and other documents relating to toy libraries and play is mainted by the ITLA Documentation Centre at the offices of Centro Internazionale Ludoteche, Florence, Italy.

“European Toy Libraries are open to everybody�

DEFINITION OF A TOY LIBRARY Toy libraries provide resources for play, including toys, games, trained staff and dedicated space. European Toy Libraries are open to everybody: children and adults, able bodied and disabled persons, institutions and organizations Toy libraries serve people without regard to race, sex, disability, religion, language or national origin. A toy library is a service that provides members with the opportunity for shared play and / or the loan of toys and games. A toy library can be operated by individuals, charity organizations, local, regional or national governments or any other similar agency or group. As often as possible Toy Libraries serve as a community resource offering information, guidance and support to members in addition to the loan of toys and games.


In some countries like Denmark, Sweden and Croatia toy libraries are only for handicapped children. In Great-Britain there are both types. All the others are open and in most countries, except Portugal, toys are lent out.


• Italy • Switzerland Group present at the meeting in Lisbon, 2010

• Portugal • Turkey • Belgium

ETL MEETING—LISBON, APRIL 2010 One purpose of this meeting was to create a common language, to all the present countries, about toy libraries and the core competencies needed. For this, there were established three working groups to focus on these questions: 1. Rational and legal framework (Portugal, Belgium, UK)

• Denmark • Greece • Netherlands • UK

• To promote and recognize the pedagogical, educational and socio-cultural role that play has in the everyday life of individual and society; • To defend the Right to Play; • To nurture the relationships between children, their parents or careers through playing together. 2. Governance, management and strategy (Netherlands, Turkey) • Tasks and responsibilities — management: Environment of toy library; Working conditions; Communication with the community and institutions; Financial management; Policy; among others. 3. Tasks of the toy librarians (Italy, Greece, Switzerland , Denmark) • Provide a welcoming environment • Provide opportunities to play • To observe, being aware of the needs of the clients • To have a great choice/a wide range/a diversity of toys and games, to play in the facilities or to loan

ETL is still working on these competencies and will have further developments in near future.


ETL MEETING—LISBON, APRIL 2010 The status of Toy libraries and Play differs across Europe. In some countries, toy libraries are open because there is a group of people interested, in spite of the government not recognizing that play and reading are at the same level; in others they are connected to the City Councils, but the concept of toy library, to be presented to them, should be very clear. It was stated that there are two types of recognition: legal/official and public. For instance, libraries have a public recognition, toy libraries don’t. Thus, it was used a Brainstorming to decide what can be done in order to improve the status and the image/reputation of toy libraries. The findings were:

social and cognitive life skills (as the libraries help in developing reading skills)

• Legal status • Research • Case studies • Multicultural and social integration • • • •

Prevention Financial support Media presence Ambassadors, committee of supporters

• Networking • Contact and cooperation with an university

• Contact with local and national government

• Raise awareness and involve the gov• Clear goals and concepts


• Needs of the Target Group

• Professionalization and recognition of

• Open to the community

• Training and commitment • In future: university recognition

• Evidence that toy libraries help in the


development of children, giving them

“After looking at the impact of ETL in each country, we can see that the work we are doing here is important and we will keep up.” Renate Fuchs, ETL Co-ordinator

ACTIONS FOR THE FUTURE During the meeting some actions for the future were agreed :

• Link between national organizations and toy library organizations.

• Exchange info about toy libraries; • Charter/standards of quality; • Cooperation on different topics (training, security of toys…) and possibly exchanging personal between different countries;


Date: April 2011 Place: Brussels

• Support efforts to help to create the profession of toy librarian;

• Promote the cultural value of play and games, as this could contribute to a better recognition (a cultural heritage connected also with traditional toys);

Date: 2012 Place: Turkey

• Link to ITLA, organizing a common presentation in the ITLA conference like it was in Paris, Lisbon and South Africa;

4 © Child Support Institute, 2010

European Toy Libraries - Newsletter 1  

European Toy Libraries - Newsletter 1

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