The Toy Loan Program is an innovative and voluntary community effort co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the County’s Department of Public Social Services.
Operating like a library, the Toy Loan Program allows children to borrow one toy from the toy loan program every week. When they return one toy to the Toybrarians, they can check out another toy. Once children return five, ten, fifteen, and twenty toys on time and in good condition, they are rewarded with a toy to keep! Rewards for 20 good marks include large items such as bikes and dollhouses.
All that is required for a child to join the program is a membership application card signed by a parent or responsible adult.
The Los Angeles Toy Loan program is the oldest and largest free service of its kind in the country. The program was founded in 1935 in an attempt to offset the difficulties low-income families face buying toys for their children. Now, there are around forty-five thousand toys in circulation and the program services over 30,000 kids a year at around 50 sites.
Toy Loan Centers are located in parks, recreation centers, and schools throughout Los Angeles County, from San Pedro to Santa Clarita. In addition to providing toys, these centers also provide a space for kids to engage in safe playtime twice a week, as many families don’t have backyards or nearby parks.
The Toy Loan Program goes beyond reliable access to toys and play, it also fosters responsibility through the observance of an honor code. This honor code teaches critical values such as honesty, patience, courtesy, and cooperation. The focus on these values ensures that toys are not only a source of fun but also a learning tool.
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