Pittsburgh Family Fun Goes to Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library
In the past week we have visited the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library twice. My mother-in-law is in the hospital in Shadyside and a visit to the PTLL is the perfect complement to a hospital visit. We let the kids run around and tire themselves out at the TLL and then head over to visit quietly with grandma.
I think the Toy Library is a hidden gem. It’s got a casual, comfortable feel that doesn’t scream “corporate”. Some of the toys have seen better days but you can tell they’ve been played with and loved by many children through the years. I love the feeling that everything is donated, the library is run by volunteers and everyone seems to know each other. It’s like a like little toy library family. The kind of friendly family that invites you in with a warm smile and offers to take your coat while handing you a snack.
The Library reminds me a lot of the “late” Center for Creative Play. If you were a fan of the CFCP then you’ll like the Toy Library. It’s a much smaller space, but the variety of toys are similar. The library has toys set up into separate areas. If memory serves, there are separate areas for puzzles, books, train table, kitchen, play house, vehicles, dress up, jumping and rocking horses, arts and crafts, and a nursery area with infant toys and a comfy couch for nursing.
The center also has a large playground in the center of the room with a tunnel and slides as well as a castle playset.
Admission is very reasonable ($5 per child or a maximum of $10 per family) and they offer memberships if you have the time to donate a few hours a month to “manning the ship”.
I’ve not taken advantage of it, but I understand they also have toys available to lend to members (hence the “Library” name). There are several binders (see slideshow) with photographs of the available toys.
In addition there are kid-sized bathrooms, a snack area and a kitchenette. We bring a lunch or snacks when we visit and eat right there.
I hope to raise some awareness of the PTLL. It really is such a great place and yet so many people aren’t familiar with it, how it works, etc. Next time you are looking for a place to let the kids play and explore, please consider the Toy Lending Library. Let’s support it!
Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library
5401 Centre Avenue
Shadyside – in the rear of the First United Methodist Church. The nearest major intersection is South Aiken and Centre Avenues.
Mondays 9:30 am - 2:30 pm
Tuesdays 9:30 am-5:30 pm
Wednesdays 9:30 am - 2:30 pm
Thursdays 9:30 am - 5:30 pm
Fridays 9:30 am - 2:30 pm
Saturdays 9:30 am - 12:30 pm (closed first Saturday of each month for board meetings)
Mondays 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Tuesday 9:30 am -1:00 pm and 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Wednesdays 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Thursdays 9:30 am -1:00 pm and 4:00 pm- 6:00 pm
Fridays 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Saturdays 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
*Since they are an entirely volunteer-run organization, it is a good idea to call first (412-682-4430) to verify that they are open.
Price: $5 per child over 12 months or $10 per family - First visit is free. Memberships are available.
Birthday parties: Members: $60.00 plus $50.00 deposit Non-Members: $120.00 plus $75.00 deposit (Checks and cash accepted) - The Toy Library is available for parties on Saturdays and Sundays after 1:30 p.m. and on weekdays after 3:30 p.m. It is also available on weekdays when they are closed due to a school holiday.
-Comfortable welcoming atmosphere
-Bathrooms centrally located in play area
-A variety of developmentally appropriate toys
-Price is very reasonable
-Small enough that you won't lose sight of your children
-Hours are limited, especially on weekends
-Space and toys are a bit older, many toys are missing parts