Over the past few years, we have been supplying toys to Public Libraries for various local initiatives. Whether it's for toys to play within the library, toys that can be borrowed or toys used during storytime...All toys and games are always carefully proposed by us and selected by the librarians for their quality, durability and play values. A while ago I decided to contact the librarians to get their feedback...
Testimonial from Maedhbh Rogan-McGann (March, 2023) - Senior Executive Librarian - Navan Library
"Meath County Council Library Service launched our STEAM backpacks initiative for children aged 3-6 years in August 2022. Our STEAM backpacks contain age-appropriate, hands-on resources and books for children and parents/carers learning together about Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. We have 240 backpacks covering 15 different themes such as Space, Water, Weather, My Amazing Body etc. Irish language books are available for most backpacks, on request. We hope to engage and inspire young children and their carers to engage with STEAM, and to promote awareness and understanding of the importance and relevance of STEAM to everyday life. We hope that the contents of the backpacks will inspire early scientific exploration, discovery and learning which are key to developing critical thinking, problem solving and innovation in children. Big Thank You to Meta, and their Clonee Data Center, for funding this family-friendly initiative as part of their commitment to supporting STEM learning in County Meath.
The STEAM backpacks have been a runaway success with our young children and families. As of today, the backpacks have been loaned 1145 times in total. We currently have 539 reservations on the backpacks too. The backpacks are popular with families but are also borrowed by preschools and Junior Infant teachers. The ‘Space’ backpack has been borrowed most often with 88 loans. Whilst the ‘Build it’ backpack has been the most requested with 63 current reserves!
Most backpacks contain a selection of toys and activities supplied by MimiToys. The advice and service from MimiToys is second to none. An email enquiry to Myriam about stock availability or recommendations for toys is promptly dealt with and we really appreciate her expert advice. And we are also delighted to support a local business.
Some feedback from staff and parents:
“The I’m a Scientist is definitely going down a bomb. People come in with photos and video of the children doing the experiments” Slane Library
“The STEAM backpacks are still flying out the door”. Navan Library
“It is rare to have more than two backpacks on the shelves” Dunboyne Library
Feedback from a mother in Slane who borrowed the Maths backpack. She said she didn’t want to pass on her dislike of Maths to her 5 year-old daughter, so they borrowed the Maths backpack. They spent an hour and 45 minutes with it on the first day and had a brilliant time. She couldn’t speak highly enough about it! Slane Library
We hope to develop this further and are exploring the development of STEAM discovery kits for children aged 7+"
More information here.
Wexford Libraries Sensory Toys
Testimonial from Theresa Kelly (MARCH, 2023) - Librarian for Children &Young People - Wexford Library
What was the context or the initiative that lead you to decide to buy toys for the libraries?
The toys were bought to support children living with challenges to participate in activities, learn and develop skills and most importantly to have an enhanced and inclusive fun experience when visiting their local branch libraries.
What were your criteria for selecting the toys?
We were looking for safe, well made and durable items that would help to support the sensory and developmental needs of children.
What do you hope the toys will do?
We were looking for toys that will support the development of fine motor skills, speech, language and social skills in children through play.
Your experience with dealing with mimitoys?
We found Mimitoys to be excellent, knowledgeable, very helpful and responsive with prompt delivery of the items ordered.