Derry boy's dream of a Toy Library becomes a reality

Six-years-old Darragh McCarthy was ‘delighted’ that his idea for a Toy Library was officially launched in the Zero Waste Hub on Friday.

Darragh came up with the idea after hearing about a toy library in Monaghan. He then told his granny Carmel Mulrine, who told his mammy, Gráinne O’Neill, a member of Zero Waste North West, who put then put the wheels in motion. The Toy Library was officially launched on Friday, November 25 in the Zero Waste Hub on Spencer Road.

Speaking at the launch, Grainne said: “Darragh has a friend in Monaghan who gets new toys every week because of their toy library, so he thought ‘why isn’t there one in Derry?’. For all children with good ideas, they need a great adult to listen to them – so Darragh told his nana Carmel. She loved the idea and that it came from a child. There’s no better space for it than the Zero Waste Hub, so that’s how the Toy Library began.

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"There’s a nice flow of toys, where children can bring ones in and take a different one home each time. The Toy Library is evolving so we will listen to what toys we need and we have a suggestion box for ideas too.

Six-years-old Darragh McCarthy became the first member of the Toy Library in the Zero Waste Hub.

"Thank you, Darragh, for bringing the idea and thank you, Carmel, for listening to him.”

Darragh thought it was ‘great’ that the Toy Library was in operation and that his idea was listened to. He said: “This is about sharing. You get one toy then give it back then get another toy and give it back. I want to thank everyone in the community for this place.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane Sandra Duffy said: “I am even more excited knowing that the idea for this was Darragh’s. I am blown away in here today by everything that is going on but I am delighted to be here for the launch of the Toy Library. This is one of the best ideas I have seen here in Derry. Darragh, you should be really, really proud of yourself because this is fantastic. I can’t wait to come back.”

Caroline McGuiness Brooks said: “Traditionally, we associate libraries with books but we have both the Toy Library and the nappy library here in the Hub. To tackle the climate emergency, we have to talk about consumption. Nobody wants to deny our children toys but we need to teach our children that we can still have these things through shared ownership – by sharing, lending, borrowing, and hiring. We can do that with bikes, toys nappies, electronics, whatever it is. This is a great example of how the world needs to move forward.”

A book library in the Toy Library.

Darragh and his little sister Naia were the first to join the library, which costs £10 for the year, or £5 for children whose parents aren’t in work. The Toy Library is accepting donations of toys, especially musical instruments and dress-up clothes. Call into the Zero Waste Hub on Spencer Road to sign up, to get more information or to donate an item. Search for Zero Waste North West on Facebook for updates.

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The Toy Library has an abundance of books.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, Sandra Duffy, with Darragh, Aisling and Thomas at the Toy Library launch in the Zero Waste Hub.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, Sandra Duffy, at the Toy Library launch in the Zero Waste Hub.
Aisling and Thomas play with the idea of zero waste.