We took a look into CPL’s new Resource & Toy Library, and here’s what we found…
When you think of a library, you can imagine a quiet, focused space, maybe with a few people speaking in hushed voices so they don’t disrupt the browsers nearby. You see mostly neutral colours, with rows and rows of shelves holding books on everything from health to history.
This scene is flipped on its head when you step into CPL’s Resource & Toy Library, formerly operated by Inclusion Works!. In this library, the walls are lined with toys and games, and the shelves hold books in every colour imaginable. Conversations can be overheard about the success a mother had when she tried a new game with her child, and what resource a school teacher will try with her class next.
Located in Yeronga in Brisbane’s South, the library has been offering educational resources to Queensland communities for 43 years. The library was founded with the purpose of helping families, educators and therapists overcome barriers to early childhood development.
Recently, CPL was chosen to carry on the legacy of Inclusion Works! to ensure children with disabilities could continue to access these resources for years to come.
Though the library is now proudly named CPL’s Resource & Toy Library, the vision of education and inclusion remains the same.
With over seven percent of Australian children having a disability, accessible resources for childhood development are essential. Alexandra Noculak, CPL Occupational Therapist, said parents are often tasked with finding educational toys and books for their children, but it’s not always easy.
“These resources are vital for development, but they can be cost inhibitive,” she said.
“Especially when many items can be trial and error because every child is different, so what works for one child may not necessarily work for another.
“That’s why CPL’s Resource & Toy Library is great. Parents can come in and borrow an item, and if it doesn’t meet their expectations or if their child outgrows it, they can return it and try something else.”
The library has an extensive range of books and toys, each with their own educational purpose, and there is information to learn and teach about disability, trauma, and diversity.
Subscribers can loan out multiple items at a time, either through visiting the library or via an online portal. As one of the only libraries of its kind in Australia, each resource comes with an information sheet written by the librarians to explain how you can use it, why you are using it, and some different levels for children to progress through.
One of the people who writes these information sheets is Cristina Ciereszko who said the staff are one of the library’s most valuable assets.
“Often parents come to us straight after their child has been diagnosed, and it’s all still quite raw,” she said.
“Some of our librarians have experience as educators, and can explain the resources and jargon that is sometimes confusing for families who have recently received advice from a doctor or therapist.
“When parents come in, the librarians are available to talk and offer hands on support, which can be far less daunting than searching for answers on the internet!”
The library isn’t just for parents; many of the library’s subscribers are childcare workers, school teachers, and Allied Health professionals.
Cristina says the library gives people a sense of empowerment to support children.
“The library exists to help children reach their full potential, and support families, therapists and educators. Those are its most important roles,” she said.