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July 12, 2016

Volunteers needed for Play Library

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The Play Library is just like a regular library but instead of books, they lend toys and games! Designed for kids and adults alike, their mission is to connect families, friends and communities through play. The Play Library is seeking volunteers to help out in the storefront space 6/25-8.27. Volunteer responsibilities include welcoming guests to the space, keeping shelves stocked, floors clear, checking toys and games in and out, brainstorming ideas for themed game nights and special events, etc. Get more information and sign up!

So like, no big deal or whatever but Cincinnati's WCPO Insider just wrote up a piece on the the Play Library. For those who don't subscribe, here's the whole thing.

CINCINNATI — Play time is no longer just for children.

That is the message Julia Fischer will deliver this summer when she opens the Play Library near Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine.

“The Play Library is just like a regular library, except instead of books it is checking out toys and games,” said Fischer, who worked in the toy industry for 12 years. “The idea of it is, the whole thing behind the library, is that it is a place where people can come and play together.”

The library, which is scheduled to open on June 24, will be located inside of the lobby of People's Liberty at 1805 Elm St. Members will be able to check out items for a nominal fee, and visitors will be able to play with toys and games for free on site, Fischer said.
People's Liberty, a philanthropic foundation that promotes positive community growth and interaction, donated the space for the Play Library for three months as part of a $15,000 Globe grant it awarded Fischer in 2015. The Globe grant, named after the building that People's Liberty occupies, is one of 21 grants that the organization awards each year.

"People’s Liberty, in general, is looking for creative people in the community who have ideas we think are going to get people to engage and react with others," said Eric Avner, People's Liberty CEO. "Julia’s idea was playful. It was for all ages. It transcended all backgrounds. Everybody likes to play. It was an easy fit for us."

Fischer said a phone conversation with her mother while she lived in Los Angeles a few years ago sparked the idea for the library. Her mother apologized for not spending enough time with her as a child because of work and other commitments. Fischer said she found the apology unnecessary; her best childhood memories were of playing with her parents.

“It’s quality of time over quantity of time,” Fischer said. “Play connects people — family, friends and neighbors.”

When she moved to Cincinnati almost two years ago for work she fell in love with Over-the-Rhine.

“There are a lot of different socio-economic groups there and I would like for everyone to play and get along,” she said.

Fischer began collecting donations for the library from former employers several months ago. She is also hosting an all-ages “Play Date” event from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Rhinegeist Brewery, at 1910 Elm St. People can play, enjoy a beer and donate gently used toys and games to the library.

Fischer also plans to host summer play camps at Washington Park and special event nights in the library once it opens.

“What I hope to stress is that it’s not just for kids,” she said. “I want people to know it’s for everyone.”

Fischer also hopes she will find the library a permanent home in September through the exposure and support provided by People's Liberty. Past Globe grant recipients, such as We Have Become Vikings, have experienced continued success after their tenure at People's Liberty, Avner said.

"They are just individuals who have very interesting ideas," Avner said of his organization's grant winners. "Those are people who are going to take a larger role in the community as well. I expect Julia will leave her mark on this city and community."

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