Petaling Jaya’s toy library underutilised, says state rep

The Bayan Bestari toy library was set up to benefit families who cannot afford to buy many toys and books for their children.

DESPITE in use since the end of 2013, the Bayan Bestari toy library at the Petaling Jaya Community Library only sees an average of less than two visitors a day.

Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran said this was because many parents were not aware of the facility.

Bayan Bestari is a large, furnished room near the main lobby that houses 250 good quality toys and 3,599 educational books for children.

The toy library has 250 toys of good quality, from plush toys to dolls, colourful rubber mats, large building blocks, playhouses and toy kitchen sets.

Rajiv said the space was created to benefit families who could not afford to buy many toys for their children.

According to library records, there have been nearly 600 visitors so far this year, an increase from 409 visitors in 2016, but this meant there was an average of not more than two child visitors a day.

“It is a pity because it was expensive to set this up and a lot of children could benefit from this,” said Rajiv.

Petaling Jaya resident K.K. Leong (left) brings his young granddaughter to the Bayan Bestari toy library once every one to two weeks on a weekday while the girl's parents are at work.

Petaling Jaya Community Library head Ainul Farhiah Abdul Wahab said the toy library was fairly busy on weekends as more families dropped by to use the facilities.

The Bayan Bestari toy library is also decorated with shelves of various toy models.

However on weekdays, she said, the toy library hardly had any visitors apart from a few regulars.

Petaling Jaya resident K.K. Leong, 63, and his granddaughter use the toy library once in a week or two, usually on a weekday.

Children can look forward to playing with to plush toys and dolls as well as large building blocks.

Leong feels the toy library is good as it has many unique toys that would otherwise be too expensive for most parents to buy.

“Her parents are normally at work on weekdays, so we sometimes come and spend two hours here,” he said.

Leong said he took the time to cultivate a love for books in the two-year-old by reading bedtime stories, instead of allowing her to get attached to electronic devices.

Visitors are encouraged to sign up for a library membership to enjoy access to the Bayan Bestari toy library for an entry fee of RM7.

Annual membership at the Petaling Jaya Community Library costs RM31 for the first year and RM15 to renew annually.

The toy library is open to children aged seven and below, and can accommodate up to 10 children and 10 guardians per session.

The room is open seven days a week and offers two sessions a day from 10am to noon and 2pm to 4pm. On Mondays, it is open only in the afternoon and on weekends, there is only the morning session.

The opening hours for the Friday afternoon session is 3pm to 5pm. The toy library is closed on public holidays.

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