May 23 2010

Wherein I create a Wikipedia page to try to make the world a better place

by at 8:49 pm

Ludothèque in Renens

There’s a storefront that I often pass in Renens with a big picture of a pumpkin labeled “ludothèque.” I never gave it much thought, though I guess I would have concluded it was just a store that had closed down some past Halloween. (Jackie thought it was a daycare with a pumpkin theme). Not so! Natalie recently explained what a ludothèque is:

A toy library is a library from which toys, puzzles, and games are lent out, functioning like a lending library. Toy libraries offer play sessions for families and a wide range of toys appropriate for children at different stages in their development. Toy libraries provide children with new toys every week or two, saving parents money and keeping children from getting bored. Popular in the French-speaking world, toy libraries are called ludothèques.

Great idea, right? From what I can gather it’s a very common thing in France, Switzerland, and Quebec (where it’s called a joujouthèque!) It’s obviously good for the environment, and if libraries are already lending CDs and DVDs to big people, why not games, toys, and puzzles for the little ones? It was so great an idea, I decided it needed a Wikipedia page in order to popularize it outside of the Francophonie. So I went ahead and created a page for it, originally calling them “Toybraries” in English (based on the first one I found in the US, Toybrary, because it sort of approximates the construction of ludotheque as “ludo” = play and thèque from bibliothèque. Ludobrary sounds kind of weird I guess. Playbrary?). Eventually after doing research and turning up federations in the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand—all linked on the Wikipedia page, of course—I settled on the blander “Toy library.” The blockquote description above is from Wikipedia, or in other words, I just wrote it.

Of course what’s now needed on the Wikipedia page is a history section. Toy libraries have existed since at least 1935, according to a master’s thesis from 1995 by Julia E. Moore of Kent State University [PDF], when one was set up in Los Angeles. The idea apparently reemerged in the 60s and 70s with Head Start and other legislation. Interesting! Well, it’s back to real work for me (sorting photos from the weekend?) Hopefully a committed Wikipedia-er will pick up where I left off and summarize the 46 page thesis in a section called history, which I’ve just added.

P.S. By the way there’s a Swiss association online. They’re called Ludotheken in German.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Wherein I create a Wikipedia page to try to make the world a better place”

  1. Reaon 01 Jun 2010 at 10:11 pm

    I would LOVE to find a ludoteque (toy library) in Spain. However, in Spanish “Ludoteca” refers to kind of drop in center for kids.

  2. Jackieon 01 Jun 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Hmm. A drop in center for kids doesn’t seem too bad, either.

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