Carlson Toy Library

Have a question you don't see answered here? Just email us at or call Todd and Jennifer, our friendly librarians during opening hours on 028 462 0379.

How can I visit?

We are open Fridays 9.30am-12pm, and Saturdays 9.30am-12.30pm (except on Public Holiday weekends when we're closed on the Saturday). Come and see us at 261 St Andrews Road, Epsom during opening hours! We are attached to the Central Auckland Specialist School (formerly known as the Carlson School). Drive into the carpark, park in one of our dedicated spaces and we are the small building on the right.

How many toys can I borrow?

Families can borrow 6 toys a visit for a maximum period of two weeks. Toys can be renewed for a further 2 weeks if no other family has requested to book them.

How can I reserve a toy?

Members can place toys on hold for $1 a toy. Just browse the toys you would like and click on the 'hold toy' button when you are logged in to the system. Or if you see a picture of a toy you like in the library, the librarians can place a hold on it for you for you to collect on your next visit.

Can I click and collect?

Sure! Just place the toys you want on hold by logging in to the system and choosing the toys you want to pick up. The librarian can put them aside for your next visit for a charge of $1 per toy.

I've forgotten my username and password!

Anyone can browse our collection of toys without being a member here. Members can login with their username, which is their surname followed by their membership number (no caps or spaces). You'll find this on your most recent email or printed receipt. If you've forgotten your password, just log in and click the 'forgot password' button.

I'm having a kid's party, what can I borrow?

Great! We love parties too! We have kid sized tables and chairs for up to 12 kids available for a small extra charge, plus you can hire dress-ups for your kids and all their friends too. And we have some great cake tins to save you slaving over the Women's Weekly cookbook this year round. Check out our party hire items under the 'Toys' menu.

Are the toys clean?

Members are expected to clean toys with soap and water or antibacterial wipes before returning them so the next child can enjoy them. We ask all members to return toys in the condition that they would like to borrow them.

What if I lose a piece?

Trust us, it happens all the time. Pieces usually show up by the next time you visit. Just let the librarians know when you return the item and we'll add a note to your membership. If the piece never shows up then a small charge will apply.

What if I break a toy?

Hey, we're parents too and we know that accidents do happen. If a toy gets broken, we'd appreciate if you attempted to fix it. If that's beyond your skills or means, just return it to us with all the broken parts and our toy repairer will do their best. A charge may be applied to contribute towards a replacement if our newer toys are broken beyond repair.

What if my toys are overdue?

You can renew toys for another 2 weeks provided no other families have requested them. Just log in to your account, and select 'renew' against the toys you wish to renew. Toys overdue for more than 1 week will be charged a fine of $1 per toy per week, with $2 toys charged at $2 per week overdue.

Where do all the toys come from?

We receive community grants from some amazing organisations that allow us to keep adding to our collection. The Carlson Toy Library was started in June 1994 so we've amassed an incredible collection of nearly 1300 toys over the years. As toys get tired, we sell them on to members and replace them with new ones that better meet the needs of our members today.

What's involved with a rostered membership?

Rostered members sign up for duties on a day that suits them. Fully rostered members must complete three duties a year, while partially rostered members must complete one duty. Duties are for two hours on a Friday or Saturday, working alongside a Toy Librarian and usually involve checking and counting toys that members are returning and tidying the shelves. Easy peasy, and our librarian is always there.

Can I bring my kids to my rostered duty?

We are happy to have kids along to ‘help out’ with your rostered duty on Fridays. You'll know best though whether your child will be happy playing here while you assist the librarian as it can get busy at times. Unfortunately, due to the number of members looking to return and borrow toys we don’t allow kids to help with their parent’s duty on Saturdays.

Can I choose my duties?

For sure. We publish the roster on a rolling basis and you just choose the session that works for you. You can sign up for a session when you log in with the username and password provided to you when you first joined. The roster can be found here for members. If you don't choose a time, the librarians will give you a reminder when you are next in, and will help sign you up for one that suits.

Can I just borrow a few toys for when my grandkids visit?

Yes, definitely. We have a special membership option for grandparents that allows you to borrow 3 toys at a time for just $50 per year.  This allows you to have toys on hand to keep the grandkids busy during the school holidays.  We'd love you to do a duty if you are able to. If you want to borrow more toys then you can upgrade at any time to a fully, partly or non-rostered membership. This membership option isn’t just open to grandparents so if you are a part-time caregiver then this might also suit you. 

Are there any other fees or charges beyond my membership fee?

Some of our more expensive toys incur an additional fee of $2 per toy for each rental period, and we charge for our party hire equipment. But the vast majority of our toys, including dressups and ride on toys are free to hire for all members.

How do I pay for my membership?

Payment can be made by cash in the library, or by internet banking. Sorry, we don't have eftpos! Our bank account number is 12-3216-0127581-00. Just quote your surname and membership number (found on all communications from the toy library).

How can I help?

Our committee is always looking for passionate members to join and help run this much-loved community resource. Committee members also get discounted membership and can borrow more toys! If you’d like to get involved or can help us in other ways, email us at

How did the library start?

Thanks for asking! The Carlson Toy Library was established in 1994, originally started to fulfil a need for special needs children, but over the years expanding to meet the needs of all of our local children. It was affiliated with the Carlson School (now the Central Auckland Special School) who are still our landlords today.