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Saying farewell to the ‘best job in the world’

Jenny Barre is retiring after eight years as the Masterton Toy Library librarian. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND


Every day at work is fun for Jenny Barre, Masterton Toy Library librarian.

But after eight years there, it is time for Jenny to move on into retirement to spend more time with her many grandchildren.

The Masterton Toy Library, a not-for-profit, registered charity branching from Toy Library Federation of New Zealand, started about 40 years ago and is now the largest toy library in the country, with more than 2000 toys.

“It’s the best job in the world,” Jenny said.

“It helps keep you young.

“You’re in contact with lots of young families and their children, and they grow so quickly.”

Eight years ago, Jenny had not long moved to Masterton when she started work at the Toy Library.

Before that, she had built a career in teaching, early childhood education and teacher aiding – “so this job seemed perfect”.

What Jenny loved most about her job was that it gave many families access to high quality toys for their children to play with, at a relatively cheap rate.

“These days, any good quality toy is very expensive – and children like variety too.

“They can’t play with the same thing all the time or they get bored with it.

“This way you’ve got heaps of variety.”

She recalled the day one family finished with the library because their children had outgrown the need.

“The mum said, I think it’s time for us to finish now.

“The six-year-old said it was the worst day of her life.”

Toys at the library range from puzzles to DVDs, doll houses, costumes, and baby toys.

They cater for children up to the age of 10, but most toys cater for children up to six years old.

Thursday was Jenny’s last day as the Toy Library librarian.

“My husband and I have a lot of grandchildren – 15 in fact.

“We have seven children, 15 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, and we just don’t get to see them enough, so we decided we would be a bit more free and easy and travel around the country and visit them all.”

Jenny will remain on the Masterton Toy Library committee and will continue to help fundraise.

“Keeping the funding going is probably the biggest challenge of all,” she said.

“We try to keep the fees down for families and we get lots of grants, but we do have to fundraise as well.”

Over the years, the Toy Library has been supported by many trusts and businesses including Masterton District Council, Trust House, Masterton Trust Land Trust, Easter and Central Trust.

“I will be sad to finish my work as librarian, and I would like to thank all the lovely parents with their beautiful children who have made the job so enjoyable.”

The Masterton Toy Library hours will change from the beginning of June, and it will be closed for Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

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