Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library

If the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library is a hidden gem, president Betsy Schwartz says it’s time to make it more known.

With its own play space in the basement of the First United Methodist Church in Shadyside, the PTLL opened in 1973 when a local psychologist decided to start a community play spot to give kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds the stimulation needed for great cognitive and social development. The connection between play and learning was just beginning to be understood in its modern sense in that era. Today it’s an established principle.

But PTLL members – more than 200 families from as far away as Monroeville and the North Hills – likely come just to let their kids, up to age six, enjoy the place. It has daytime hours daily, except Sundays, and more than 400 toys that kids can borrow to take home. PTLL is entirely volunteer-run.