Christmas came early at the Brainerd Public Library.
On Tuesday, the library received gifts of new wooden puzzles and educational games for children to play with when visiting the library. The library received about 18 items that were delivered and donated by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library.
Jolene Bradley, Brainerd library manager, said the library’s old puzzles and educational games were in dire disrepair. Bradley said the items were as old as the library building, which dates back to the late 80s. Bradley said the puzzle pieces were torn and the puppets were losing their eyes.
Gail Brecht, president of Friends of the Brainerd Public Library, said Bradley came to the Friends’
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December meeting and showed members the old, damaged educational items. Brecht said members quickly decided that they’d buy puzzles and games to replace the old ones for the library.
Brecht said Friends of the Library have an annual budget of around $10,000-$12,000 that goes toward items, including the new educational toys at the library. Brecht said other items the Friends’ organization has recently spent money on include pizza for parties and candy canes for children when Santa visited the library on Monday. Brecht said the nonprofit also has purchased craft materials like crayons, markers and construction paper.
Brecht said the nonprofit was going to wait until after the first of the year to purchase the new educational toys, but she was able to find the items for a good deal and was able to give the library an early Christmas gift. Brecht was able to purchase 18 Melissa and Doug brand items for under $250.
“We were able to replace the old items with new alphabet-themed things, magnets puzzles, a latch board among other fun games that will hopefully last for a long time,” said Brecht. “The library is a learning environment and children need these types of educational items that offer hands-on learning and all the bright colors will help bring them in.”
Four-year-old Finnley Taylor was the first child to get an opportunity to play with the educational toys. Finnley played with Melissa and Doug’s Take-Along Tool Kit, Lacing Beads in a Box and the Shape Sorting Cube.
Finnley and his mother, Sara Taylor of Brainerd, were at the library Tuesday for the children’s story telling time. The Taylors have come to the story time program every week for the past couple of months.
“We love coming here,” said Sara Taylor. “He loves to play with the puzzles and looking at the books. He looks forward to it every week.”
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.