How it works
Become a member
From an online catalogue or at your local toy library
From your local toy library
For 1-4 weeks
To your local toy library
Over and over again
Pay what you can
Borrow up to
or 2 games per child.
- Per family
Living at the same address.
- For 1 to 4 weeks
Become a member
Membership of Okapi toy libraries are open to all, regardless of citizenship or legal status. If you sign up, you do so for a specific toy library, e.g. Speel’Bieb Genk in the city of Genk. Membership is family based, meaning that an account covers all people living at the same address, from one to many. The principal account holder needs to be over 18 years old.
To sign up you need to:
- Provide us your name, address, and contact information.
- Read and sign the Membership Agreement.
We will process your membership request as soon as possible. This normally takes less than five days. Once your membership has been processed, you receive an email with login information for the online catalogue and you can start borrowing toys. We will verify your information when you borrow toys for the first time. Please bring some form of ID with you, preferentially including your address information.
You can choose toys through the online catalogue of your local Okapi toy library. Toy collections differ between toy libraries.
- First, select the toy library of your choice on the locations page. A toy library can have multiple collection/returning points, each with their own time schedule. Selecting any of these will bring you to the catalogue of the respective toy library upon proceeding to the ‘pick toys’ step.
- Second, login to the catalogue website of the selected toy library with the account information provided with your membership confirmation.
- Third, select the toys of your liking, indicate pickup and return date. You can use the toys for a maximum of four weeks.
Be aware that you cannot borrow toys that are on loan during the selected time frame and that we need some time to process your order. Your toy-package is ready for pickup when we confirmed your order has been processed.
Collecting & returning toys
You can collect your toys at all locations of your local Okapi toy library during its regular opening hours. We will bring your toys to any of these locations during one week starting from the indicated pick up time. You thus have one week to collect them. Please be aware that our collection moments are limited to a few hours, about one to three times a week for each location. Make sure to check in advance which collection-moment would be most convenient for you. We will have your toys ready in a reusable bag so you can easily transport them. Please bring a re-usable bag for us as a substitute, or to repack your reserved toys. You can return your toys at any location, on the indicated drop-off time, or any time before that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Everyone over 18 years old or parent/guardian of a child can become a member. The only thing we ask is that you honor and sign our Membership and rental agreement. It does not matter where you are from or whether you are legally residing in this country. If you are less than 18 years old, you can participate in our lending service through a parent or adult guardian.
You can sign up through the website or at your local toy library. We ask your name, address and contact information. You will also have to read and sign the Membership and Rental Agreement. Once you signed up, you can start borrowing toys at your local toy library. Once your membership has been fully processed you can start reserving toys through the online catalogue. We will verify your information when you borrow toys for the first time. Please bring some form of ID with you, preferentially including your address information.
The Membership and Rental Agreement stipulate the conditions for Okapi Toy library membership and loans. The most important things are:
You can become a member from the age of 18 or if you have a child. You decide what you pay for your membership.
You can lend up to 4 pieces per family, or 2 per child. Borrowing toys is always free.
The loan period is 1 to 4 weeks.
You can reserve toys through the website. Come and get it at the specified time and place.
You are responsible for the proper use of the toy by anyone who has access to it.
The toys are for personal use. Commercial or professional activities are not allowed.
Take care of the toys. Please return them clean, undamaged and complete. Check them with a toy library employee.
If something is dirty, damaged, or incomplete, you get the chance to fix it yourself before any fines are given.
The memberships available through the website and at the toy library are meant for private, and not professional, use. At this moment we do not offer a professional membership, but if you are interested, please come and talk to us. We are open to discuss and set up such accounts in the future.
Collecting and returning toys
You can collect your toys at the location and moment you indicated when making the online reservation. At that point you are able to choose collection and returning date and place out of all possible options. There are several locations, each with their own time schedule. You can find addresses and opening hours on our locations page. We will have your toys ready in a reusable bag so you can easily transport them. Please bring a re-usable bag for us as a substitute, or to repack your reserved toys.
You can return the borrowed toys at all locations of your local Okapi toy library at any given time during opening hours. We ask you to return toys on or before the indicated return-date, which is – at the latest – four weeks from the collection date.
Exceptionally, you might be able to extend the borrowing period with an additional four weeks upon contacting your local toy library. In that case, you can hand in your toys at any time during the extended eight-week period.
We expect toys to be returned within four weeks after you borrowed them. We do understand that live sometimes takes its own ways and interrupts perfect plans. Please contact your local toy library to inform them of the delay. They will help you to find a solution that minimizes the inconvenience for all parties involved (you, the next borrowers, and the toy library).
Yes. We really would like to avoid giving fines, but as toy reservations depend on people returning toys in time, we really do need them back at the indicated time. Therefore we are currently experimenting with a system based on fines. Currently, it’s 1 EUR/item/week you are late.
That is a pity. We would love for you to play with our toys. Please think about locations and times that would work for you and contact us with a suggestion for an additional collection point. We cannot promise we will open one immediately, setting up a new location takes a lot of effort, but we will see what we can do.
Maybe you can start one? Just kidding. But if you are interested in doing so, we have everything to start your own Okapi toy library adventure.
We are always looking to spread the love. Please tell us where you live and why an Okapi toy library in your neighborhood would be super fragilistic expialidocious and we will try to move some stones and, who knows, get one going. Warning: we might ask some additional questions.
Yes. SpeelBieb Genk has a play area and toy storage room. You can check out the locations page for more information about a location’s services. The location pointers on the map indicate whether there is a play area, an accessible storage room, or toy selection and reservation is online-only.
Breathe in, breathe out. Accidents happen. Maybe you can repair it? Or find some replacement for the missing pieces? Let us know what happened. If you need more time to fix it, we can try to extend the borrowing period.
Yes. We want to avoid fines as much as possible, but we also have to ensure we are able to lend out an extensive collection of quality toys. Before we talk about fines, you get the change to fix the issue. If you cannot, we ask you to contribute a small amount of money for non-essential missing or broken parts (2 EUR/non-essential part). If the missing or broken part is essential for playing, we ask you to donate a similar replacement toy, or refund the toy at it’s current value (toys are devalued with age). The toy librarian will be able to tell you how to handle this.
For a detailed explanation, see our Cleaning policy.
We clean every toy thoroughly once every year. We do this by hand, dishwasher, or sonicator. Most waterproof toys, especially those with small or difficult to reach parts (e.g. Lego, PlayMobil), go into our sonicator. During treatment, toys are submersed in a waterbath and subjected to ultrasound waves. This technique allows removing dirt particles from the entire surface, even the inaccessible parts, and eradicates 99.9% of germs. All other waterproof toys are treated with a dishwasher on a hot program. This means toys are exposed to detergents and temperatures over 70°C, which kill the majority of germs. We wipe water-sensitive toys (wooden toys, board games, puzzles) with disinfectant.
You can wipe our toys with disinfectant at the beginning of the lending period. We further expect members to clean the toy thoroughly in case of accidents with severe soiling or confirmed coronavirus cases within the household. Upon their notification, we put the toy through an additional cleaning round at our facilities.
Upon return toys are checked for damage and cleanliness. In case we notice a toy is dirty, we will ask the borrower to give it an additional cleaning round or do so ourselves. However, it is not our standard way of operating to clean toys in between lending periods. Our cleaning system ensures even the most heavily-borrowed toys are cleaned thoroughly after about 10 lending periods.
Please notify us of the soiling and the severity thereof. Include pictures if possible. You can return the toy for a thorough cleaning. As we do not have the manpower to take care of these issues immediately, this means the end of the borrowing period for this toy. In case of minor issues, you can clean the toy yourself and continue the lending period. You can find cleaning instructions for most toys inside or on their packaging.
Please clean the toy as well as possible. Upon returning the toy, inform our volunteers of the soiling and the measures you took. They’ll decide whether we give the toy another, more thorough, cleaning round with our cleaning products and equipment.
Yes. We expect you to clean the toys in case they are abnormally soiled. If you cannot, we ask you to contribute 2 EUR / soiled toy.
We accept all gently-used toys. Please do not buy new toys to donate, but give away the ones you do not need or bought second-hand. This way we give toys the life they deserve.
Yes. If they are in good condition. They however do not go to our toy collection, but are given away at special occasions or sold in our second hand corners at our locations or through the website.