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History of TLASA

Our association has been in existence and working under various names since the 1990’s. Cynthia Morrison, a toy library pioneer in South Africa, kindly wrote an article for us about the earlier years of TLASA – you can read it here.

Below is a short timeline of our history:

1993: – The association was established as “The South African Toy and Leisure Libraries Association” – SATLLA (ran by volunteers)
1997: – Roma Lear (Toy librarian and author from London) presented “Making toys for children with special needs” workshops across the country
2001: – SATLLA hosted the 1st National Toy Library Conference
– Name changed to ALL-SA (Active Learning Libraries South Africa)
– ALL-SA was registered as a non-profit organisation
2002: – In Sept ALL-SA participated in World Summit on Sustainable Development
2003: – Received first funding from Jim Joel Education and Training Fund 2nd National Toy Library Conference in Stellenbosch.
– Established Toy Library Training and Resource Centre in Johannesburg
2005: – The 10th International Toy Library Conference was held in South Africa – 275 delegates from 26 countries attended.
– 3rd National Toy Library Conference held concurrently with International Toy Library Conference.
– ALL-SA registered as Public Benefit Organisation with SARS under Section 18A
2004: – 4th National Toy Library Conference, Randburg
2008: – ALL-SA staff member delivered a presentation at the 11th International Toy Library conference in Paris
2010: – 5th National Toy Library Conference held in Randburg
2012: – 6th National Toy Library Conference. The focus was “Low cost toys:  how to use them, how to make them”
Due to financial constraints, ALL-SA was forced to close towards the end of 2012.  Rather than lose the services of this valuable organisation, Cotlands offered to take over as the custodian of toy libraries. At that time Cotlands was phasing out its residential care programmes and expanding it non-centre based early learning services. They understood the valuable role toy libraries play in providing access to early learning opportunities, particularly in marginalised communities. ALL-SA was relaunched in 2013 under the name of COTLASA, but this was changed to TLASA – the toy library association of South Africa some time later.  
2013:– TLASA introduced quarterly toy library seminars where toy librarians and related professionals come together to network and share ideas
– Promoted World Play Day with the theme “Making sense of play”
2014:– Promoted World Play Day, celebrating “The right to play”
– Hosted quarterly toy library seminars in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KZN
2015: – Participated in the first ever Play conference in South Africa to promote the importance of play, TLASA set up a mobile toy library display at the conference.
– Promoted “Play is fun” as the theme for World Play Day 2015
– Hosted quarterly toy library seminars in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, WC, EC and KZN
– Monica Stach from Cotlands/TLASA elected to the board of ITLA
2016:– Celebrated World Play Day – “Play through the ages”
– Hosted quarterly toy library seminars in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, WC, EC and KZN
– Participated in the 2nd Play Conference organised by Cotlands, UNICEF, DBE and LEGO Foundation
2017: – Sent a delegation to attend the international toy library conference hosted by ITLA in Leiden, Holland.
– Celebrated World Play Day with the theme “Sustainable play”
– Hosted quarterly toy library seminars in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, WC, EC and KZN
2018:– Formed an interim steering committee to initiate and manage the process of registering TLASA as an independent, multi-stakeholder NPO
– Hosted quarterly toy library seminars in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, WC, EC and KZN
– Celebrated World Play Day – Free play”