Lincoln Heights is the place for toys and tacos

Lincoln Heights Toy Library draws a crowd in front of taco restaurant | John King

LINCOLN HEIGHTS — With Little Free Libraries seeming to pop up all over the place, John King and Therese Garcia decided that their neighborhood could benefit from the same concept. But instead of  books,  the Lincoln Heights couple decided to focus on toys. So, after getting permission from the owners of Tacos Chapalita, the Toy Library of Lincoln Heights opened on Saturday in front of the restaurant on North Broadway near Johnston Street. “This has been a huge success, and the local kids walk away with massive smiles,” King said.

King said his wife made the toy library from a beat up cabinet she found on a street in Echo Park. While the idea is to have the kids eventually return the toys, the couple has been busy restocking the nearly empty cabinet at the end of the day with donations from friends and family. King said the couple could use some help to keep the Lincoln Heights Toy Library is to stay in business.  He asks that the public stop by and leave a toy, with action figures and items for boys  in short supply.

The couple is now working on a lending library with a Lincoln theme and a media library with CDs, DVDs and video games, he said.

Photo courtesy John King

Top of the toy library | John King


  1. It is a nice idea, but people sell used toys in this area all day long on the corners and side streets. This box has been cleaned out almost as soon as it is filled with toys. My cynical imagination tells me that people are taking all the toys and selling them at their ad hoc garage sales, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing it is just not in the spirit of this box (I imagine).

  2. Thanks for commenting, U. Brayj. Therese and I kinda had the same thought starting out. For a moment we were worried that the Toy Library would be plundered or even vandalized, but we set those cynical thoughts aside and moved forward full-steam.

    Now we’re two weeks in and I can tell you how it’s going. On the vandalism side, there’s been no graffiti, no tagging. Some of the little display toys (like Gandhi!) went missing, but my favorites weren’t touched. As far as folks taking toys to sell at garage sales, we can’t track every toy that passes through, but it’s safe to say most are enjoyed by children. Just look at the happy kids in the photos! We’ve also seen young kids walking Broadway holding toys from the Toy Library, and parents have told us they’re teaching their kids to return their toys to the Toy Library.

    And more good news…Bank of America has given the ok for us to install a Media Library at the Lincoln Heights Branch! We just have to work out a few details, but you can see the momentum is picking up. As you know, for these projects to really work, the borrowers need to return the items and even bring in their own contributions. I am confident Lincoln Heights we make this happen.

  3. I believe the library happened outside CVS on Broadway: pic.twitter.com/Lb6vhr3pm4
    I have a few books to contribute!

  4. They also set one up last night in front of the Bank of America on Broadway.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *