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Denver Toy Library feels the pinch of new lead limits for toys

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When Congress ratcheted up restrictions on lead and other harmful chemicals in children's toys last year, it was a victory for child safety. But the move has proven challenging for a beloved Denver institution and repeated Best of Denver winner: The Northwest Denver Toy Library, located in the basement of Smiley Branch Library, 4501 West 46th Avenue.

Denver's one and only toy library has been in service since 1980, letting pint-sized library-card holders borrow toys for free several times a week -- and now it could be facing its biggest shake-up.

Toy Library volunteers have lately been hard at work contacting the manufacturers of all 400 of its toys to see if the items meet the new federal safety standards. Since some of the toys don't -- and some of the manufacturers can't be determined -- possibly up to three-quarters of the library's treasures will have to be tossed.

To replace those toys, the all-volunteer institution is turning to the community. The library has set up wish lists at Target (List ID 012399101254839) and Walmart (First name "Toy," last name "Library"). Tastes Wine Bar & Bistro, at 4267 Tennyson Street is also hosting an ongoing fundraiser, Wine for Toys, in which anyone who brings in a new toy, game or puzzle exceeding $20 for the library will get a free glass of vino. On December 12, the last day of the fundraiser, Tastes will also be offering lunch specials to raise money for the Toy Library. For other wish lists, keep an eye on the Toy Library's website.

This holiday season, a donation to the Toy Library really will be a gift that keeps on giving.

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