Caulfield Community Toy Library Annual General Meeting 12th March 2019
Just when we thought 2017 was the biggest year for the Toy Library, 2018 came along and trumped it! We had another incredibly prosperous year for the Toy Library and as a result our memberships reached an all time high. Meanwhile we were full steam ahead making multiple improvements to the Toy Library and enhancing our toy collection whilst making new friends and babies along the way!
Here’s what we got up to...
At the Toy Library
We’ve continued to make magnificent transformations at the Toy Library, by adding in new shelving to over 50% of the collection. This has enabled our toys to be hung and allows us to present toys in a better way whilst fitting more toys in the library.
Firstly we tackled the Games section which was too chaotic for most members to browse and saw minimal numbers of games being borrowed. New shelving was purchased and 120 games were re-bagged, labelled, photographed and re-catalogued making it easier for members to find suitable and age appropriate games. We are now seeing a significant uplift in the number of games being borrowed as a result.
Following on from the Games section we re-shelved the Imaginative play section. The imaginative play section was split into new sub categories to make it easier for members to comprehend and browse. A total of 300 toys were re-catalogued and re-bagged. The old shelving was moved into the garage and outside areas to enable additional storage for our larger toys.
Our entire accessories section was re-bagged, photographed and refreshed.
We implemented a new shelving area behind the loans desk which enables toys during the open sessions to be hung behind the loans desk, rather than being put on the floor - a previous OH&S nightmare! New members can also join via laptop on the bench.
We bid farewell and thanked Christine our dedicated co-ordinator of four years and welcomed our new co-ordinator Eleanor - who had been volunteering at the toy library on Wednesday nights for 6 months. Eleanor has been bursting with new enthusiasm and energy, and is doing a fantastic job at running our open sessions. It’s been great to employ a volunteer who was so engaged & passionate about the Toy Library.
Eleanor organised our first stocktake since 2015. Which was a tremendous hands on effort by the whole committee. Our entire collection of 2,200 toys were checked against our system. As a result we now have an accurate online record of toys in the Toy Library.
At the end of 2018 our membership reached an all time high of 330 members, a significant increase of 43% yoy. We conducted a 2018 survey which saw that overall our members were happy with the service and collection at the Toy Library, with 65% of members planning on renewing their membership. The survey also helped us understand areas which we can improve on.
Some encouraging responses were:
“We think you are doing a great job and providing a great service to the community. Thank you.”
“We love the toy library! Keep up the good work!”
"I find something different each time I visit. the new bags are great and the refresh of the toy cards looks really good."
Some recommended ideas for improvement were:
“Limit the number of toy renewals people can do so that toys can more available for other members.”
"I would suggest the coordination and committee have a look at the range of toys available - things that really stand out include a larger musical instruments section, craft section, baby activity mats, larger range of ride on, walker and bike/car section. (This could be due to the size of building and space available.)"
“being able to rent more toys at extra cost.”
Our Toy Collection
Our Toy Collection was continuously reviewed and revamped throughout the year and currently comprises of 2,200 toys. We added 540 new toys throughout the year, 290 of these being new toys and 250 donations. We are continually reviewing, repairing and refreshing our toys, which has a dedicated team of volunteers on Wednesday nights working on this to help improve the overall quality of toys in the collection.
We continued to photograph our toys and upload them to our online catalogue. At the start of the year 420 toys didn’t have images and we now only have have 54 without images. A tremendous effort, and we are hoping to ensure that by the end of 2019 all our toys will have images, enabling our members to browse the entire range online.
100% of toys in our collection have new labels and new bags, which has made a significant enhancement to the presentation of our toys. Members can now see the image of the toy on the bag label, and the new bags help make the toys look fresh and appealing.
Continuing to purchase new toys is going to be a key priority for 2019, specifically active toys (as requested in our survey), along with ensuring that the current collection is quality. Our significant increase in members will also start to see us purchasing more multiples of toys to ensure that members can get access to these.
Marketing & Promotions
We spread the word of our Toy Library at Mothers group talks throughout the year. Presenting to new mothers our new A3 display folder which contains all of our toy collections, party packs and open hours. These were also used at our events.
We continued to promote the Toy Library through our social media channels by posting engaging imagery and videos of new toys, events and behind the scenes on Facebook and Instagram. Our Instagram channel has 467 followers which is 26% up yoy and our Facebook channel has 280 followers which is 18% up yoy. Our website also continues to be updated with all our latest news and events throughout the year. We added in a new party park booking form to the website to streamline the booking process.
We had another incredibly successful annual Stay & Play Day where we signed up 14 new members, this was on par with our previous year. There was plenty of activity with the roller coasters and our outdoor toys on display, as well as sensory play with coloured spaghetti & Playdoh.
We participated in the Party in the Park event, which was great to raise awareness and we managed to sign up 6 new members on the day - a record breaker for this event.
Fundraising & Grants
We were successful with 3 grant applications/fundraisers over the year these were:
Glen Eira Community Services Grant - Purchased new toys & shelving
Forest Hill Grant - Purchased new toys for children with learning difficulties. We created a book which outlines toys in our collection which can be used for children with learning difficulties, and enabled us to give away 2 memberships to families who had children with learning difficulties.
Party packs continue to be a key revenue driver for us, and are crucial to funding our toy library. We swapped out old pieces and replaced with new pieces throughout the year, which has helped maintain the quality of the Party Packs. All new chairs were also purchased.
A special thank you goes to all of our committee and volunteers who have donated a substantial amount of their time to achieve all that we have over the past year.
In no particular order a BIG THANK YOU must go to the following:
Elena our toy catalogue co-ordinator who volunteers every Wednesday night and catalogued the new and donated toys throughout the year.
Jeffrey, Joanna & Sophie, our non member volunteers who volunteered on Wednesday nights with me to get through hundreds of re-cataloguing, bagging, photographing, contacting, laminating, assembling and finding missing pieces for our toys.
Megan, our Secretary who has been absolutely indispensable and handles all the admin components of the Toy Library and party pack bookings. She has also gone beyond her role by helping out at numerous events.
Melissa our Treasurer who has managed all of our finances and reports throughout the year. She has also worked beyond the role of treasurer helping out with additional tasks.
Sophie our Vice President who has been great with being hands on throughout the year with our events and updates in the Toy Library whilst being pregnant and with a newborn.
Pia our media officer - Also, despite having a baby, Pia has helped out with Grant writing, emails for donations and ongoing social media.
Lisa our Publicity and promotions manager and her husband Adam who helped with our shelving installations and Stocktake.
Christina our duty roster co-ordinator who helped ensure our duty roster was full for the open sessions.
Bob, our longest standing committee member of 17 years! For being so reliable and popping up in times of need to help with shelving, events and BBQs.
Nat our events co-ordinator - who helped with our Open Day during the year.
Gabby our Grants Officer for writing our Grant applications, and so far we have been successful with her submissions!
Kim, who attends all our maternal health talks and helps to spread the word about the Toy Library.
Ted our toy repairs and BBQ coordinator - Despite stepping down from the committee half way through the year, Ted helped out with lots of the shelving installations and toy repairs, and also was awarded a community volunteer award during the year.
Megan who covered Christine's maternity leave and brought a plethora of Toy Library knowledge along with her. Christine who worked as our Co-ordinator from 2014 to 2018 and was adored by our members.
Eleanor our new Co-ordinator. Someone who is as obsessed with the Toy Library as me! Eleanor has been keen to get involved with anything and everything and it’s been so great having her on board to run our open sessions.
So, onwards and upwards for 2019! It’s already shaping up to be another prosperous year and I am super excited about the year ahead.
Our focus will be
Extending our toy range
Increasing our committee numbers
Rebranding our name and logo
Training and sourcing non member volunteers
Building on our social media presence
Continuing to market the toy library through events & PR
I’m grateful that we have new committee members and volunteers joining us in 2019 and I encourage and warmly welcome more community members to share their existing skills or learn a new set of skills to enable the continuation of the Toy Library service; whether it be embracing a role on the committee or undertaking individual tasks to experience how rewarding and enjoyable a committee role can be.
Leonie Cavagna President, Caulfield Community Toy Library