Carnegie Toy Library Annual General Meeting 10th March 2020
2019 was an incredible year of triumph and victory for the Toy Library. We saved our Toy Library from the wrecking ball and came back stronger than ever with a whole new identity.
We saved the Toy Library!
We saved our toy library by driving a successful campaign which enabled us to stay in our current premises. The council had proposed to remove the current Toy Library from its current location, without any prior consultation. Without a firm indication of where we would be relocated, we opposed the draft masterplan. Our committee attended numerous council meetings to discuss the importance of our current location. The current location is ideal for the ongoing operations of the toy library, so it can continue to provide the best service and support to the families of Glen Eira.
As a result of the committee’s campaign which also had over 500 signatures from the public supporting the current location, articles in the local newspaper, banners on display at the toy library and posters circulated throughout cafes and centres in Carnegie the council agreed to keep us in our current location.
We changed our trading name to Carnegie Toy Library Inc. This decision, supported by a unanimous vote at a Special General Meeting held on October 8, represents a long-planned move to remedy years of confusion arising from the conflict between our current name and our location in the heart of Carnegie at Koornang Park.
As we know, the toy library has been based in Carnegie – not Caulfield – for many years. For years we have found that the use of ‘Caulfield’ in our name confuses potential members and supporters, and is also a point of confusion when we are advertising events, seeking local sponsors and volunteers, and applying for grants.
Following the name change we collaborated with Monash University Design students to create a new identity. The team created our new branding, which is essentially made up of Meccano pieces. The students thought that the interlocking parts - inspired by Meccano & construction toys - really connect with the community ethos of the Toy Library organisation. The students felt like the Library is made up of all these greats parts and this was the basis for the logo. We absolutely love what they have created from both a conceptual and visual perspective and have rolled it out across all of our marketing collateral and signage.
At the Toy Library
We continued to replace old shelving inside the toy library in the vehicles & construction zones. We will continue to look at more ways of shelving and storing our growing collection at the toy library in 2020.
We introduced new stand up desks, which not only look amazing, but are ergonomically sound, allowing members to check in and out toys without having to bend over! Much easier on the back! We also added in a new ball shelving, which easily provides access to all of our balls.
Our membership numbers remained steady and currently sit at 330 members.
Our Toy Collection
Our Toy Collection was worked on extensively throughout the year through consolidating older toys and refreshing with new toys currently comprises of 2,500 toys. We added 620 new toys throughout the year, 370 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.
Our shelves are now overflowing with new toys, and we will continue to focus on making our collection more concise in 2020 to ensure that members are easily able to browse the collection.
Our entire collection of toys is now photographed, which has been a 3 year project. A tremendous effort, which enables our members to browse the entire range online.
Consolidating our collection is going to be a key priority for 2020 to ensure that the current collection is quality and unpopular toys are moved on. We also made a conscious effort to purchase multiples of the same toy in 2019 to allow members to get access to more popular toys.
Marketing & Promotions
We spread the word of our Toy Library at Mothers group talks throughout the year and held an information stall at the Bunnings family day. We continued to promote the Toy Library through our social media channels by posting engaging imagery of new toy arrivals, events and behind the scenes on Facebook and Instagram.
For the first time we have had a dedicated committee member for social media, which has been great. Our Instagram channel has 686 followers which is 30% up yoy and our Facebook channel has 433 followers which is 35% up yoy.
Our website continues to be updated with all our latest news and events throughout the year. We created a new toy education section which includes articles such as Great toys for language development, The benefits of playing with toys, The benefits of board games & How to encourage imaginative play.
Our committee member Gemma, a Speech Pathologist had an article published in Mama Mag for Five Great toys for language development. Whilst our media office Pia had an article about Party Packs Time to Party also published with Mama Mag.
We participated in the Nappy collective for the first time and managed to collect and donate unused nappies to assist affected families in caring for their children.
We had another incredibly successful annual Open Day where we signed up 12 new members, and was on par with our previous year. We increased the activities with a huge amount of sensory play such as coloured rice, cloud dough, colouring station, pasta making stations, coloured spaghetti & Playdoh. All of our high popular toy items were also on display.
We participated in Party in the Park, which was great to raise awareness and we managed to sign up 5 new members on the day - which was also on par with the previous year.
Fundraising & Grants
We were successful with 5 grant applications and held 4 fundraising initiatives.
Volunteers grant - New iPads
Real Estate grant - New stand up desks
Glen Eira Community Services grant - Active toys
Bendigo Bank Community grant - STEM toys
Stronger Communities Katie Allen grant - STEM toys
Two Bunnings BBQs - funds for the day to day running of the toy library
Xmas raffle - new toys
Grilled Community fundraiser - New branded aprons
Party packs continue to be a key revenue driver for us, and are crucial to funding our toy library. We are currently in the process of refreshing the games pack and introducing a new sports pack, to be finalised in 2020.
A special thank you goes to all of our committee members and volunteers who have donated a substantial amount of time to achieve all that we have over the past year.
In no particular order a BIG THANK YOU must go to the following:
Claire, our Secretary who has been passionately involved with the Toy library, across a number of initiatives and also very active with the Save our TL campaign.
Gemma, our social media coordinator and everything in between. Picking up fundraising & grant applications along the way!
Melissa & Nikki our treasurer/s who has managed all of our finances and reports throughout the year.
Sophie our Vice President (& her dad!) who have been great with being hands on throughout the year with our events, our Save our TL campaign, helping on Wednesday nights and filling in where needed.
Pia our media officer - For driving the ‘save our toy library’ campaign and helping keep us in our current premises.
Eleanor our coordinator. It’s been so great having you as our enthusiastic Co-ordinator and feeding back to the committee lots of insights about our members and the toy library.
Elena our toy catalogue co-ordinator who volunteers every Wednesday night and catalogued the new and donated toys throughout the year.
Pey our BBQ co-ordinator who has brilliantly picked up the BBQs at the new bunnings location despite having a newborn!
Jo our duty roster coordinator who helped ensure our duty roster was full for the open sessions.
Gabby our Grants Officer for writing our Grant applications.
Kim, who attends all our maternal health talks and helps to spread the word about the Toy Library.
Daniel, who has been helping out with our toy repairs.
Last but not least,
Bob, our longest standing committee member of 18 years! For still popping in and helping out where he can with our toy repairs.
So what’s in store for 2020?
We are hoping to continue our momentum for 2020, where we can really start to shine with our new identity and branding. It’s already shaping up to be another prosperous year and I am super excited about what the future brings.
Our focus will be
Consolidating our toy range
Extending our Party Pack offering
Maintaining our committee numbers
Training and sourcing non member volunteers
Continuing to market the toy library through events & PR
Grant applications and fundraising
I’m grateful that we have new committee members and volunteers joining us in 2020 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, Carnegie Toy Library