President’s Report for 2016

How we work 

The Warrandyte Toy Library is a not for profit community run group providing a toy borrowing service for children aged six months to early primary. We are self funded through volunteer service, membership fees, donations and levies. We have an elected Committee of Management that is comprised of volunteers. Members have access to over 670 toys which can be borrowed for up to 3 weeks at a time. We currently have a small number of committee members and openers that manage each borrowing session.  At each session, they are supported by a general member who volunteers to assist in the borrowing and return of toys as part of their membership.

Challenges 

2016 has continued to be a challenging year for the Toy Library, as several committee roles remained vacant; leaving a team of four to carry out the roles of seven or more positions. We are grateful that we have two new committee members joining us in 2017. We encourage other members to consider joining us at our monthly meetings to see how rewarding and enjoyable a committee role can be. If general members are hesitant about taking on a role because they’re unsure of its requirements, shadowing an existing committee member may provide the confidence needed to consider taking on a committee role in 2018. It is our hope that this great community asset thrives both now and into the future; one that can only be sustained by the generosity of our community. Our efforts to relocate the Toy Library to a more spacious and central area were unsuccessful this year. 

Our achievements 

Our Toy Library storeroom has been overhauled with improvements in both layout, categorisation and accessibility. Our January stocktake focused on our baby toys and an audit of our stock was conducted prior to researching and purchasing over $1500 worth of new toys, puzzles and games; all of which were selected to suit a range of different age groups and to promote a variety of skills. Several instruction sheets were designed and laminated to assist borrowers in identifying how playing with the toy would benefit their child. These also provided instructions for its use and acted as a visual aid to assist in determining the contents of each borrowed item. These toys were labelled, placed in appropriate storage containers, catalogued and then entered into circulation via our new online borrowing system. We have continued to market our Toy Library throughout the year through the Warrandyte Toy Library Website, Facebook page, word of mouth and flyers. We continue to provide talks to Maternal and Child Health Centres in Manningham which have enabled us to welcome a number of additional members to the Toy Library in 2016. Our membership number at the end of our 2016 year stands at 39. 

Acknowledgements 

Whilst the committee members of 2016 have contributed many hours to the Toy Library throughout the year, particular thanks must be given to Phillipa Huynh who has utilised her network and personal skill set to not only improve the efficiency of the Toy Library and accessibility to the stock, but to arrange for the transition of the Toy Library management system to an online system. We would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Blydie, Kim and Melissa who supported her in achieving these goals. Her dedication to the Warrandyte Toy Library has been outstanding, as she has juggled career development, part time work and a family with carrying out duties of three or more committee roles for the duration of 2016.

Thank you to all our new and continuing members who have demonstrated their support of the Toy Library through the care of our toys, their cleanly and prompt return, and ongoing support of our openers in managing borrowing sessions. 

We would also like to thank the businesses and community organisations who have supported us in the last year, including Melissa Makin and Rebecca Ryan ( SETLS director and co-director),  Manningham Maternal and Child Health, Toodlebug Toys of Chirnside Park, John Roberts & Associates (Accounting firm), ParisottoDesigns and the office of Warrandyte’s member of state; Ryan Smith MP. 

A special thank you goes to all the committee members and openers who have also donated a substantial amount of their time (individually, in the community, at meetings and on site) to ensure that children have access to quality toys and that the operation of the toy library continues. 

Future Directions

We would 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. Next year we aim to continue to make positive changes based on the feedback of our members and in accordance with our policies, ensure that we are best meeting the community’s needs. We aim to increase our number of committee members, our general toy library membership base as well as the number of volunteer openers. Most importantly, we will continue to strive to provide children with the opportunity to access a wide variety of toys which encourage skills at each phase of development in their early childhood through play.

Meaghan King
President, Warrandyte Toy Library