This is 300-word reflection on the Toy Libraries Australia Seminar and AGM.
Toy Libraries Australia Seminar and AGM was held on Sunday 26 May 2013. I went to this seminar because I am a volunteer and committee member of the Broadmeadows Toy Library.
The seminar was well organised with lunch, morning and afternoon tea provided. During the AGM, the reason why they changed their name from Toy Libraries Victoria to Toy Libraries Australia was discussed. The old executive was re elected with five new general committee members.
Toy Libraries in Australia are usually small and do not have large reserves of money to buy toys. Toy Libraries Australia came up with an idea to establish the Toy Community to consolidated the buying power of toy libraries in order to buy toys at wholesale prices.
The benefits are:
- Cheaper prices
- Budgets go further
- Stop toy libraries wasting money on toys unsuitable for toy library use
- Access to spare parts
- Reduce staff time searching for the best toy prices
During the day, I attended three workshops on a variety of topics, including
Toy Library Software –MiBase
MiBase – database management system designed for toy libraries. This workshop discussed the new Version 8 which will be:
- Stand alone – no access to the internet
- Half Hosted – only storing some of the database onto MiBase server
- Full Hosted – completely storing the whole database onto MiBase server
The advantages of the fully hosted version are:
- You have access to your database 24/7
- Online catalogue – this will allow members to browse the catalogue
- MiBase looks after your database for you
New features are:
- Emailing newsletters
- Different levels of access to the database.
Finances, Employment and Legal Matters
The Office Manager of Toy Libraries Australia discussed best practice financial procedures for all toy libraries to follow and provided fact sheets on the following:
- How to handle money, which covered the topics of day to day handling of money; collection of money; account records; petty cash; grants; donations; fundraising and cash payments
- How to pay employees, which covered the topics of contracts; needs of new employees; federal government requirements; annual obligations and state requirements
Workshop also discuss the role Toy Libraries Australia has on the behalf of all toy libraries to talk to insurance companies to get the best possible price for insurance.
Toys for Special Needs Children
The President of the Frankston Toy Library talked about setting up of the Learn Together Program for special needs children. Learn Together Program provides books and toys for both children as well as information to support the parents. They have also provided an area in the Frankston Toy Library to allow support groups of special needs children to meet in comfort.
This wonderful initiative was generated by the President who started the planning process, toy selection and getting the necessary funding. What a wonderful way of supporting not only the special needs children, but the parents as well.
I learnt so much about the role Toy Libraries have in the community. I also learned about the wonderful work that the Toy Libraries Australia Committee does for all the toy libraries. I really enjoyed the three workshops I attended as they provided me with more information about the following:
- Financial information
- Learn Together Program for special needs children.
The seminar was well presented and everyone who attended had fun.