Monday, March 28, 2016

Next Book Ideas Openings: April-August 2016

Please see below for our complete schedule of openings and events in spring/summer 2016!

"Spring Books" by Rebecca Cobb

Saturday, April 2 

Saturday, April 9 
Women in the Catholic Church”: 
a talk by Vera Markert at 3pm 

Saturday, April 16 
Spring Tales”: storytelling with Lily at 3pm 

Sunday, April 24 

Saturday, April 30 

Sunday, May 8 

Saturday, May 28 
"Childhood in the GDR": 
a talk about growing up in former East Germany 
by Reiner Büter at 3pm 

Book Ideas will be closed for summer vacation from the end of May until mid-August

4月: 2日 (土), 9日 (土) 16日 (土), 24日 (日), 30日 (土) 
5月: 8日 (日), 28日 (土) 午前10時から午後5時まで

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Egg Painting on Sunday, March 27

Join us at 3pm this coming Sunday for our annual Easter egg painting event. 

Eggs will be provided. Anyone can come to paint, decorate, and dye!

We will be open from 3pm until late

Monday, March 21, 2016

Updated Checkout Procedure

We have recently updated our checkout procedure. Read on for information about how long you can keep books, where and how to return them, and what to do if your items are overdue! 

The "Checkout Procedure" will also be permanently accessible on the blog under the "Important Pages" column on the bottom right-hand side of the screen.

Checkout Procedure - 本等を借りる手順の説明 

As of January 16, 2016, Book Ideas has around 2,777 titles available for checkout. 


At first checkout you must register in our sign-up book. This serves two purposes: with your permission you are added to our mailing list, enabling me to send you announcements about our opening dates. Secondly, I can contact you in case a book is not returned.


As of the 8th Annual General Meeting on February 27, 2016, the following changes are in effect. 
  • Materials may be borrowed for up to six months
  • If the item has not been returned after this time, users must contact Birgit by phone or email! 
  • Users are asked to return the materials to Book Ideas on an opening day OR 
  • to the return box on the veranda at the side of house at any time OR
  • to Birgit’s apartment, either in the mailbox or at the door
Thank you!

"Mottainai" with Book Ideas

On Sunday, March 20 we held our very first Recycle Event!

We are glad that many well-loved, secondhand items and books found new homes.

Please keep checking the blog for updates on the date of our next Recycle Event.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Next Book Ideas Openings: March and April, 2016

We are starting the spring with a series of special events and presentations!

Please join us on the following dates:

Sunday, March 20
Special Spring Recycle Event
*All day, rain or shine

Sunday, March 27
Easter egg painting at 3pm
*Open from 3pm until late

Saturday, April 2

Saturday, April 9
Women in the Catholic Church”: 
a talk by Vera Markert at 3pm 

Saturday, April 16
Spring Tales”: storytelling with Lily at 3pm

3: rain or shine 20(), 27()
4: 2日 (), 9日 () 16日 (),

Friday, March 11, 2016

Minutes of 8th Annual General Meeting on February 27, 2016

Thank you for supporting us during yet another year of Book Ideas! And thank you to everyone who attended the 8th Annual General Meeting and/or provided us with feedback about our service. Please read on for a summary of our discussion at the meeting. 

The Minutes will also be permanently accessible on the blog under the "Important Pages" column on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. 


Minutes of the 8th Book Ideas Annual General Meeting February 27, 2016

Report on the last 3.5 years of operation
Last meeting on 8/25/12 

Present: 6 members, 3 users, 1 visitor 

- Contrary to past years, neither agenda nor “Suggestions for Feedback” form sent out 
- A questionnaire hand-delivered to 14 and sent by mail to 3 members, emailed to all users, and posted on 16 filled-out questionnaires received 
- All members, users and presenters thanked for supporting Book Ideas, displaying and handing out our flyers, sharing snacks and helping in various other ways. Particular thanks to: Masako Kikuchi for always being there, making newcomers feel welcome, explaining Book Ideas in Japanese, and spreading the word among her many contacts; Mine Serizawa for maintaining our blog and brainstorming about the new Book Ideas; Hiroko Maekawa for “Otsuchi: Before & After”, Dorna for “Inner Mongolia”, Masako Kikuchi for “On a Recent Trip to Israel”, Yumi Sakamoto for “Tonga”, Ros Lam for “Australia”, Becky Kikuchi for “Halloween Stories”, and Toshi Serizawa for “South Sudan” 

Opening dates and times; venue

- Open a total of 108 times since Book Ideas started on August 19, 2006 
- Open only 12 times between August 25, 2012 and July 11, 2015, mostly on Saturdays from 10am to 5pm 
- Already open 26 times since opening at the new location on July 11, 2015 
- Usually held at Momijigaoka Bunka Center and occasionally in our apartment or community room of the apartment building at Momijigaoka 2-8-13. Since July 2016 held in the new rented space 
- Room at the Bunka Center a good choice because of size and location next to library (incidental visitors) 
- At new place hardly any set-up, no pressure to close on time, more library items. However, so far hardly any incidental visitors 

Visitors; books checked out 

- Bunka Center: visitors/opening, 20-40; items checked out, 13-42 by 5-13 people; incidental visitors: many 
- New place: visitors/opening, 2-12; items checked out, 2-17 by 2-8 people; incidental visitors: very few 
- No limit to number of items that can be checked out. Usually people return items on time but there are 13 books checked out since 2007-2009 that are presumably lost. Another 10 books are overdue; individual reminder mails have been sent out 
- English children's books still the most popular items Members/users; mailing list; blog 
- 17 members since 2011: 11 Japanese, 6 foreigners; 14 Fuchu residents, 1 from Saitama, 1 from Chofu, 1 from Koganei 
- Definition of “user”: anyone entering name and contact details in sign-up book when checking out an item for the first time. Only one person per family is asked to register 
- Currently 242 users. 3 asked to be removed and several have been removed by me. 
- Contacts deleted when email bounces back 3 times and no change of address is received
- Some visitors come once to explore, others come for a chat or only to borrow items. Some appreciate advice on books, especially regarding difficulty and level of English 
- Flyers cannot be attached to messages sent to cell phones. A blog was created in 2007 as an alternative resource to check for updates 
- Book titles can be searched via link on the blog 
- Interest in blog remains low 

Book Exchange 

- Success in first year, but discontinued because items remained at closing time Lending by sending 
- Implemented in 2012, this service enables users to receive books by mail and pay for postage on delivery 
- Only one person in Kanagawa used this service 
- It has not been advertised since then 

Summary of filled-out questionnaires 

- Most people are informed about Book Ideas through email 
- Most respondents prefer to receive mail once a month 
- Blog not widely accessed 
- No clear preference for Japanese translations of information

- Most people come more than once or visit regularly 
- Wide range of answers for how many times people would visit if Book Ideas were open more often 
- Most popular days: Saturday and Sunday 
- Most popular time of day: afternoon. Morning, lunchtime, evening chosen as well

Activities/additional services 
- Large majority enjoys presentations 
- Majority prefers presentations in English. Some prefer presentations in Japanese 
- Half of respondents for regularly-held recycle sales, half against 
- Slight majority for regular book exchanges 
- Majority interested in renting apartment and/or garden for personal events 
- Majority favors additional services: “baking” favorite, followed by “arts & crafts” and “presentations”. All other services also mentioned at least once 

Physical space; book collections 
- Nearly half of respondents would prefer to separate library space from socializing space 
- Top pick for kind of books to add to library: books from/about other countries 

Ideas for additional activities 
- Presentations: “Female Professionals in the Catholic Church”, “Growing up in Former East Germany”, “Kyrgyzstan”, “Faeroe Island”, “Growing up in Moscow” - Celebrations: Easter (egg painting), 4th of July (BBQ), Halloween (story reading/telling, pumpkin carving), Thanksgiving (sharing meal), Advent (Advent wreath, Santa Claus, St. Lucia, Christmas (ornaments), Carnival 
- Children’s sessions: reading aloud, acting out stories with handmade stick figures/puppets
- Blog: “Book tips” by Book Ideas users 
- Recycle event 
- Book Exchange 
- “Pop-up store”: offering retail space to external vendors? 
- Newsletter: News about various services in neighborhood 

Open discussion 

Who should be our target audience? 
- People from the neighborhood 
- People from anywhere interested in presentations, celebrations, specific books 
- Specific groups, e.g. AFWJ members, children 

How to encourage attendance of young(er) parents and children? 
- Separate children's and adults’ time 

How to encourage more users and new visitors to attend? 
- Presentations that catch people's attention 
- Organize events for target audience 
- Occasionally use the Bunka Center 

Conflicting objectives 
- Should we maintain current atmosphere and relationships (community feeling) or expand pool of users? 

Contact other community organizations 
- e.g. Sumire kai, represented by Shiba-san