Minutes: 8th Annual General Meeting (February 27, 2016)

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 bookideasfuchu.blogspot.com. 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 

Advertising 
- 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 

Attendance 
- 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

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