A huge thank you and congratulations to the amazing team at LIANZA for their work in developing the superb briefings for each of the relevant incoming ministers in the new Labour-led government, outlining the current state libraries in New Zealand.
I was particularly thrilled to read the briefing for the new Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, which is relevant and succinct in stating the case for the role of the school librarian.
In the briefing document, LIANZA makes the point that the Ministry of Education no longer captures data about the number of school libraries nor the staffing of them, so this makes the survey SLANZA announced in their communique in November last year even more important. This can provide the SLANZA National Executive team with vital statistical information to further inform Minister Hipkins about the state of school libraries across New Zealand. This will also present them with an opportunity to build on the case made by LIANZA for every school in New Zealand to have equitable access to quality library services.
I am heartened and hopeful after reading them. I know there is no quick fix or straight path ahead, but it would be exciting to be in genuine partnership with our government to ensure the best library services for every New Zealander.
I recently had the absolute pleasure and privilege of being invited to share with librarians in the SLANZA Waikato/BOP area around the weighty and timely topic of library advocacy.
After being affected by fog in Christchurch and three plane rides later, I finally arrived in Hamilton at 9 o’clock at night (original arrival time was scheduled at 3.30pm! There’s a potential separate blog post on my stressful, circuitous journey, but I digress) and drove across to Tauranga to meet with the SLANZA Waikato/BOP crew the following morning.
While the weather that Saturday morning may have kept more faint-hearted souls in their beds, that is certainly not the case for intrepid librarians! They are like the Pony Express riders of the historic Amerian West, “heroes for the much needed and dangerous service they provided for the nation” and cheerfully turned out in good numbers. (They were admirably rewarded with a stunning morning tea spread to keep their energy levels at high! Thanks, team!)
The workshop covered 10 key areas:
- Taking a look at the big picture
- Identifying our vision
- Acknowledging what we already do
- Collaborative strategies
- Working with our whole community
- Telling our story
- Promotion and marketing
- How to gather evidence and what to do with it
- Tools of the trade
Since coming across it several years ago, I have often reflected on Lauren Cohen’s Librarian 2.0 Manifesto, which is startlingly, now more than 10 years old, and it had inspired me to want to write my own, but it never got to the top of my “to do” pile.
So, while preparing for this workshop I revisited it, along with re-reading the UNESCO and IFLA School Library Manifesto and the School Library and Learning in the Information Landscape: Guidelines for New Zealand Schools, which is now more than 15 years old. It made me realise that there has been little of significance published about advocating for school libraries and learning in more than a decade and given the rate of change in education in those dozen or so years it certainly gives pause for thought.
It also made me revisit my goal of writing my own manifesto but chose a different path and instead I incorporated the UNESCO manifesto and the NZ guidelines with my own library world view and this is what I came up with:
If you’d like more details about the advocacy workshop you can access it here:
And if you are looking for even more inspiration then you should invest in a copy of This is What A Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information by Kyle Cassidy. It is awesome! Expect a blog post soon on this amazing book.
Thanks to the Waikato/BOP Committee for inviting me to come and share with them. They’re an awesome team, ably led by Glenys and Linda. And thank you guys for the most precious of gifts you can give a librarian, a newly published book!
Finally, I’ll leave you with what has become a bit of a catchphrase for me in recent months as I continue to explore the intersection between libraries and learning.
I have had my head down, slaving away on many different work fronts in recent weeks/months. Today I made time for a little bit of Professional Learning and I’m SO glad I did! I was reading a posting on website Resource Link about attribution of images with Creative Commons License through Flickr and decided to explore their site for other gems. Boy, did I find a nugget of gold!
You need to watch this TedX Talk by Pam Sandlian-Smith on What to Expect From Libraries in the 21st Century
This short 11 minute talk is completely inspiring and almost brought me to tears.
If you have been wondering “why on earth do I bother?” ….. watch this.
If you have been wondering “do I make a difference?” ….. watch this.
If you have been thinking “what can I do to make a difference?” ….. watch this.
If you are sick of fending questions along the lines of “why do we need libraries?” ….. watch this.
If you have been wondering how to inspire your staff ….. watch this.
Do you want to remember what it is you love about the possibilities of being in our profession? ….. watch this.
I challenge you to remain unmoved, unchallenged or uninspired!
Now, if you have read to the end of this posting and haven’t yet watched this clip ….. Watch it Now!
Last night I had the undivided attention of a small but appreciative group of parents who had come along to the monthly PTA meeting to listen to me talk about how our school libraries support their children’s learning and ways they, as parents could be doing that at home.
Reading, Research and Recreation: the three R’s of the School Library