I attended LIANZA’s Future of Libraries Summit in Wellington on Friday with two of my staff, Maria and Ann-Louise. As one of this year’s K?tuku cohort, Ann-Louise had the opportunity to facilitate at one of the tables – well done!
I’d like to thank Joanna, Ines, Jess, Kris, Corin, Christine (and no doubt many others) for bringing people together from all over the country, and from a variety of backgrounds and roles, to look at our future and how we can make it even better.
There was some blue sky big picture thinking, and some small gems which I’m taking back to talk with my team about. Do we focus enough on the high needs areas in our district? Do we celebrate our achievements? Are we providing opportunities for all our staff? Would our kids love Arduino?
There was a bit of frustration expressed that people were bringing up the “same old concerns we always talk about” and some people didn’t feel they could raise some issues. It was noted that LIANZA have been working on some of the “same old concerns” with K?tuku, Brand Libraries and so on. Perhaps LIANZA needs to be even more vocal about the good work it’s doing and shout it from the rooftops? As librarians we’re not helpless though; maybe as individuals we need to take more responsibility for knowing what our supporting body is up to.
Many librarians do seem to have a problem with speaking up and saying anything that might be controversial – are we just to damn nice? Or do we worry about the professional consequences in such a small country? I don’t know, but it’s a shame.
There’s nothing wrong with strong opinions as long as people are respectful, prepared to listen to others and so on. As a teen I loved the The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen Donaldson. In an epic war of good versus evil, the good people of The Land realise they have lost a lot of their power because, in giving up all violence, they also gave up their passion. (paraphrased from reading 30 years ago, so loose…)
I hope New Zealand librarians can find their most passionate, articulate voices for the good of our profession while avoiding (verbal) violence!