I am not a member of LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand) and that is because I don’t really know what they offer. I am unsure what they do as an organisation and since I’m still relatively new to the librarian game I didn’t see how they could benefit me as a library assistant.

This is partly, OK probably mostly, due to my ignorance. I actually haven’t even tried to see if this organisation could benefit me. My reason for this is because my limited experiences with the organisation have been mixed.

I have been to the brilliant Mātauranga Maori course as well as a great conference which proved to be both interesting and inspiring. But I also when to another event where I felt I was being talked down to because I was a library assistant.

For my MLIS studies I have done some research into the professional registration scheme which meant I am  somewhat familiar with this and the website and both this things I found to be lacking. However, I acknowledge this was over a year ago and my more recent dealings with the website have been more positive as improvements are being made.

LIANZA was coloured for me by past colleagues who were part of the professional registration scheme who would only talk about it in groans and whimpers when discussing all of the work needed to be part of the registration scheme.

Possibly to my detriment I have always viewed the organisation as an old boys club and something that I could never penetrate and be a part of. In my opinion there is already a weird hierarchy between shelvers, library assistants and librarians and I didn’t want to endure that in my professional organisation as well.

As I can’t really speak to what LIANZA offers as I’m currently just a judgy, ignorant outsider, in an ideal world what would I want them to offer?

  • Career development opportunities; courses, conferences and networking
  • Advocacy
  • An inclusive organisation that celebrates and offers something for all parts of our diverse industry
  • Support to try and keep public libraries free
  • Lobbying for higher remuneration for the profession (This honestly should and probably will be a whole blog post at some point but could we not be one worst paid jobs with a Masters degree?)
  • A library community because in my experience library employees are really cool.

But I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is and join. I currently don’t really have the right to be so dismissive of this organisation before I haven’t really taken the time to get to know. I hope it exceeds my expectations.

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