Future of Libraries Summit

About 9 days ago LIANZA held a Future of Libraries Summit in Wellington. Even thought I would have loved to attend I was unable to but I’ve been reading a selection of blog posts about the event. I’m glad to say most of the feedback has been positive. This has been really great to see as I believe it’s important for the profession to have discussions about it’s future direction so at the very least we are on the same page. I would really like to engage with this and be part of this discussion so I thought I could answer some of the questions presented.

What are the key drivers of the profession?

While I agree that as a whole we are a diverse industry I believe the key drivers are pretty much the same. Every library wants to engage with and provide for its user group. This is because if we don’t, what is our purpose? Therefore academic libraries have to cater for students and academics. If they don’t provide text books, access to databases and research help what’s the point of having a library at the university and I can imagine an outcry from their key user groups.

I also believe that quality training, mentor ship and development opportunities for the younger sector of the industry are crucial for the continued existence of this field. If this is not done once our current leaders retire who is going to take up the mantel and keep libraries alive?

What would a flourishing library sector look like in 2025 if we address these key drivers?

I believe it will create terrific leaders who recognise the importance of training and open communication. It will be librarians who believe in sharing their skills instead of hoarding their knowledge. These people will understand the importance of constructive criticism and listening to those down below who are actually working with our patrons and clients. This will mean that we can better serve our communities and users and therefore we won’t feel the need to continually talk about our relevance because people will see this in their everyday lives.

What are we currently doing to address these drivers – at the library level, at the sector level, at the whole of profession level?

I believe the Kotuku leadership course that LIANZA is currently running is a great start. However, as stated previously I believe that mentor ship for those who haven’t created their library qualifications would be beneficial too. At present I think we have a culture that dismisses open communication and criticism about the industry; the Issues Desk is a perfect example as we write this anonymously so we can get jobs in the future! Maybe it would be good to change the culture around this. Again, I believe the summit was a great way to do this. However, I would be interested to see how many people young in the industry were involved and what the restrictions to this were.

Where are the gaps?

I think I possibly addressed this above. But I believe its really important we create an environment of open communication. I know all opinions aren’t valid but it would be great if people could express them without fear of recrimination and lack of job opportunity. Again, I’m going to use The Issues Desk as an example, we only created this blog as we are passionate about the industry but felt we had no forum to discuss it. Shouldn’t we want to hear from people that are passionate instead of punishing them?

Who should take responsibility for these gaps?

Everyone! But in particular I believe people in management positions and the professional organisation. Come on guys, lets foster a culture of openness! Let’s listen to our front line staff! Let’s offer more leadership training!

Where to from here?

I don’t know but I worry that nothing will come from the Summit and that would be a huge mistake as I believe we should capitalise on this open discussion.

I hope that all made sense I’m a bit sick and fevery. Please feel free to comment or email us at theissuesdesk@yahoo.co.nz We would really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions!

Are there such things as library mentors?

At present I’m in like with my job, everything is going well and I’m enjoying the work that I have to do. However, I know that a time will come where I would like to move on. But I have no idea how to get from my current position to where I would ultimately like to go. But, I would really like to change that.

So my question is, are there such things as library mentors?

I would really love if I could find someone who could guide me in my career and let me know what I need to do in order to advance in the direction I would like to go.

The obvious choice would be to speak to my manager however, while she has been in the industry for a lengthy amount of time from what I can see her focus is very local and she does not really engage with the wider community like I would like to. Also, in the past people have only stayed in the role short term so I’ve got the impression that if I mention moving on she will think I have itchy feet and become concerned that I am thinking about leaving.

Once this is out, my thinking takes me to LIANZA. Do they have a mentor type programme?

The answer to this is yes and here is a link to it: http://www.lianza.org.nz/professional-registration/lianza-mentoring-scheme

I love that they do this. However, my only problem is you need to be professional registered and I have not completed my MLIS so therefore can’t. This I could be wrong about though because as I was filling out the, can I register type questionnaire it told me this:

LIANZA

But to be honest, I don’t know if I want to professionally register yet. I know I do one day but at the moment I’m just dipping my toes in the water with LIANZA. I don’t know if I’m ready for this type of commitment.

So what am I do to?

Katniss

I think I may just email the person who is in the job I would ultimately like and ask them how they got to be where they are. I don’t know if this is a good idea, if the person will even get back to me or if this is beneficial. But, I’ve got to try because at this point I don’t know the path I need to take.

I would really appreciate your advice, stories and comments about this so either do this below or email us at theissuesdesk@yahoo.co.nz

LIANZA?

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.

Please like, share and comment on this post. If you would like to write something for the blog please send your posts to theissuesdesk@yahoo.co.nz Everyone welcome.