Monthly Archives: August 2014

A brief look back to LIANZA Conference and Telsig Forum 2013

Late last year I attended several inspirational conference presentations about the changing nature of libraries. These included the Presidential Address from Laurinda Thomas, keynotes from Nat Torkington and Penny Hagen at LIANZA 2013 Conference, and Mal Booth at Telsig 2013 Forum.

Key messages I absorbed are that although our ‘artefacts’ are changing libraries are still essential services with the potential to change lives. We are no longer just book and text based warehouses, but community based cultural hubs where new knowledge and insights are created. Our communities should be active participants in designing new services. I realised we could do more in my organisation to engage and involve our students and staff in planning new services.

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Having a Say

Faced with a proposed restructure of library and student support services at the end of 2011, I completed an individual submission and contributed to a group submission about the proposal, outlining points of agreement and advocating for some adjustments. To prepare, I talked a lot to staff and read numerous articles about integrated services and factors that contribute to Māori student success. The proposal involved the dis-establishment of my position.

I felt ok during this period of uncertainty. I think this was because going through a redundancy in 2005 made me more resilient to change, knowing things have a way of working out. I’m glad I took all opportunities to have my say. A few of my suggestions were adopted, a few weren’t, but management seemed to appreciate my submission.

Embracing Change

In November of 2013 I attended the Telsig Forum in Auckland. I was struck by a keynote presentation by Lynley Stone of Information Workshop. Lynley spoke about the nature and impact of change, emphasising the difference between what we can and cannot control, and how important it is to act on that which is within our control. Change is normal and unsettling but we can do things to lessen its impact on us personally. Lynley encouraged us to look for opportunities to gain experience and training, perform our jobs well and think of ways to do them better in order to prepare well for inevitable change.

What I gained most was not so much the message but the way it was delivered. I wish I could have bottled Lynley’s presentation and taken it back with me to my workplace. Her message was strong and clear but told with kindness and empathy. I encourage my team to embrace change and to actively seek opportunities to develop, but I realised I could do this in a more supportive way after attending Lynley’s talk.

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End of the Archives

At the end of last year I prepared to hand-over my part-time role as Archivist at Otumoetai College to a new person. Because I work full time in another role, this job involved working one Sunday a month. The hand-over involved ensuring all the procedures I had set up were up to date and accessible, and training the new Archivist.

I am proud of what I achieved in this role which I held for 5 years and that the systems and procedures I set up to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the school are robust and professional, ready for the new person to take over. However I was also pleased to relinquish the role because this allowed me to begin some study have more energy for my other job.

ANZ 23 Mobile Things

Last year I participated in the ANZ 23 Mobile Things course facilitated by Abigail Willemse and Kate Freedman. This involved learning about various mobile apps and technologies on a weekly basis, undertaking practical activities and participating in Twitter chats.

Some of the 23 ‘things’ were familiar to me such as Twitter and Library Thing but I learned about many new apps such as HistoryPin and discovered how augmented reality can be used in libraries. During the course I began using the Feedly and Pocket mobile apps which I’ve since found invaluable to manage my social and professional reading. I loved interacting with the friendly and enthusiastic librarians on this course.

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Makerspaces : Exciting and challenging

This is my reflection on The NMC Horizon Report 2014 Higher Education Edition which was published earlier this year. This report identifies 6 key trends impacting on higher education: the growing ubiquity of social media, the integration of online, hybrid and collaborative learning, learning analytics, students as creators rather than consumers/the rise of makerspaces, agile business models and the evolution of online learning.

Reading this report was both exciting and challenging. For example the idea of establishing a makerspace at my workplace is incredibly exciting to me, as I can see it being a way to recognise and support students as creators rather than consumers, and to bring together the tools, skills and expertise that exist across all our programmes, and I’d love to be involved with this. How to link this to strategic goals and make this happen is the challenging bit. I’m going to follow up on the further reading in this report and commit to writing a paper about the potential for a makerspace at our institution.

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Leadership and personality

When I was doing a uni paper last year, I read several books and articles on the topic of leadership and personality including The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Authentic Leadership by Bill George and Quiet Leadership by David Rock.

This reading helped me understand myself and others better; and to value the way I learn, communicate and lead. It affirmed for me that ‘quiet’ leaders can be effective leaders. It helped me to develop my strengths in supporting others to learn and solve their own problems by asking questions and focusing on solutions not problems. I also supported changes so that a group of staff with introspective qualities had more suitable work environments to re-energise and think.

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Mobilising the values of Pacific cultures in education

In December 2013 I attended a keynote presentation from Winnie Laban at the ANZSSA (Australia New Zealand Student Services Association) Conference in Wellington. Luamanuvao Winnie Laban is Assistant Vice Chancellor (Pasifika) at Victoria University of Wellington and has previously been a Member and Minister of Parliament. In 1992 she was bestowed the Samoan chiefly title of Luamanuvao.

Winnie spoke passionately to us about how education is greatly valued by Pasifika, yet achievements levels are low. Student services have the potential to mobilise the values of pacific cultures to increase participation and involvement.

At my workplace our focus has been predominantly on raising achievement levels of Māori students. Pasifika students make up 4% of our student population. Since this session I have had several discussions with staff about ways to incorporate inclusive practices for Pasifika, and a group of staff have begun informal Samoan language sharing sessions, but there is work to be done to put a sustainable plan in action for students.

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I love Bookrapt

Here’s a chance to reflect on my ongoing involvement with Bookrapt, the Bay of Plenty Children’s Literature Association.

For two years from October 2011 to October 2013, I held the role of President of Bookrapt.

As well as supporting committee members with their tasks, chairing meetings and writing annual reports my activities included helping organise the judging panels for the regional heats of the Kids Lit Quiz, speaking at four book launches, completing a successful funding application, organising and MC-ing two seminars, coordinating our 30 year anniversary celebrations involving Dame Lynley Dodd and adopting a new Patron – Phyllis Johnston.

I found my time as President rewarding, with the most enjoyable aspect being able to acknowledge the achievements of local authors. Bookrapt gives me the opportunity to network with librarians from other sectors, writers, illustrators, teachers, parents and others who share a love of children and young adult literature.

Such fun!

Digital Trends on a Collision Course

Another belated reading reflection. I’ve just caught up on the 2013 IFLA Report ‘Riding the Waves or Caught in the Tide? Navigating the Evolving Information Environment’

The report identifies broad trends that are shaping the information environment. These trends have been driven by technological change and range from access to education, privacy, civic engagement, and transformation of the information economy.

This report emphasised to me how important the role of librarian continues to be and how crucial it is we are prepared for change. As mobile devices become more ubiquitous, society becomes more hyper-connected and more government services go online, intermediaries will increasingly be needed to help those without digital literacy skills. Librarians will need to know how to deal with privacy issues once ‘Google Glass is in the building”. As providers of e-content we need to think about the responsibilities we have to protect our user’s data and how we will continue to support serendipitous discovery when the dominant mode of search is that of the algorithm.

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