Well I have been down in Wellington since Wednesday, attending the first INELI (International Network and Emerging Library Innovators) Convening and now the LIANZA Conference. I have been meaning to blog during this time, but honestly, the days have been so full that up till this morning, I did not even have the energy, inclination or time. I had great hopes for INELI, and while I can say there is a long road ahead, with an awful lot of work, these hopes have been more than confirmed. The group of people I have found myself amongst is pretty amazing really. They are articulate, passionate, intelligent and motivated. I have been truly touched by the different cultures and experiences I have found myself amongst. That many of them have spent the best part of a week, listening and talking in a language that is not their first is quite humbling as a mono-lingual Kiwi. If I take nothing else from this week (and I take plenty), it is that we MUST shift to a cultural reality in New Zealand where are children are given the opportunity to be multi-lingual. I use the term multi-lingual deliberately and not bi-lingual. We should be producing New Zealanders that can also understand and speak to at least some level both Maori and another language.
Conference, now two days in, has been a mixed bag, but on the whole inspiring. Having already done 3 days of INELI, to a degree I already felt like I had done a conference by the time LIANZA started. I spent yesterday feeling quite exhausted. The first keynote, Martin Molloy OBE, certainly produced a strong reaction from people. His messages were sound, but his style of delivery possibly was not the best for an opening Keynote. Regardless, his is a very experienced senior leader, and he had some wisdom to share on being politically aware and not just relying on the good times when the political winds shift left to ensure the survival of libraries. We need to be able to work with all stakeholders regardless of political leanings to ensure the value of libraries is known, appreciated and supported.
Bill Macnaught (National Librarian of New Zealand) gave a great speech, which provided the audience with a good understanding of his intentions as the new National Librarian. I feel encouraged by his positioning of the National Library and by his words to each of the library sectors. I believe, although the journey will not be easy, together we can develop and demonstrate a lasting model for the value proposition of libraries. We live in exciting times and although we may wish we were not having to have this conversation, we are being given the exciting task of creating a new foundation for libraries to work from in the future.
Lastly, along with my colleagues Louise Lahatte and Jane Taylor, I gave a presentation yesterday on the Auckland Libraries, MyCard project. It went well, and we have good reaction from the audience. I think we demonstrated well the scope of the project and what the results and challenges were. It is nice to have that done.
Day 3 beckons now, another Auckland Libraries presentation this morning.