The latest instalment of Scripturient, my column for Information Professional, is out now.
In this series, I’m looking at how we can push the boundaries of literacy in the 21st century, to encompass new areas of representation. What does it mean to read the future? To read risks? To read the forces that underpin our relationships and drive us psychologically? To read the signs and signals which exist in the natural world?
In the latest issue of Information Professional, I talk to writer Helen Heath from Aotearoa New Zealand about birdsong, technology, poetry, and the natural world.
What would change about your work if you read, or even wrote, a poem on waking up every morning? To what new things would you attend? What would you learn about information, and our relationship to it?
Together with Australia’s Brendan Fitzgerald, I’m in Library Life, the magazine of libraries in Aotearoa / New Zealand, this month, offering six hot picks and a few reflections on our recent NZ strategy workshops.
Last year, I was invited to give a keynote speech at Aotearoa/New Zealand’s national library conference, LIANZA 2017.
I wanted to realise a long-held dream and present a collective keynote with a number of Australian & New Zealand colleagues sharing the stage, but it wasn’t practical for LIANZA to fly a whole group of us across the Tasman Sea.
In the end, we contrived a way to deliver a unique collective keynote – by taping my mouth shut and inviting members of the audience on stage in an hour-long series of creative, constructive, collaborative activities.
In October, US librarian Justin Hoenke approached me to co-nominate Rachael for the American Library Journal‘s annual Movers & Shakers Award, highlighting professionals who have done exceptional work in libraries around the world.
Today, Rachael was announced as a winner of the 2018 Movers & Shakers Award and her friends & supporters worldwide are justifiably celebrating. From her days back in suburban Auckland to current international glory, including her own individual library keynote in Edinburgh, Rachael is one of the greatest heroes of public librarianship in 2018.
This is the last post in this series setting out our process, so you can think about how to run such an activity, and push the boundaries even further than we did.
In this entry I’m just going to focus on all the stuff which remained below the waterline – songs which didn’t make it to the final session, videos which inspired us but whose inspiration might not be very visible in the finished product. Read more →
I had approached Rachael to conclude the keynote so that it ended with a local voice and a speaker who was delivering practical front-line services to a New Zealand community. Rachael is a great example of a library branch manager whose teams are finding new and compelling ways to engage their community, from services for the homeless through to personalised one-to-one music sessions.
So great to hear from @MCrtt talking about offering services for the homeless community in libraries. Excellent work! #open17
So, it’s the afternoon of Sunday 24th September, 2017, at the Addington Raceway in Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand. Laurinda Thomas has just given an excellent talk about librarians’ professional identity and I’m invited to the stage.
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and say a few words in te reo Māori.
Then this appears on the conference screens: Read more →
In August last year, the organisers of LIANZA Open 2017 invited me to be a keynote at their conference, the national gathering for the librarians of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Last week, it all happened – I taped my mouth shut for an hour and led an adventurous conference session which brought the audience onto the stage, delivered a working library service within the keynote hall itself, and got us coverage on New Zealand’s national news.
So what exactly took place over in the city of Christchurch, how did we get here, and what can we do with the experience? If I share with you not only the product, but the process, could you see your way to trying something like this…or even going beyond what we achieved in New Zealand?
“We look to Los Angeles
For the language we use
London is dead, London is dead…”
I never really listened to a lot of Morrissey, thinking about it. I mean, I had a bit of a Smiths phase at university and I put ‘Last of the International Playboys‘ on the mixtape for a stag do once — that’s about it.
Then Ziba Zehdar-Gazdecki, a cool librarian from Los Angeles, shared photos from a book event on social media.
“I love that my mom & Morrissey’s mom both worked at libraries!” -Melissa Mora Hidalgo author of Mozlandia https://t.co/vReZs8Vj52
In my travels, I’ve met some incredible and inspiring library leaders. Managers and specialists delivering incredible stuff: people like Hamish Curry, the Melbournian library superhero who gets kids making Ned Kelly armour in his library, or Adrienne Hannan in the New Zealand capital Wellington, a children’s and youth specialist whose role outside traditional management structures gives her freedom and flexibility to innovate. But sometimes libraries’ own bureaucracy impedes them: sometimes, even when the media, local communities, and local politicians, too, are supporting libraries’ attempts to be audacious, internal process can be an obstacle. So – here’s three thoughts on a style of leadership which will let libraries be the sword-hand of literacy and the major cultural player they so clearly ought to be in the new Information Age.
1. Library leaders need to be librarians.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking my role out of existence – outsiders to library service have a value in stirring the pot, bringing in new ideas, cross-pollinating between librarianship, education, theatre, creative writing, marketing, etc – but I truly believe that the people at the head of a library organisation need to have walked the floor, stacked the shelves, held their own on a desk shift, and put contact plastic on a few books in their time. Read more →