Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for LIANZA. What's that, some kind of exotic lizard?

Today's entry is about LIANZA, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand (thanks to the outgoing communications manager for the title of today's post).

I've been a member for what feels like a long time.  I first joined when I was just a young sprocket working in the circulation department of Wellington City Library. I can, with certainty, say I was the only member in my department, probably one of the few members in the whole library. It doesn't feel like many public librarians are that professionally motivated in New Zealand, it's just a job, rather then a vocation.  I thought it would be a good thing to put on my CV, and I attended most of the LIANZA sponsored events and conferences, discounted for members, so it made sense.

I'm not sure how many members there are at my current library, but I would think I could count them on one hand. The professional development events that are scheduled for this year include some great looking project planning and strategic workshops for public librarians. I'd love to see some practical (and cheap!) webinars, for people at a similar stage to me in my career. IT skills are going to be so important in the coming years if libraries are going to have any chance of competing and remaining relevant in a digital world.  I've been attending some U.S based webinars, but would love some with a local context.

Now for a confessional; I need to pay my membership and my professional registration fees, as they are overdue. The benefits I see of remaining a member of LIANZA, apart from giving back to the librarian community, is political advocacy, and professional development. I have been to some great LIANZA sponsored events, just over the last year I've attended; the Shanachie tour; a group of librarians from Delft Library Concept Centre travelling around the world telling and hearing stories about how libraries make a difference in their communities, and recording their journey along the way. "Shanachie" comes from the Irish storyteller tradition. I really enjoyed their enthusiasm for libraries and innovative ideas for funding.

The other standout thing from the last year would be the conference, celebrating LIANZA's centenary, the best part of which was reconnecting with (and meeting new) librarians from around New Zealand and the world, including having a "tweet up" where twitter users meet in real life and getting to see Dunedin, in the South Island, which I'd only briefly visited before.
I'm now a member of the Wellington LIANZA Committee, hoping to make the organisation work for its members and for me. We are more about the social side of LIANZA, but if any locals read this and want to see some particular events tell me!

I think I could probably put my membership fees towards other organisations, and I very well may join a more IT focused professional organisation and get a greater personal benefit from it owing to where my career is going of late, but LIANZA keeps my money for the foreseeable future. Are you a member of any professional organisations, and do they work for you, and how do you work for them?

Related blog posts:

Are you a member of a professional association?

Renewing my membership

And check out this Prezi by a librarian who went on the Shanachie tour
"People are our greatest collection"


  1. The Shanachie tour sounds amazing. It seems like something that would garner attention from Public Radio International, and yet, I've not heard about it until now.

    I think you're spot on, joining and becoming involved in trade organizations. When I worked for a not-for-profit utility, for many years I was the communications department. I joined a professional development organization called the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA), and suddenly I was no longer alone. I had a peer group that pressed me to strive for excellence, I had colleagues to consult for guidance, and I had friends in my arm of the trade.

    In time, I helped chair contests and do some planning, and it took a bit of attention, but the rewards far outweighed the obligations.

    I'm not terribly social and by nature don't sign on to groups. The lesson here: Regardless of who you are, there's a professional organization for you. Join. You'll be better for it.

    And so will they.

    l: Your Library: A Tale Not Told in Books

  2. great post Tom! I love the exotic lizard title! Very catchy. Mike was onto something with that and I think we'll have to continue it in his absence. Mind if I link to this in LIANZA's fortnightly newsletter next week? :D ;)

  3. I was surprised that 'L' wasn't for Library, but I guess that would have been rather obvious and rather general.

  4. Shelley, :).

    Joe, thanks for thoughtful comment. The Shanachie boys did get to the states, and met some wonderful librarians there. Hopefully they will get more known as time goes on. Agree wholeheartedly with your comments on joining organizations, and professional groups, they can be very helpful, for any profession. I'm not a social person at all, but joining the committee is helping.

    Hana, you have my blessing to link this post, thanks for thinking it worthy.

    Spenc, yeah, I thought "Library" would be a bit too predictable, and most of are my posts are library related, in one way or the other. But I still snuck Library into the acronym for LIANZA, see what I did there? ;-)