An evening with Ilona Kish

Thank you to Ilona and to all those who attended what was a lovely evening. For all of you weren’t able to be with us this blog is a personal recounting of the evening.

The evening began with a lot of friendly librarians connecting, reconnecting and talking shop. The proceedings began with Joan’s introduction of the committee (listed below), our Councillor Kelsey Johnston and LIANZA President Elect Paula Eskett.

Ilona Kish Meeting and Greeting

Pictured top left – Anne Scott and Carolyn Robertson, pictured top Right Theresa Buller, Kelsey Johnston and Rachel Ardern. Pictured lower row, Ilona Kish, Jan Kotlowski and Jenny Owens.

Your committee members are:

During her intro Joan highlighted:

  • The Professional Weekend Day for librarians which the committee are supporting on Sunday 25th March at the Richmond Public Library
  • The intention of the committee to sponsor someone to attend the Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference 2018 (30 July – 2 August 2018 in the gold coast)
  • The  LIANZA Awards are coming up
  • The committee’s intention to be led by our members – do tell us what professional development you want and how we can serve you best (anyone for validation journal group?)
  • How hungry the editors of LIANZA’s monthly magazine Library Life: Te Rau Herenga O Aotearoa are for your stories. Librarians love stories, share yours with Theresa and Angilo, there’s even an online form!


Ilona took the stage to speak of her current projects as the Director of Public Libraries 2020. She spoke of her key areas of focus:

  • Building positive perceptions and increasing the visibility libraries for policy makers. Sadly many policy makers haven’t set foot in a library for 10-20 years.
  • Help librarians connect internationally – to build on the sensibility that it’s really important to talk to people outside of your back yard, leverage your resources, find and connect with others. Keep a sense of what’s going on in your bigger picture.

Some of the challenges Ilona’s considering are:

  • What will happen to Public Libraries 2020 after Gates Foundation funding ends, they’re spending $150 million over 5 years there is only one of those 5 years remaining.
  • Hope to capture all the learnings of the last 4 years and make sure they’re picked up by the next generation.

Key projects/events she mentioned are:

GENERATION CODE: BORN AT THE LIBRARY 2017 to show Members of European Parliament (MEPs) during EU Code Week that “cutting-edge technology fresh from the EU libraries that will leave you flabbergasted! This year’s theme is “Smart Cities, Smart Citizens, Smart Libraries” – looking at how future technologies are interacting with libraries across Europe” From <>

MEP Library Lovers Group which brings together Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from across the EU and from both sides of the political spectrum who are passionate about libraries. This was really successful advocacy work building great relationships with MEPs.

60 Books for the Summer where the MEP Library Lovers Group “compiled of MEP favourites and reflects the love MEPs share for European culture and cultural diversity, their commitment to social inclusion, and passion for history and literature. More than anything, the list reveals the personal preferences, and even the guilty pleasures MEPs have in common with the people they represent; not only with citizens from their constituency, but with the “European reader” more broadly.” From <>

Matching a MEP with a librarian from their own home town and to get those librarians visiting the European Parliament with their MEP. It’s a great practice and been great for relationship building and for PR.

Ilona Kish

Pictured, Ilona speaking to the audience

Things that really struck me from the part one of Ilona’s talk was:

  • The affirmation that books are important to libraries, let go of the idea that we’re ‘more than books’, as if books were a bad thing, they’re not. Books are our natural home.
  • The three key advocacy messages of: Libraries delivering digital access/inclusion, informal and formal learning and social inclusion.
  • Remember expectation management and sustainability, look for things which are sustainable.
  • Social inclusion is digital these days and you can’t be digitally literate if you’re illiterate. It’s  a cruel double blow for those on the outside.
  • Libraries as disruptors and innovators – we’re not just come and sit in front of a computer. Often we’re the place where people can experience really expensive cutting edge tech for the first time.
  • This is a mindset thing and I quote Ilona directly now – “There’s nothing that can’t happen in my library, if it’s what the community wants and needs.”


The second part of Ilona’s talk shifted in focus to talk about how she gained the experience to move into her current role where she manages the Brussels team, their advisory group and other strategic relationships within the programme.

Ilona got into advocacy by accident, she made the point that advocacy is not normally part of a librarian’s professional development, there’s no framework, it’s piecemeal, haphazard. We need to be:

  • Recruiting and supporting our advocates
  • Getting great at strategic planning
  • Creating media toolkits
  • Getting local politicians into our libraries, if just for an hour (make your pitch to them individualized, make it politically relevant)
  • Having managers need to support the growth of those things
  • Thinking ‘what will my work look like in 5 years?’
  • Targeting social need, know the community and how we can work together
  • Excellent at articulating our value proposition as key enablers to societal outcomes


For all those on Twitter you can follow Ilona at @ilonadkish


Thank you again to Ilona and thank you to all who attended.


Ilona Kish – RSVP required

Where     The function room, Protocol Bar and Restaurant, 2 Colombo Street, Cashmere
Date         Wednesday 7 February 2018
Time         6-8.30 pm
Cash Bar
Please encourage non-members to come along as your guest.

6 pm  Finger food will be available

6.30 pm  The new committee will outline some of the plans for 2018

6.45 pm  Ilona Kish  will speak on her current projects and how she gained the experience to move into the role as Director of the Public Libraries 2020 programme – managing the Brussels team, their advisory group and other strategic relationships within the programme.

The Public Libraries 2020 Programme is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and run by the Reading & Writing Foundation.

Ilona is in Christchurch on 7 Feb to offer a workshop on Advocacy at the University of Canterbury from 9- 3pm on behalf of LIANZA.

An RSVP to a committee member by Friday 2 February would be appreciated for catering and function room booking purposes.


Joan Simpson, Chair
Kelsey Johnstone, Rep on LIANZA Council
Alice Cruickshank, Secretary
Rachel Ardern, Treasurer
Jenny Owens Jenny
Jan Kotlowski
Remy Barbier

We all look forward to catching up with you on 7 February.




Are you thinking about study next year?

Kia ora koutou,

Are you thinking about study next year?  Interested in finding out more about choosing a relevant qualification to future proof your librarian career?

The Open Polytechnic has recently launched a range of new qualifications. The Library and Information Studies (LIS) portfolio has been redesigned in order to align the qualifications with the current focus and future skill requirements of industry. The LIS industries are undergoing a range of paradigm shifts that have direct impact on the provision of tertiary qualifications such as technological developments. It’s a move from the focus on internal processes and collection management to focus on community outreach and engagement, application of international and national standards of practice, new opportunities for facilitating the use of creation of knowledge, increased emphasis on bicultural engagement, combination of physical and digital information resources, organisational and legislative requirements for compliant management of information.

Representatives from the polytechnic will be running two workshops next week to promote the new qualifications plus existing and answer any questions.  The format will be a 15 min presentation, followed by 15 minutes for questions.  There will then be opportunities to have a 1:1 discussion with the presenters if needed.

New qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Library and Information Studies
  • NZ Diploma in Library and Information Studies (Level 5)
  • Graduate Certificate in Library and Information Leadership (Level 7)
  • NZ Certificate in Library and Information Services for Children and Teens (Level 6)
  • NZ Diploma in Records and Information Management (Level 6)

Existing qualifications:

  • Certificate in Literature and Library Services for Children and Young People (Level 6)
  • Diploma in Records and Information Management (Level 6).

The three information sessions will be with Pam Bidwell, Programme Delivery Manager and Jan Irvine, Senior Lecturer – Information and Library Studies:

  • Fendalton Library Boardroom, 4 Jeffreys Road (corner Clyde and Jeffreys Roads), Christchurch – Thursday 9 November, 5.00 – 6.30pm
  • Selwyn District Headquarters, 2 Norman Kirk Drive, Rolleston  – Friday 10 November 8.30 am – 9.30am
  • Sydenham Room, South Library, 66 Colombo Street (corner Hunter Terrace and Colombo Street),
     – Friday 10 November, 12.00 – 1.30pm

Ngā mihi,
Kelsey Johnston
LIANZA Aoraki Regional Councillor

Lianza Open2017. Impressions from a Lianza sponsored librarian.

Kia ora katou katoa

Decolonisation. What in the world does this have to do with libraries? To decolonise, deconstruct, remove barriers, change. What exactly did anthropologist Donna Lanclos mean?

Lianza Open17 Conference took library people through a whirlwind tour of presentations from the musical and magical to academic – from stirring and informative, practical and humorous to nutritional spinach or disguised information literacy tools.

Lianza opened the door, opened hearts and opened minds to connect and collaborate on all things library. Openness provided a portal where anything became possible.

Key note speakers presented inspiring thought provoking sessions but so too did the breakout sessions I attended.

Matt Finch initiated the tone of the conference with the future sound (song) of libraries – suggesting how through innovation and creativity our library services might effectively play out. Auckland Libraries, for example, introduced a programme to support the homeless based on the ‘library as a lounge’ concept.

Similarly from a ‘lounge’ services perspective, the audience asked a panel of migrant voices “what can libraries offer refugees?’   Replies included … “Empathy, a place to meet, dictionaries and a safe repository for our stories”. I know I wasn’t the only one with tears after this session.

And if we are thinking about libraries as a meeting space and a place for stories,  where does language fit in?  In Kai hea rā taku whare kōrero – Where is the house of my voice – keynote speaker Hana O’Regan discussed her personal experience of language as a tool to access knowledge for identity. Reconnecting through language halted that alienation from generations of family history. What a journey that was and continues to be!  Oha atu i koe Hana.

How can libraries be syncretic? How multicultural are library services and access?  I mulled over these questions as anthropologist Donna Lanclos discussed white settlers, colonisation and libraries. I asked myself to what extent libraries are centres of hegemony? Although Open 2017 seriously engaged thinking, the presentations were diverse and surprisingly magical.

But was it magic or can perspective really influence people? Magician Vinh Giang skipped through his life story from refugee status to business and magic, demonstrating tricks along the way. Magically, he showed how perspective leads to influence and change. How would one apply perspective shifts in the library environment?  Vinh left us with the question of who would you choose to be the top five people you most wish to spend time with, to reflect on and be influenced by. Did you choose yours? How hard was that!

From presentations to takeaway resources, Open2017 offered more and more. Keynote speaker, Taikere Norton treated us to a preview of a digital atlas of Ngāi Tahu history. This interactive map displays place names and stories and  promises to be a great visual knowledge resource.

The Ngāi Tahu atlas resource reminded me about the power of Creative Commons.   Keynote speaker Paul Stacey presented and inspired on ways to connect, collaborate and share open works. This aptly demonstrated how libraries could play a pivotal role as “agents for the commons renaissance”. A non-profit commons approach seems deceptively simple but has immense potential to reach many.

The University of Canterbury team (in a breakout session) discussed dishing up the spinach to students. The team totally convinced me that although appearing simple too, Facebook was a statistically effective platform for delivering information literacy. Those post it memos were a great student friendly resource!

Well I could go on about other sessions – about co-designing library spaces by inviting users to collaborate on service design – or about successful reading programmes. However those mentioned were just a few of the Taonga on offer. There were many more.  And if you were there you will have your own version of great sessions.

Kudos must go to the Lianza Committee, for delivering such a punchy topical conference and for the conference app.  Did you vote to bring IFLA to Aotearoa New Zealand? Keep an eye out for Lianza 2019 Conference. What was that about Pacifica?

Finally, make sure you get your sponsorship application in for the next conference.  And now it’s time to get back to the creative business of planning, for as Matt Finch asked, ‘If your library was a song, what song would it be?”

– Michele Ayres

LIANZA Conference – Ingrid Taylor (Aoraki LIANZA sponsorship recipient)

Firstly, I want to thank LIANZA for the opportunity and the sponsorship which enabled me to attend my first LIANZA Conference.

Wow – LIANZA – so much more than I expected, so much more than a conference.

This was my first LIANZA conference and it felt quite amazing to be part of such a big event; to be at a conference where so many like-minded people met from all across the industry, with a passion and enthusiasm for libraries and the people they serve.

I have definitely gained a new appreciation of how large our organization is and how many amazing, educated and qualified people work in it.

‘Open’ was a perfect theme for me – it opened my mind to new people, new ideas and new enthusiasm to take back to my job at my library and to share with my colleagues.

Along with the ‘open’ theme, two other themes really stood out for me and kept recurring as I went to hear speakers either at panels, papers or workshop presentations; or the keynote speakers.  These were the themes of ‘perspective’ and ‘people’.


I’m going to focus a bit on the keynote speakers as I found they were all of a very high caliber, engaging and interesting and I enjoyed their presentations immensely.


Laurinda Thomas reminded us that libraries are changing constantly and quickly.  Can we keep up?  Our key focus has been and should be people and meeting their needs, but also that what we do right now is just as important as what we do in the future.  What we think we are here for and why largely dictates our collections, spaces, services and skills. But we also need to remember who we are here for, their experiences at the library and their needs.

So in thinking about the future, perhaps our question should not be ‘are we relevant?’, but ‘how are we customer focused and information driven?’

We need to have clear and intentional attitudes and appreciate that we know our clients and provide a service for free.

But also, we need to have conversations with people who don’t come to the library, or haven’t come for 10 years …  and how do we get them to come?

We need to make our story make sense to the person receiving it – be visible, be intentional, be impossible to be ignored!

My favourite quote from Laurinda was “Libraries are a promise to society about what we value”.


Matt Finch was one of those speakers who could not be ignored!  Engaging and refreshing; he demonstrated the power of communicating visually, and encouraged us to think outside the square with the way we do or we could deliver services.  He talked about libraries as a social equalizer.

Favourite quote:  “Let clients help to shape our libraries”.


It would not be a surprise to learn that Vinh Giang was one of my favourite speakers!  His entertaining presentation very much emphasized having a new perspective.  Perspective …. such a necessary attribute and yet easily lost in the everyday if we don’t take a step back and re-analyse things.  For me this meant:  why and how are we doing things?  What can we do/deliver better?

His presentation was clever, funny and entertaining, but was more than that, it was refreshing and thought provoking.  We have to be careful we see what is there, not just what we want to see, and learn to look at things in a different way.  Don’t get ‘change blindness’.   And maybe if we can’t move forward; if we think it’s impossible, get someone else’s perspective.  Understand who influences you and collaborate with others.


Hana O’Regan gave us an amazing heartfelt story of her journey about finding out where she was and where she came from – an intrinsic part of herself, and how she wanted to preserve that and pass it down strongly to her own children.  She stated that what we do in this generation affects the next generation, and to think intergenerationally.  We all have our own story.

Our foundation (kai hear a taku whare koreno) and values define our past and shape our future – ‘how can libraries encourage people to access their own whare?’


Paul Stacey was very informative and clearly had a passion for the future of commons.  Commons was something fairly new to me, so it was interesting to learn about this initiative and how it works.

Paul enlightened us as to what commons is, the huge resource it is and its purpose of long-term stewardship, sharing and growing of resources – to retain, re-use, revise, remix and/or redistribute material.

Commons is driven by social good and human connection, independent of the state and market.  To add value, give more than take; develop trust, to not exploit and to use transparency.

A great repository for many things and something to watch in the future I feel.


Takerei Norton from Ngai Tahu took us on an amazing journey of the story behind the beginnings and evolvement of the Ngai Tahu cultural mapping project.

A project not just to research and map place names – but to recognize and record the value of and story behind those names – a rich history and heritage now being preserved.  It included an initiative to lobby the government for protection and preservation of some of these places, and to formally recognize their cultural significance.  I found this inspiring and very exciting, a feeling that this is part of my heritage too, and I very much look forward to the official launch and further growth of this website.


Donna Lanclos also gave a very interesting presentation on what anthropology means to us today – the power of stories – who controls them, who changes them.  She presented anthropology as an interrogation of human practice in order to value it, not to control it.  In relation to libraries she talked about an emphasis on understating people in order to connect with them and not control them.

New Zealand has a colonial past and this was discussed in terms of the library being a colonizing structure.  Her suggestion is that we move away from ‘colonization’ and reframe our systems using syncretism instead of solutionism.  We should be taught by our users what we can do for them.

And by following a decolonization process, the library becomes indelibly of the community, and the people.


All the speakers were very interesting and I was very impressed with them.

Two speakers who especially touched me were Matt Finch and Vinh Giang, with their humility in acknowledging  that who they were was related to where they came from – Vinh Giang stating “when you eat the fruit, remember who planted the tree’ and Matt Finch’s tribute to his friend who had passed away.  But this thread also seemed to run through other presentations as well.

A good reminder to us all that we are the sum of our experience but also that experiences teach us to become better people.

How can we use this to enhance our job skills, our attitudes, our ambition – and indeed – how we relate to our library users?


I came away from conference reminded of a great quote “keep the main thing the main thing” – for me this means our users.  It’s about them, not us.  Let them shape our libraries; our key focus is people and we should be taught by users what we can do for them, meeting them at their point of need, not my point of willingness to help – they are our reason for being here and for all the services we provide.  We need to keep having a fresh perspective and be driven by social good and human connection.  This for me was a major theme running through conference.


In conclusion, Lianza for me was a great meeting of minds, of shared ideas, co-operation and collaboration.  We have a common bond and by sharing our experiences, knowledge, stories and ideas we become more focused, stronger and more confident going forward.


Ingrid Taylor


p.s.  Thanks for such and entertaining MC, and the catering was awesome!

2017 AGM reminder and minutes of 2016 AGM

is a reminder of the Aoraki LIANZA Annual General Meeting to be held on Tuesday 29th August at 6pm in the Sydenham Room, South Library, 66 Colombo Street Christchurch.

The minutes of the 2016 AGM are  here Aoraki-LIANZA-Annual-General-Meeting-16-August-2016

The AGM will be followed by an interactive session on using social media at conferences. Please bring your questions, thoughts, and your mobile devices!

Please send your nominations for committee members to Sarah Fraser by Monday 28 August, or hand in at the AGM. Here is a link to the nomination form: 2017 Aoraki Region Nomination form

RSVP including details of any dietary requirements, by today, Friday 25 August, to Sarah Fraser

Aoraki LIANZA AGM 26 August – more info. & RSVP date

Are you wanting to know more about how social media works at conferences? Do you have skills to share? Bring along your questions, your thoughts, your devices and your expertise to the Aoraki LIANZA AGM and take part in our interactive session on social media at conferences. With #open17 just around the corner this is a great opportunity to find out more about how you can use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram etc to enhance your conference experience! 

A reminder that the AGM is on Tuesday 29 August at 6 pm in the Sydenham Room South Library, 66 Colombo  Street,Christchurch.

Please send your nominations for committee members to Sarah Fraser by Monday 28 August, or hand in at the AGM. Here is a link to the nomination form: 2017 Aoraki Region Nomination form

RSVP including details of any dietary requirements, by Friday 25 August, to Sarah Fraser




LIANZA copyright survey

Please be sure to complete the LIANZA copyright survey when it arrives in your email inbox from Jennifer Campion, Chair of the LIANZA Standing Committee on Copyright. The survey is about how New Zealand’s current copyright regime is working for libraries. The survey will close on Monday 28 August 2017.