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.
Your committee members are:
- Joan Simpson (Chair)
- Kelsey Johnston (Aoraki regional councillor)
- Alice Cruickshank (Secretary)
- Rachel Ardern (Treasurer)
- Jenny Owens
- Jan Kotlowski
- Remy Barbier
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 <http://www.publiclibraries2020.eu/news/generation-code-born-library-2017>
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 <http://www.publiclibraries2020.eu/news/60-books-summer-official-launch>
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.
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.