From the outside, the library and information profession may look like a homogenous group. Yet on the inside, libraries are classified by sector, based on the communities that they serve. These are public libraries, school libraries, tertiary libraries and special libraries. Special libraries can be further classified into sub-sets which include health, law, and government.
While all libraries share similar values, such as equitable access to information – a value that has underpinned libraries for millenia – each sector is presented differing challenges from the diverse needs of their communities.
The Hikuwai Region extends from The Bombay Hills, north to Cape Reinga, the tip of the North Island. The name Hikuwai means “The tail fish of Maui” and reflects the importance we give to biculturalism, and the geographical range of our region beyond the confines of Auckland. The Hikuwai regional committee provides a forum for library and information professionals from that region, it also serves as a vehicle to voice librarianship concerns and work towards resolutions. The current membership is around 530 from public libraries, special libraries and polytechnic and university libraries, as well as personal LIANZA members. Whilst its purpose is general and professional, it also provides a space for librarians to discuss a variety of issues both directly and indirectly impacting on the work of our members. Hikuwai provides stimulating study days, weekend schools, camaraderie and professional talks. The committee also grants regular sponsorships to its members to support professional development.
Literally translated, Ikaroa means the long part of the fish. This is thought to be most appropriate for our region as it sprawls from Wairoa to Pahiatua and across the Manawatu to Taranaki Ikaroa Regional Committee provides a voice for the Ikaroa region, for library and information professionals. The current membership is around 143, comprising of librarians from Public Libraries, Polytechnic and University Libraries and other GLAM staff; as well as various Library vendors in the region. The Committee consisting of 8 Information professionals as well as our Ikaroa Councillor Whilst our purpose is general and professional, it also provides a space for librarians to discuss a variety of issues both directly and indirectly impacting on the work of our members. Ikaroa provides stimulating continuing professional development in the form of events, an annual weekend Hui, workshops, conference programmes, Presidential visits, informal mentoring, camaraderie, and discussion listserv. We work with SLANZA and TEL-SIG and other SIGs and groups where we can when arranging events workshops etc. We have monthly Pubrarian get together with likeminded librarians and talk about books, libraries, maybe even the meaning of life, all over a glass of wine/ beer/ non-alcoholic beverage. We have monthly journal club meetings where we discuss BOKs and learning to help keep our revalidation journals up to date over some wonderful coffee and stimulating conversation. We also have a monthly newsletter to keep members informed of what happening in the Ikaroa region and beyond. You can find out more about Ikaroa Region on the LIANZA website: http://lianza.org.nz/ikaroa
Te Whakakitenga aa Kaimai
The Waikato/BOP Region extends from the Bombay Hills, down to Taupo, right out to Gisborne and encompasses the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Coromandel regions. In 2017 we worked with our members and Eddie Neha from Te Ropu Whakahau to change our name to Te Whakakitenga aa Kaimai.
Te Whakakitenga aa Kaimai was formed in 1967 and runs an annual weekend school that is the highlight on many a librarian’s calendar. Each year the two day weekend school is held in a different part of the region to highlight the different sectors and areas that we cover. Our Weekend School has been running for over a decade and it’s a great chance to network and hear from speakers around the region on topics such as digital initiatives, community outreach, LIANZA projects, library projects and library redevelopments. We aim to provide opportunities for our members in these four key areas: networking, leadership, public speaking and professional development.
We catch up regularly in local centres for a casual drink or meal, and Te Whakakitenga aa Kaimai region is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ LianzaWaikatoBOP/ Covering such a huge geographic region we don’t often get together in person, but we’re a close knit bunch of around 200 members – from small town public to large university libraries and everything in between.
What we do in our community gives value to being a member of the LIANZA professional body. As the Te Whakakitenga aa Kaimai committee, we try to focus on that when we plan our events and programmes each year. We strive to be an active region that provides all our members opportunities for professional growth. We are constantly working towards this goal, and with a little time, ingenuity and our wonderful members in our region we believe we can achieve this.
Te Upoko o te Ika Maui
The Wellington regional LIANZA group provides a variety of events which include speakers, visits to other libraries and networking opportunities. We have run a summer visit series for the last few years that has proved popular. This last year with the earthquake affecting many Wellington Libraries the visits were delayed but some speaker events took place instead.
LIANZA Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui supports a networking group in Kapiti and one in the Hutt Valley. The Hutt valley group includes a mix of speakers, visits and get togethers. These groups run their sessions quarterly.
The challenges that the committee has been looking at over the last year are improving communication and how to grow our members. These are challenges facing all the groups that make up LIANZA and the committee does not know if it has found any quick answers. We now tweet when there is something to tweet about, we maintain a Facebook page and website, and we email out to our members. We asked our members how they wished to be contacted; they preferred direct email though we are hoping that the Facebook page will prove popular. A difficulty with this communication is it takes time and effort, as volunteers who all work full time this can be hard to come by. When we run an event we are asking members to bring a friend. We do retain a member only event and discount members for the Weekend School and Library Assistants Day. We will also offer sponsorship to members only for LIANZA conference.
We are a local LIANZA group with 202 members, covering the Nelson-Marlborough, West Coast, Chatham Islands and Canterbury Regions. The Canterbury Region was formed in 1937 and changed its name in June 1995 to Aoraki Region. Aoraki LIANZA provides opportunities for all librarians in the region to get together for professional development, networking and social events. Aoraki LIANZA also gives a voice to all that is going on in libraries around the region through our blog: https://aorakilianzablog. wordpress.com/
LIANZA Otago Southland region committee arranges a range of activities each year, including a Weekend School one year, and the alternate year, a Library Assistants Day. Both these significant events are usually located in a centre, other than Dunedin, so as to be seen being active and engaged around the wider region. Otherwise an event every few months is arranged for our members in Dunedin. A Journal Club breakfast meeting is organised in Dunedin on alternate months, and members around the region are invited to replicate such breakfast meetings in their areas too. The region’s Newsletter ‘LIBROS’ is usually published quarterly, so as to keep the wider regional membership informed of news and events from around the region. Our membership hovers around the 100 mark.
Membership and a sense of belonging is challenging, for a region that is geographically quite large, while on the whole, sparsely populated, apart from several cities, and large towns. Institutions are also not always as supportive as they have been in the past, therefore members think twice before volunteering their time to organise events. The challenges facing our professional organisation are similar to those of many other such organisations.