Nicole has been at Thames Library, on the Coromandel Peninsula, for the past six years. She started her career elsewhere in the GLAMMIR sector, following her interest in New Zealand history into several different roles in community archives and museums. Nicole says she applied for the Helen Zwartz Scholarship because she has reached a point in her career where she wants to go out, learn from the best, and bring back new ideas to benefit her team.
Nicole considers herself a jack-of-all-trades at the library and has been able to develop into their local history resource expert, hone her customer service skills, and shape their ‘voice’ in online communication with the public. Te Rau Ora Library Life has been the lucky recipient of Nicole’s history research skills as she is a key contributor to our History Corner column.
Over a week in November, she visited Whanganui a Tara to learn more about the services at National Library, and how she could make use of what she learned in the Coromandel. Nicole had a great week. One highlight was going down into the basement and seeing the scale and breadth of the collection and learning about the way the books are stored and what was held there.
“I saw one rare book, Aurora Australis, in the Alexander Turnbull Library collection that had been published in Antarctica in 1908 by Ernest Shackleton and the British Antarctic Expedition team. They had learned how to print and produce books before the expedition so they would have a hobby when they were down there. They used what they had on hand – so the cover is made from an old bean box packet and the images were lithographs and etchings they’d done, and stories from their time there.”
She describes herself as a massive fan of Papers Past and the inter-library loan network. She learned a lot from her session with the Papers Past team, learning more about what was being digitised and becoming more accessible. Nicole was pleased to learn about the Kōtui training and how her team could make better use of Kōtui. “There are more resources on Kōtui than we knew about and I can help my team get more out of this shared service.”
Nicole also had the chance to learn from Wellington City Libraries and was impressed by her visit to the Newtown Library, their multi-lingual collection, and how they showcased their multi-lingual children’s picture books. “Thames has a big hospital with a lot of migrant shift workers, and it really got me thinking about what we could be doing to reach out to this group in our community.”
Nicole said one of her highlights was meeting David Zwartz and the rest of Helen Zwartz’s whānau.