Back in July 2021 I chanced upon an advertisement seeking nominations for LIAC commissioners and decided to apply. I thought it would be an interesting way to stay in touch with key issues affecting the library and information sector in Aotearoa and to contribute to the discussion. I was surprised and delighted to be appointed a commissioner and then to be invited by the Minister Hon. Jan Tinetti, to become chair. In December I participated in my first LIAC meeting.
ABOUT THE COMMISSION
The Library and Information Advisory Commission Ngā Kaiwhakamārama i ngā Kohikohinga Kōrero (LIAC) was established as part of the National Library of New Zealand Act 2003. It is a statutory body whose role is to report to the Minister of Internal Affairs on: • library and information issues in New Zealand, including mātauranga Māori, and access to library and information services • the role of library and information services, including mātauranga Māori, in the cultural and economic life of New Zealand • any other matters requested by the Minister of Internal Affairs, issues and trends relating to libraries and information. The Commission meets quarterly and usually meets with the Minister at each of these meetings.
Current commissioners great strength is that commissioners are drawn from a breadth of experience across the GLAM and information sector, not just libraries. Current commissioners are:
• Vanisa Dhiru - Community Manager Internet NZ
• Te Paea Paringatai - Canterbury University Library (currently taking a leave of absence)
• Mark Boddington - Legal Counsel, Scientific Software and Systems Ltd
• Paula Eskett - Manager Waimakariri Libraries
• Dr Spencer Lilley - Associate Professor Information Studies, Victoria University
• Myself, Allison Dobbie - formerly Libraries Manager at Auckland Council.
These brief job titles do no justice to the expertise which this group brings to their roles – the LIAC website will shortly be updated to include full bios. The National Librarian is also always an ex officio member of LIAC, and it is great to have Rachel Esson join us in this role. Appointments are for three years with the option to continue for another term.
THANK YOU TO FORMER COMMISSIONERS
We build on an amazing foundation of former commissioners whose contribution to mātauranga Māori, information policy matters and support of libraries generally has been significant across several different governments. For example, the previous three-year-term of LIAC chaired by David Reeves of Auckland Museum had an important role to play in supporting the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Project (NZLPP), and in advocating for a strengthening of National Libraries independence within the Department of Internal Affairs.
CURRENT FOCUS OF LIAC
There is no shortage of issues for LIAC to turn its attention to. COVID-19 responses have drawn attention to the lack of digital equity and digital NGĀ 21 literacy in Aotearoa New Zealand and information literacy challenges regarding fact or fiction and loss of trust in ‘official’ information. Another big issue is the impact of a rapidly changing digital world on the relative rights of creators, publishers, repositories, and consumers and how each can adjust and adapt. Related topics here include copyright, the future role of libraries, ownership vs licensing of collections, controlled digital lending and open access.
The commission will continue to advocate for Ngā Upoko Tukutuku Māori Subject Headings to be strengthened and applied across the GLAM sector. We will maintain interest in the NZLPP and other major National Library initiatives. We aim to build our awareness of developments in other library sectors too, such as school libraries and tertiary libraries. There is much to do, it will be extremely interesting. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, we rely on networks and wider sector communities to help keep us informed.
ALLISON DOBBIE - chair Allison began her library career in 1975 and has worked in public libraries across the country. She was city librarian for Dunedin and for Auckland, becoming general manager of Auckland Libraries in 2010 leading the amalgamation of library services to its 1.5 million people. She has also worked in academic and special libraries in New Zealand. She holds a Dip NZLS (1974) and an MA in librarianship from Victoria University of Wellington. She was awarded a LIANZA Fellowship in 2010. She has contributed to developments in public library strategy, public lending rights, literacy, national digitisation initiatives, digital access, professional registration, and leadership development. She has also served on the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, Te Ara Online Encyclopedia Advisory Board and Talking Matters advisory committee. In 2019 she was awarded an MNZM for services to library and information management and the arts.
Mark Boddington is an experienced lawyer and knowledge professional. He holds an LLM in information technology law from University of Edinburgh and undergraduate degrees from Victoria University of Wellington. He is currently the Group Legal Services Manager at Scientific Software and Systems. Mark previously worked in academia, the private sector and for an international organisation. He has contributed to publications examining the role of digital media in society and has presented his own research at international conferences and meetings. He os an executive committee member of the Asian Pacific Copyright Association and has served on various boards and panels advising on information technology issues. He is the recipient of several legal awards and is a previous Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow.
Vanisa works at InternetNZ as the community manager. Besides LIAC, she holds a commissioner role with the NZ National Commission of UNESCO, is a member of the He Tohu Advisory Board and a member of the NZ Libraries Partnership Programme Committee. During her career Vanisa has held various leadership roles including CEO of Volunteering New Zealand, Executive Director of 20/20 Trust and President of the National Council of Women NZ. Based in Wellington, she is a member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Global Network, and the Manawatū regional Te Aho Tāmaka Leadership Programme. Her key achievements include being listed on the ‘50 Women of Achievement 2016’, supporting an NGO delegation to the United Nations in 2019, and being a finalist for Young New Zealander of the Year in 2010. She has been an executive judge for the NZ Awards since 2011.
Paula is currently the Waimakariri District Council Libraries Manager. Paula’s library career started at Christchurch City Libraries before a move to Riccarton High School as their library manager, initially at the school, and then as part of the Upper Riccarton School and Community Library. She has carried this passion for learning, teaching and research throughout her career, as a content writer for the Open Polytechnic LIS courses, in Services to Schools at the National Library, her work at CORE Education where she was the first non-teacher to be awarded a CORE Education eFellowship, and her LIANZA advocacy, and as a mentor to colleagues throughout the profession. Paula has served on the LIANZA Aoraki committee, was the convenor of the LIANZA 2017 Conference, and was LIANZA President 2018-9. She has represented LIANZA with IFLA, including our World Library and Information Congress bid, Government ministers, and on multiple forums. Paula has been a vocal advocate of the contribution that libraries make to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She was awarded a LIANZA Fellowship in 2021.
achel Esson is Te Pouhuaki National Librarian and is an ex officio member of the Commission. She was previously Director of Content Services at the National Library of NZ and has held senior and strategic roles in academic and research libraries, including Associate Chief Librarian Research Collections at the Alexander Turnbull Library. Rachel is a professionally registered librarian with a Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Victoria University of Wellington and holds a Certificate in Tertiary Teaching from the University of Otago. She has researched and published in evaluation of library services. Before joining the National Library leadership team, Rachel was Associate Director, Library Academic Services at Victoria University and Medical Librarian (University of Otago, Wellington). She is a LIANZA Past President and was awarded a LIANZA Fellowship in 2019.
Dr Spencer Lilley is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Management at Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to this he had academic positions at Massey University in the School of Māori Knowledge. He trained professionally as a librarian and worked in special and academic libraries from 1989 – 2011. Dr Lilley’s research interests are Māori/indigenous information behaviour, specifically focusing on the indigenisation of cultural heritage institutions and professions. He was the recipient of a Marsden Fast Start Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2018 to investigate how galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs) are contributing to the revitalisation of te reo Māori (Māori language). He is a former LIANZA President and was awarded a LIANZA Fellowship in 2010. Spencer is also a founding member, and honorary life member of Te Rōpū Whakahau and a professional member of the Association for Information Science & Technology. Spencer’s whakapapa includes Te Atiawa, Muaūpoko and Ngāpuhi, Samoan and Scottish ancestry.