Not many New Zealanders may have joined the IFLA General Assembly last night at 1-3am NZT. In normal circumstances this assembly would have been held at the world library and information congress in Dublin and many New Zealanders would have been at the assembly in-person to support (aka cheer, holler, sing) Winston Roberts as he received an IFLA Scroll of Appreciation.
Winston Roberts has not only been one of the most active figures in New Zealand, but also in the global library field for many years. In doing so, he has made a major contribution to international librarianship, and richly deserves the IFLA Scroll of Appreciation. LIANZA congratulates Winston on receiving this significant international award!
Three years later, he moved on to work at IFLA Headquarters, coordinating IFLA’s highly diverse work to support the profession as a whole. In this role, he was able to build up links for the Federation in the Asia Oceania region, making IFLA more of a reality for librarians here, as well as encourage the development of key new standards and good practices which have shaped the way libraries work ever since.
We have benefitted from his energy in New Zealand Aotearoa since the millennium, when he came to work at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa. In this role, he has not only strengthened the National Library’s engagement in policy issues, but has also worked hard to raise the profile of IFLA and international librarianship within the country, as well as promoting New Zealand Aotearoa abroad. In particular, his strong engagement in IFLA’s Asia-Oceania section has brought many colleagues from across the region to the country, and allowed many local librarians to learn from others.
Winston has also worked hard to build understanding of the importance of engaging in policy and advocacy work. His close work with Internet NZ has meant not only that the digital and library fields are better connected, but has also supported libraries globally, notably through the inclusion of internet access in libraries as a key action line from the World Summit on the Information Society process.
Winston has also made a major contribution to IFLA itself. Outside of the Asia-Oceania Section, he has been a long-standing member of the National Libraries Section on behalf of the National Library of New Zealand, as well as a Secretary of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries. I know from colleagues how much his energy and dedication has been appreciated in these roles.
Similarly, he has very directly encouraged international linkages between libraries through his work with IFLA’s Special Interest Group on National Organisations and International Relations from 2015 and 2017, and then promoted engagement in policy by leading the Group on National Information and Library Policy in 2019-21.
Winston Roberts is more than deserving of the IFLA Scroll of Appreciation, and will continue to set an example of international librarianship for some time to come.