While very aware of how lucky I was to have this opportunity, to meet and make a personal connection with the Minister on behalf of our association, I had been just a little nervous at the thought. From the moment that we were ushered into her office, it became obvious that we were among friends. The glass display cabinets lining her walls were full of colourfully displayed children’s picture books and she greeted us with warmth and genuine interest. She is passionate about literacy, equity and social justice and by extension, books, reading and libraries.
Topics discussed were, among others, LIANZA’s role as the lead library professional association, providing professional support to the whole library and information sector, well placed to be her main point of contact for connection, information and support regarding all things library. Of course, she was already aware of the NZ Libraries Partnership Programme and we discussed the way in which LIANZA is a key partner, working with the National Library in the delivery of these initiatives. The importance of schools being able to easily access library services. She was very interested in how libraries contribute to learning and is was keen to learn more about the range of options possible in this space. She was also interested to get an idea of the ratio of male to female staff working in libraries!
Long story short, the meeting was a great success and it really felt like a positive foundation for the future. We were all so absorbed in the conversation that we totally forgot to ask the Minister if she would indulge us with a photo of LIANZA’s current and Immediate Past President and President-elect, with the Hon. Jan Tinetti, in front of her wonderful picture book-filled shelves in her office in the Beehive. Luck would have it that Cellia Joe-Olsen was able to take the picture above to mark the occasion!