Hi my name is Katie Lumsden, and I seem to have become the coordinator of LIANZA’s newest SIG for librarians serving customers with disabilities.
It is amazing what one short email to Ana Pickering at LIANZA head office can result in. Because that is all it took for the SIG to form. The idea for the SIG had been bouncing around for a couple of years, but never seemed to actually happen. By November last year, I got frustrated as the idea just won’t go away. So I wrote, I think, a one line email to Ana. Almost by return of mail, back came a very positive and supportive email from Ana saying what a good idea and why not? So the rest, as they say, is history. Hopefully a more detailed history to be presented at the LIANZA conference in October. So if anyone else has any other good ideas for our profession, I strongly recommend an email to Ana!
Another key person was Philip Clarke, Head of Library and Information Resourcing at IHC New Zealand Incorporated. He was the first Librarian I knew was a specialist in this area that I discussed the idea for the group with. He was very supportive of the idea, keen to participate, and encouraged me to go ahead.
Since those initial emails and phone calls, the group now has 12 members from across the country and from a variety of libraries, although none from a school or university library if anyone is interested?
The group now has the proposed aims. Proposed is an important terms as these will develop as the group develops, so are not set in stone.
Proposed Statement of aims:
- To develop the knowledge and skills of New Zealand Aotearoa library staff and enable them to provide people with disabilities an equitable and inclusive library experience.
- To promote libraries as accessible and inclusive spaces.
- To develop online resource lists and training sessions/discussions to be held in libraries or at conferences, online or face-to-face for New Zealand Aotearoa library staff.
- To work in a supportive, sharing and inclusive environment.
- To develop an understanding of how these aims are impacted by our obligations under Te Tiriti O Waitangi.
So what next for the group?
To start on developing the list of online resources, to present at the LIANZA 2019 Conference (fingers crossed the paper is accepted), and to welcome all new members.