School Library Network meetings were established by the National Library’s Services to Schools many years ago and continue to be highly valued while evolving to respond to changing needs. The networks are run around New Zealand by the Services to Schools National Capability Facilitators at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa. Support for the school library networks is just one of the ways Services to Schools supports school librarians and the development of school libraries.
The networks are facilitated regularly, either face to face or, in more recent times online. They are open to, and often attended, by public libraries staff.
The purpose of the school library network meetings is to:
- foster, maintain and facilitate relationships between staff from different schools (librarians, teachers and principals), and others supporting education (such as public libraries)
- provide professional development on a wide range of topics including key focus areas of reading engagement, digital literacy and developing school libraries to build capability and knowledge
- showcase the other services and resources available through the National Library and Services to Schools including our national lending service and the extensive digital resources continually being updated for teaching and learning (including around the Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum)
- respond to specific queries and requests for support, or as I like to call it, using the collective hive mind to brainstorm solutions to challenges faced at a local level
- encourage socialising, readers advisory and the exchange of ideas and resource sharing between attendees
The mahi that we do at these meetings can often be relevant to public libraries. The networks are also a great place to meet people, find out what is happening in each other’s worlds and identify opportunities to work together. And in some areas there is even home baking!
Kei roto I te kotahitanga tō tātau kaha – We’re stronger together is a key principle of the Department of Internal Affairs (of which National Library is part).
Senior Specialist Miriam Tuohy touched on this in her LIANZA 2019 conference presentation:
‘…we can’t do everything on our own. There is great strength in being part of a bigger network. Schools alone can’t address all the issues or challenges facing children and their families.’
‘I believe we are all in the same waka, we all want… our tamariki and rangatahi to build healthy positive relationships with reading and libraries to develop lifelong readers and library users, we serve the same community.’
If you would like to know more and attend a network meeting in your area, you can get in touch with me directly email@example.com or contact us 0800 542 5463 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put you in touch with your local facilitator. We have 61 school library network groups around New Zealand with most having a meeting each term so there is sure to be something happening near you.
This Term 2 Network Meeting was focused on Supporting the Aotearoa New Zealand Histories Curriculum. Groups are discussing the He Meka! He Meka! cards. It was attended by two librarians from Christchurch City Libraries.