For as long as it has been around I have been a member of SLANZA, I’ve been sitting around the National Executive table for about 6 years, and when not on the NE I’ve worked on side projects with members of the NE. It is rewarding, fulfilling and time consuming work but something I believe has made a difference for our members. I really believe that school libraries make a difference to the educational outcomes of students in New Zealand, I believe that the work we do every day is important, and that the students we work with would tell you that this is true. But too few of our teaching staff know what we do, and can do for them, and we need that to change, and we need our members to buy into that.
Around the National Executive table there is great talent and all kinds of awesome new style librarianship, but we’ve got members stuck in the old days, members who just don’t want to embrace the new ways and those people are the ones who put us all at risk. So, what I’d like to do is have a constant programme of embracing our members needs, driving everyone forward and using the power of the Pool of Talent, and our excellent NE to raise the level of librarianship and useful technical skills in our members. This is already underway in some regions, but I want this to be the case in every single region and for every member in every region.
I believe that we run the danger of being irrelevant to our members unless we do the things that they want, combined with the things they really need. While we know that the organisation has little to no clout in some Educational circles especially with the Ministry, I do know that it is a valued organisation to our members, and that we have done, and will continue to do fantastic things for these members. We want people to see that we offer great real world PD, a fantastic publication, we have great connections with other agencies, that those on Exec are working hard for the members in a visible way, and that we are just like they are, with all the everyday issues that they have, but that we are striving to provide resources, networks, PD and connections which will make a school librarians job easier, and more meaningful to schools and students. Also that we do this all in our own time, voluntarily and that we do it because we care.
I want our members to know that there is a network of people working in school libraries just like they are, and who are at the end of the phone, or an email away, who can help or give a word of advice from at the coalface, or who have someone in their network who can help. A person who views the world from the same point of view as they do and who may have experienced what they are experiencing right now. I want people to see SLANZA as a network of peers who care. This is especially important for those who are new in school libraries, and this is where I see the regional representatives being especially important.
When I finish my term I would like there to be two new resources that we can use in our libraries. I want to see all regions doing cool things for their members, providing speakers, skills, new ideas and new ways of doing things, things which showcase members with great skills, things which celebrate school libraries and school librarians. Lets be the SLANZA our members want us to be! Busy, focussed. visible and active. Lets work with other organisations to make new things happen in the school library world in New Zealand. Lets make a difference!
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