On Saturday morning I had the privilege of delivering a presentation to the great SLANZA folk of Nelson along with some enthusiastic people from the Nelson Public Library. We assembled at Garin College library and had a lovely morning tea and chatted school libraries, especially the joys and challenges we face in our libraries. I always love getting together with others who share my passion for school libraries and gleaning ideas and new ways of doing things from them, I think we are all pretty similar that way! It was a great mix of primary, college and intermediate school librarians. My presentation was well received and hopefully everyone came away with some ideas to try and some new tools to test out.
Nelson is at the very top of the SLANZA Aoraki Region, Aoraki is a huge region - many hours driving from end to end, and because of that there are many isolated school librarians in their region, as there are in almost every SLANZA region across the country, we acknowledge that like many other organisations we have some very large regions and that some people have to travel a very long way to go to a SLANZA meeting or PD. I got thinking about what SLANZA does to make those who are a long way from the big cities feel more connected to the rest of the membership who have more access to regular meetings and PD.
While SLANZA executive work hard to provide resources which work for every member wherever they are, including traveling to the outer reaches of their region from time to time, there are still those who are isolated and that is where our online presence is so valuable. I believe that every member is important and I hope that we can continue to connect with our members in the far flung areas of the country. The beauty of our online presence is that everyone can connect these days by following #SLANZA on Twitter, joining the SLANZA Facebook page, our Goodreads Group, and especially by reading Collected which is full of great ideas every issue. These are good ways of keeping in touch with your regional representative who is there for all the members in the region, as well as with what is going on nationally and internationally in the world of school libraries.
I would like to encourage those in smaller towns to have a SLANZA get together, like those in Nelson you will have a great time and learn new tricks, your regional rep can help you set it up. I believe in the power of gatherings of school librarians to offer collegial support, great ideas and good discussion. In this online world there is no need to be isolated but sometimes face to face is even better. There are plenty of SLANZA members out there who would love to meet up for coffee, to talk about school library stuff and who have great ideas to share and who are also craving contact with others. If you need help to set up a gathering get in touch with your regional representative, they are there to help you and to represent you. They may be able to provide resources and speakers for your gathering and will advertise it to everyone for you too.
SLANZA values every member and we want you to feel valued, and to find out how you can become more involved.
President of SLANZA