Region representatives met virtually for the first time this weekend on Google Hangouts. This involved members having access to suitable technology and broadband. Most found it better than expected but some members had difficulty with their devices or internet connection causing intermittent sound or video disruption. This did not stop us from getting through the agenda while working from home. The success of this trial means in future we will replace one face to face meeting each year saving money and wear and tear on NE members.
Our discussion about communication to members was significant as this was our current communication leader Lisa Salter’s last meeting. Cathy Kennedy, member for Aoraki has volunteered to fill this position and we are confident in her ability to engage with our members.
Greig Daniels took over as editor of Collected magazine at the last meeting and his first issue will be out very soon. In a discussion around what our members get with their membership money it was decided to investigate sharing the magazine with members only in the first instance, with public access after a period of time. More news about this idea will be sent to members once investigated fully.
The NE is pleased with our progress in developing external partnerships with other library focus organisations. For the first time ever SLANZA members have been offered LIANZA member rates to their 2014 conference in Auckland. At this stage staff from 20 school libraries have registered to attend. We are currently working on updating our Memorandum of Understanding with LIANZA and we have been offered space at their conference stand. We are working with the Association of Public Library Managers (APLM), currently focused on a Summer Reading initiative. We have accepted an invitation to join APLM in a national Digital Literacy working party.
Karen Clarke presented a financial report and to date we are working to budget. While we have goals of raising membership to increase funds, most regions report that it is difficult to get information about library staffing in schools. There is also a general feeling that there are less school library staff overall as schools are changing the way they staff their libraries, particularly in the primary sector.
SLANZA is committed to repeating our successful reading survey this year and hope to gather and present the information earlier in Term 4 this year. It will be good to see this year’s lists of most popular books, authors and series in New Zealand schools. It may feed into your buying plan for next year or make it in your school newsletter as advice for Christmas gift purchases.
Cathy Kennedy reported that the 2015 conference committee is well into the planning of next September’s event. The committee had a brain storming session to balance the different types of speakers and workshops, so that there is something for everyone, at every level of library staff. We are all looking forward to another successful SLANZA conference.
The virtual meeting was a success and feedback will give us the opportunity to improve on the concept over time. I for one really enjoyed it, it saved me a weekend away from home, the stress of travel and while I was engaged in the meeting I also got my ironing done.
Communications Leader (outgoing)
Welcome back for Term 1, 2014
Another year of working with young learners lies before us. I hope you, like me, are feeling a little thrill of excitement at the thought of all those young minds excitedly heading towards your library doors seeking knowledge, looking for help finding and using resources and new books to read. I hope that you are entering the year rested, well read and up for anything.
Your SLANZA executive had a good break over the holidays and although we were working quietly on a few projects, which we plan to introduce to you later in the year, we mostly read a lot and spent time having a holiday. This relaxing time has come to an end now though as we launch into a busy time on our projects. Our first National Executive meeting for the year is in February on the 22nd and 23rd, and as usual if you have matters you would like discussed at the National Executive level, we encourage you to get your regional representative to bring them to our attention. Your local representative is your voice on the National Executive.
We were very excited about our project to find out the most popular reads for school students in New Zealand at the end of last year. We will be doing this project again, possibly taking it larger in 2014. School librarians are the reading experts in your school, we know what the students like to read and we want everyone to know that.
Our big project early in the year is a membership drive. We have a team of NE members working on this. They are targeting new schools, those who have been members and dropped off and also primary schools. We want to encourage those people who may not work in school libraries, but who are interested in the work we do, to join us as members. We are also interested in recruiting new business members as they help to pay for our magazine Collected and our planned marketing tools for you to use in your libraries.
Regions have begun planning for their term one events, some of these are very large and impressive events, and I encourage you to attend if you possibly can. Remember it can be a really valuable experience attending a different regions event, why not get a road trip together! The AGM this year will be held in July this year in Dunedin as part of our weekend school which was so successful in the past. There will be lots of detail about this coming your way over the coming months as we organise speakers and workshops.
We have been doing some work on our processes, particularly the way that decisions of the National Executive are recorded. We hope to make life easier for National Executives of the future. Many thanks to Rosalba Finnerty for her help with this over the holidays. We will be offering our very successful professional development courses again this year, and we are looking towards extending these to offer more exciting options. We are looking at different ways we can deliver courses to our members and using different platforms to allow members access to regular PD regardless of location, targeting those beginning in school librarianship, as well as those who are very experienced. National Exec members will be presenting at various conferences and workshops during the year and if you are attending one of these presentations do come and say hello and have a chat. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on our activities and we hope that you enjoy and get great value from the community SLANZA provides for you.
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
Regularly reading school library and education related journals and blogs is one of the best - and simplest - ways you can undertake professional development.
There is a wealth of information freely available online that can help you find fresh ideas, inspiring people, great tools, book reviews and more.
But where to begin? To make it easy for you to incorporate professional reading into your library routine, we have put together a bundle of RSS feeds that are perfect for school librarians. RSS feeds help you keep up to date with all the newest content from a website, by sending updates to you as they happen.
To get started with our feed bundle, you will need
When you have imported the OPML file, your feed reader will be full of blog posts, and at first that can seem overwhelming. Your application will have an option to "Mark All as Read", and you might want to do this initially to clear the back-log, and then start reading later in the day with fewer, fresh posts to read. Removing any individual feeds that aren't pertinent to your situation will help keep things manageable, too.
If you’re not already using RSS feeds to make professional reading a regular part of your library learning, there’s no time like the present to get started!
Please leave suggestions in the comments here if you have any ‘essential reads’ that you think we should add to our bundle of feeds.
Professional Development Team Leader
Instructions for importing an OPML file into a variety of applications can be found here.
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!
The 2013 Annual General Meeting for the School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa is to be held at 1pm on Tuesday July 16th, during the SLANZA conference at Wellington Girls' College.
All members are invited to attend the AGM. This year's meeting will include changes to the SLANZA constitution*, and welcoming incoming president Bridget Schaumann. A full agenda will be available to members prior to the meeting.
Apologies may be sent to SLANZA's Administrative Officer (email@example.com) by 5pm, Friday July 12th.
* SLANZA's current constitution can be found on the "About us" page.
It has been a very busy 2013 so far for the National Executive, so I thought I'd give you an update about some of the projects we've been involved in.
Most of us have a really good break over the Christmas break, but for some people their focus was the creation of SLANZA's new reading website. Bridget Schaumann and Miriam Tuohy led a team who evaluated all the lists, identified double ups and inconsistencies and re-formatted everything. Miriam created the site and layout and then the team started the mammoth task of transferring all the lists to the new site. Sounds simple, but it was months of work for all involved. However, I am sure you will agree that it was well worth it!
Miriam's other major project has been the development of the SLANZA online Connected Librarians professional development course. She was investigating the idea of Library Badges in recognition of skills learnt, and came up with the Connected Librarians concept. The National Executive wanted to provide online professional development, and thanks to Miriam's perseverance, there are some very lucky SLANZA members who are starting this exciting course soon. We were completely amazed at the amount of interest shown by you, and do intend to run it again, so all the waiting list have an opportunity to do the course.
One of my roles as President is to represent SLANZA in a variety of forums, and one of those forums is the cross sector Strategic Advisory Forum (SAF). SAF meets three times a year, to talk with the National Librarian and each other regarding issues across the sector. As a result of a recent meeting, LIANZA convened a cross association day to identify how each of the library associations across New Zealand could work more closely, support each other and try to stop re-inventing the wheel. Miriam and I represented SLANZA, and it was very interesting to see the commonalities between associations. One of the issues we raised was the cost of PD provided by LIANZA. We also pushed for a reduced LIANZA conference rate for SLANZA members, and that is being considered by LIANZA Council.
The Executive has been working on the SLANZA Constitution, as things have moved on since 2000 and it needed to be updated to reflect new ways of working and communicating. Greig Daniels has been leading this project, with an updated Constitution now lodged with the Companies Office. As a result, a number of amendments will be presented for ratification at the upcoming national AGM during the Wellington Conference.
One group of very busy people is the Wellington Conference Committee, and I'd like to thank them for all the organisation and planning, as the conference is going to be great. Karen Clarke is the Wellington representative on the Executive, as well as being part of the Conference Committee, and is the conference liaison too. Karen has been doing a sterling job of keeping us up to date with what has been planned, and I am really looking forward to attending such an exciting conference!
Membership is a big part of SLANZA and we have a number of people involved with it. Carole Gardiner, our new Administration Officer, has been working through some very tangled membership renewals, and has done a brilliant job of sorting this out for us. If you have not received a renewal, please email Carole (firstname.lastname@example.org) as we may not have a correct or current email address for you. Life and Business memberships were instituted last year, and Lisa Salter has taken responsibility for these, with Greig taking on the SLANZA awards. If you know someone that you feel should be granted life membership, or receive an award, please do nominate them by June 20th. More information is available on the SLANZA website.
Lisa has also taken on the Editor's role for Collected magazine, working with others on the Executive, and is currently pulling together all the articles written for the magazine, which will be published later this term. The upcoming edition will be all about reading, and having done some proof-reading, I know you are going to find it
The Executive is also very grateful to Rosalba Finnerty, the first member of the SLANZA Pool of Talent. Rosalba has taken over the SLANZA archives, and is sorting through several years of documents, so our history can be preserved.
I hope this gives you an insight into some of the activities of your National Executive and the work we do for you.
We are looking for volunteers for SLANZA projects!
The SLANZA Executive is busy working on a number of projects for our members, but there are only a few of us, and we know that out in the school library community there are a large number of talented people in the regions, who might be interested in helping out on our projects. To that end, we would like to offer the opportunity to contribute, to get involved, to help out and give a little to the school library community of New Zealand. We will call this the SLANZA Pool of Talent!
The National Exec work really hard for you, but they have limited time, have portfolios full of work, and would like to make things happen a little faster than they would otherwise.
These are the areas where we could use your help:
Collected: We want articles from which your colleagues will glean ideas:
Contacts: Do you have connections that SLANZA can use? Perhaps you have connections at the Ministry of Education, in the publishing industry in other industries which may be of help to your fellow librarians? What can you do to share the news about school libraries in New Zealand?
Are you good with internet projects? Do you have ICT skills to burn? Could you work on a team developing new resources to help upskill your colleagues? Could you take on a project for us and work as part of the SLANZA team? You won’t get paid but the feeling of satisfaction is great.
Can you teach new tricks? Are you good at teaching people new tricks? Are you comfortable sharing your skills?
Design or photography skills? Do you have experience using design or imaging software (e.g. Indesign or Photoshop)? Are you good at photography? Do you have skills which we could use for making professional posters, bookmarks or other cool products? Then we would like to hear from you. Take a look at this or this to get an idea of what we mean.
Research skills? Are you planning a Phd? A Masters? We would love you to hear from anyone undertaking library studies who might be interested in researching school libraries in New Zealand. We would love you to find links between reading and achievement. How to make inquiry learning really work in a school library. What do successful school librarians offer? What makes a successful school librarian? Evidence of school libraries as vital to the educational achievement of our students.
Have you revalidated? Could you share your learning journal as an exemplar. Could you organise meetings in your local area for sharing your learning and experiences.
Know an author? Do you have a tame author that people in your region can have in their schools? Or who would write something for SLANZA.
Other? Do you have other skills you can offer us? As our organisation grows and we endeavour to offer more services to our members and engage more with the community you may have something extra to offer. Tell us about it.
There may be things we have missed here. Things you know you could offer. Get in contact with us. Send an email to SLANZA (email@example.com) and detail your skills and talents and we will put you on our database of skill providers, and organise some teams of talent.
If you’d like to find out more, or you’re ready to offer your help now, please contact Miriam (Miriam.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Bridget (email@example.com).
Wow, we must have hit on a nerve out there. We offered our new online PD course yesterday hoping to get 15 people and we now have more than 15 people! This is after less than 24 hours. So we are closing the applications now for the first session, and will consider how we can expand the programme.
Thank you for your support, your enthusiasm and your understanding. We will get back to you soon.
Lisa Salter RLIANZA
SLANZA Communications Leader
Last year we surveyed our members about the type of Professional Development you’d like. The results were overwhelming - 80% of respondents wanted PD about online tools, well ahead of every other category in the survey.
SLANZA’s professional development team have been working on ways to meet this need with PD that is not expensive or too time consuming, and we’re very pleased to announce Level 1 of our online PD initiative “SLANZA Connected Librarians”.
In this course you will learn about a selection of online tools to use and to share with your school community. Topics include professional reading, social bookmarking, community connections, and more.
This course is designed by New Zealand school librarians, for school librarians - those just starting out with online tools, who are ready and willing to try new things.
The course is free for SLANZA members. Registrations are open now, but places are limited to the first 15 registrations; those people will receive their invitation to our learning community in Week 2 of Term 2, and the course begins in Week 3 of Term 2.
More information about the course, including online registration, is available here.