Below is my final President's report, presented at the recent AGM.
Thank you all very much for coming to today's AGM. This AGM is an important one for our organisation as there are several amendments to the Constitution that need to be presented for ratification. Once the amendments have been ratified, the Constitution can be altered to reflect those and the updated Constitution will be lodged with the Companies Office. We will move on to that part of the agenda after the reports from myself and Carole Gardiner, our Administrative Officer but you need to know that if the amendments and financial reports are not accepted, SLANZA will cease to exist as an entity from July 31st as we will not have a current Constitution and financial reports filed with the Companies Office, as required by law.This is because the 2011 financial report compiled by Deloitte was not presented as it had inaccuracies, so it has had to be re-done and presented now.
I hope you all enjoyed the Awards presentation last night. It was a privilege to have made the presentations both last year and this year. We have a small team who co-ordinate and organise the Awards and they do a lot of work in a very short time. Thank you to Lisa Salter for convening the Awards committee and making sure I had everything I needed to be able to present the awards.
The last year has been an extremely busy one for the National Executive. On your behalf, we submitted a response to the Inquiry into 21st century learning environments. Michele Whiting and I spoke to the Select Committee about our submission, with our key messages being the absolute necessity of school libraries to support student learning and achievement and the need to fund and staff them adequately to do this, and the disparity that now exists for our schools. This message was reflected in the Inquiry's report, however it has no ability to effect change in the ways schools are funded or resourced.
We also were invited to contribute to an article in the Education Gazette about the transformation of school libraries. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to outline how school libraries can support student learning and achievement as well as identifying how new technologies can make us work smarter so we can work with students and teachers far more.
It is very important to us that members can access information to support them in a variety of ways. Collected continues to be an absolute stand out every issue, and I'd like to thank Donna Watt for her leadership in starting up Collected. As Donna has now stepped down from SLANZA, we owe a big thank you to Lisa Salter for taking over from Donna so capably, as the editor of Collected and also as our Communications Leader. Lisa will be calling for articles for the next issue of Collected, which is all about conference, so I hope you'll contribute something. We'd like to know what you discovered, how the conference has made a difference to your professional practice, what you thought was interesting or challenging and how that has affected you.
A massive vote of thanks is due to Miriam Tuohy, our technical guru, being responsible for the crisp design of Collected. Miriam is also responsible for the update of the SLANZA website, which is a giant step forward in usability and ease of navigation for all users.
Many of you will have used the SLANZA wiki, especially the reading lists. These were very useful but the format wasn't the most user friendly. I'd like to express my appreciation to Miriam, Bridget Schaumann, Karen Carswell and Carole Gardiner, for all the work they put in over the summer break, tidying up lists, collating and combining, transcribing everything over to the new reading website. I think you'll all agree that the new site is magnificent - so user friendly, attractive and current. it is a really valuable resource which I hope you are all sharing with your staff and students.
And as if Miriam wasn't busy enough, she also spent a lot of time over the summer investigating badges for professional development. We were really excited when Miriam demonstrated her brilliant concept for SLANZA online PD and I am really grateful to Miriam and the test team who worked through the modules as guinea pigs, sorry - beta testers! I know that we were totally oversubscribed and that lots of you missed out, but it is going to be run again and we will work through the wait list. Some people have asked what value do you get for being a member that non- members won't have and that is why you must be a member to participate in the online PD.
As your President, I've been representing you on the Steering Group for the National Year of Reading, or Word Up! as it was renamed last year. Despite trying very hard to obtain sponsorship and partners from the business world, we were unsuccessful and so a year of reading is now on hold. However the Steering Group of NL, APLM, LIANZA, SLANZA, TRW, the Book Council has not given up and we are now looking at National Reading Initiatives, because together we are stronger and able to accomplish so much more.
One area of focus is the concept of a nationwide summer reading programme for summer 2014-15. The Book Council of New Zealand is investigating exactly what happens for summer reading everywhere across the country, so we can work out who is going to need what if our idea is to come to fruition. Very soon you will be sent an email from your regional representative which will have a link to a survey from the Book Council. Please fill it in if you do any kind of summer reading with your students. It doesn't have to be a big programme, as we want to get the scale of what is happening everywhere. I would love it if we had a significant response from those in school libraries, to show that we are aware of the need to keep kids reading and we are doing just that!
Another focus has been strengthening links with other groups in the library sector. I attend regular meetings of the Strategic Advisory Forum, convened by National Library, which is attended by representatives from LIANZA, TE Ropu Whakahau, NZLLA, APLM, Open Polytechnic, CONZUL, Health SIG. We share what is happening in our sector and look at ways we can support each other. For example, LIANZA wanted to know how they could attract more people in school, libraries to attend their conferences, so we had a frank discussion about relevance, cost, timing etc. I previewed the reading website and the online PD modules to SAF and everyone was most impressed because there is a bit of a perception that we are the poor relation at the table! OK, so we are in comparative terms, but in terms of looking after our members by providing affordable targeted PD, we are ahead of the game.
LIANZA convened a cross sector meeting in April which Miriam and I attended. The focus was the similarities and differences between organisations, how we can work together and not reinvent the wheel. It is an opportunity to start having closer links with LIANZA and Te Ropu Whakahau especially and we are continuing to talk to them about how we can potentially work together.
The Conference committee have done a superb job. We are going to thank them properly tomorrow, but I just wanted to acknowledge them now, as part of the formal record of the AGM, as this is a truly great conference.
We are now going to move to the financial reports and appointment of the Auditor
Membership report (Carole Gardiner, Administration Officer)
Ratification of changes to Constitution
Any other business
There are many people who have given a huge amount to time to SLANZA but have now stepped off regional committees or the National Executive and I'd like to acknowledge them now.
I owe a huge vote of thanks to all on the National Executive, for their dedication, hard work, willingness to take on new projects, pitching in to sort out problems and good humour! We've had a difficult time recently with the administrative areas of SLANZA and have discovered that if this area isn't running smoothly, neither are we. The biggest vote of thanks goes to our new Administration Officer, Carole Gardiner, as without her persistence, digging into the difficulties, and sorting out the chaos we found ourselves in, we would not be here today. (And that isn't actually a joke....)
Carole has spent countless hours sorting out exactly what we needed to do to move forward and I am very very grateful. She is the perfect person for this role and we are very lucky to have her working with us.
As your President, I've tried really hard to visit all the regions and almost succeeded! Thank you all so much for the privilege of leading SLANZA. I've had so many opportunities to participate in such a range of events and projects over the last two years and intend to continue supporting SLANZA at a national and regional level.
Our organisation continues in good heart, with a truly dedicated group making up the National Executive. We have new people coming on to the Executive now and I'd like to formally welcome Saskia Hill, Michelle Simms and Trish Webster to the Executive.
It is time for me to perform my last duty as President and hand over to our new President, Bridget Schaumann. Bridget is the librarian and careers advisor at Kings High in Dunedin and has been part of SLANZA nationally and regionally for a number of years, as well as being a moving force in the development of the SLANZA wiki, the reading website and our social media presence. This is actually Bridget's second time on the National Executive and we are so lucky that she has generously chosen to provide her guidance, knowledge and enthusiasm to us.
It gives me great joy to pass on to Bridget the official SLANZA taonga and the mantle of SLANZA Presidency because we all know she is going to be brilliant!