Interviews


Did you know that Richard Stallman was interviewed by Kim Hill on Saturday?  I missed it but ended up listening to the podcast yesterday.  It’s pretty interesting listening.  He covers a lot of topics including 911 “conspiracy” theories, airport security in the US and why he considers some kinds of electronic surveillance to be deeply disconcerting in terms of the way they put a lot of power into the hands of law enforcement (which the public then has to take on trust will not be exploited).  Pretty thought-provoking stuff.

His views are perhaps on the more extreme end of the range to my own but I think the basic principle of his arguments are sound.  Kim Hill however seemed quite annoyed with him, repeatedly accusing him of saying things he hadn’t and extrapolating wildly though I suppose it gave him the opportunity to clearly define what his specific view was on several things, but why so grumpy, Kim?  Another surprise is that he sounds a bit like Woody Allen (which is something that a fellow librarian pointed out, and I have to agree).

If you’re looking for a little background radio to listen to this afternoon, why not check out the podcast for yourself? It runs to just over 39 minutes and LIANZA Conference gets a mention (yay!).  I can’t wait to hear what he says in his keynote address.  I wager it’ll generate quite a lot of debate so make sure you get along to that one.  You don’t want to miss out on the “watercooler conversation” that’ll go on afterwards.

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Last week we announced the winner of our Early Bird Registration competition – Andrew Robinson.

He was one of 94 first-time LIANZA members who joined up between 1 June & 31 July 2009, and was therefore entered into the draw to win a full Early Bird Registration.

We thought you might be interested to know a bit more about our lucky winner of this competition, so I threw some curly questions his way last week and now you get to find out a little more about the mysterious Andrew Robinson, Libraries & Customer Services Manager, South Waikato District Council.

Andrew Robinson, South Waikato District Council

Andrew Robinson, South Waikato District Council

So, how long have you worked in the library sector?

“On and off for about 12 years, just started my second year as manager. I have been out of the library scene for a while but definitely enjoying being back.”

What’s the coolest job title you have had?

“Apart from my current one? Systems Administrator Linux/Unix”

What did you want to be when you grew up?

“A professional Basketball player, no wait an Astronaut, nah definitely Batman”

What’s your favourite blog?

“Too busy for blogging but ramonesblog.com – great blog for the world’s greatest band. Of course if someone starts a blog about being a basketball playing superhero who flies a space shuttle – I’m in!”

Favourite NZ holiday destination?

“Anywhere there’s sun, surf and sand.”

Last movie you saw (and did you love it or hate it?)

“Harry Potter and the Half blood prince, it was decidedly average. As usual in Book vs Movie, Book wins!”

Last book you read (and who would you recommend it to?)

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb, pub. 2008. Awesome story, fans of Jodi Picoult will enjoy but it has a lot more substance.”

What was the last book you didn’t finish?

Dune…twice. 3rd time lucky maybe” (mj interjects – my response for this is Lord of the Rings, I can’t finish even the first book)

Have you ever been to Christchurch? If yes, what do you remember most about it? If no, what do you know about Christchurch?

“No I haven’t been to Christchurch so really looking forward to it and to be honest my knowledge is sketchy. I know they have a river and some hills, a cathedral, a retired Wizard, and an average rugby team.”

What are you looking forward to at this year’s Conference?

“I always enjoy the keynote speakers and I’m looking forward to hearing Richard Stallman. What’s particularly beneficial to me is the exposure to what’s happening in libraries and the trends that are emerging, it should be a great conference!”

Thanks to Andrew for answering our questions. We’re hoping that he’ll take away more than a few sketchy ideas about a southern city with a retired wizard and a cathedral.

If you have any other questions that you’d like to throw Andrew’s way, post them here and we’ll see if we can’t get an answer out of him before conference.

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ChipsAs a bit of a conference newbie (I’ve only been to one and seemed to spend most of the time being either frantic or tired) I’m a bit confused by this conference/un-conference stuff.  Sally’s post earlier in the year helped some but I thought going to the source (or as it turns out, sauce) might be a good idea.  And so it was that Elizabeth Whyte and Paul Sutherland, facilitators of a “partcipant driven event” at this year’s conference, over a pint and some chips (see sauce-laden picture), gave me the lowdown on an their un-un-conference session.

Unconference, as I rather feebly understand it, is an unstructured, interactive approach to communicating that breaks with the traditional “speaker at the front, talking to a powerpoint” kind of session.  The idea of unconference is to be freeform and for the topic of discussion to be guided by the interests and ideas of those who turn up on the day.  In this way the Tuesday afternoon session that Paul and Elizabeth are involved with definitely has some “unconferencey” qualities.  However Paul is very keen to let me know that it’s not really an unconference session, pointing out that there will be some structure.

For instance a loose theme of What would you do? – Doing more with less, has been decided upon.  Also the session will be “seeded” with a few speakers who each give short (2-3 min) “presentations” to get the ball rolling.  Paul says that they will have to “distill an idea or issue but not dwell on it” which is very much in the tradition of Pecha Kucha and should hopefully generate conversation and ideas amongst the session attendees.  As Elizabeth puts it the idea is “to throw it out there, let it bubble and let everyone discuss it”.

Paul also feels it might be a good session for people who are too intimidated to put their hands up in the Q & A sections of the more formal sessions that conference offers, as “everyone will ask questions”.

So, a few quickfire presentations as well as an interactive, brainstorming sharing of ideas component?  Well, I think I might just have got my head around this un-unconference…and also had some chips which is a result as far as I’m concerned.

Guy wants you to get with the Programme

Guy wants you to get with the Programme

This week, in our continuing mission to find out about the people behind LIANZA Conference 2009 we talk to Guy Field who has the not inconsiderable responsibility of determining what features on the programme for this year’s conference.

Kia ora Guy, could you start off by telling the nice people a little something about your library (or non-library) background?

I have been working in libraries for an embarrassingly long period of time. I started my library career as a “super numerary” (that dates me!) library assistant in School Library Services in Nelson in 1986, having returned from my OE needing to find a job and a vocation. I’ve never really looked back. Completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Librarianship at Victoria the following year, and then moved to Christchurch as a School Library Advisor with National Library. A highlight of this job was the trip all the way to Haast in the late model work car, to advise on school library development (they used to throw their weeded books into the swamp!).

A lowlight was cleaning out the Greymouth branch of School Library Service after the Grey River had once again flooded the town. However the novelty of driving around the middle of the South Island and staying in motels wore off after a few years, and I moved to the highly regarded library at Christchurch Polytechnic (as it was then) to work with luminaries such as Penny Carnaby, Mirla Edmundson and Rosemary Nicholls. Sixteen years later (where did the years go?) I decided it was time for a change, and I have been enjoying the challenges of information service delivery in the highly regarded Christchurch City Libraries since the beginning of 2008.

You’re the chair for the Programme sub-committee. What does that involve?

(more…)

Megan Ingle - Promotions and Communications Sub-committee...boss

Megan Ingle, promoting and communicating a specialty

In our continuing quest to give the people behind this year’s LIANZA Conference a face, we tracked down Promotions and Communications Chair Megan Ingle and asked her a few questions…

Kia ora Megan, you’re comparatively new to the library field aren’t you? What’s your background (in libraries and out)?

True, I’m relatively new to the library world, having only stepped out into the world as a qualified librarian at the end of 2006.

In 2005, I made the sideways shift into the library/information/records/archives world after spending several years in research, publishing and specialist bookselling roles. I decided to tackle an M.L.I.S. through Victoria University of Wellington and survived two-thirds of the course as a full-time student (one semester on-campus and then one semester by distance) before I actually started work in a library at the end of 2005. I finally managed to complete the rest of my M.L.I.S. by October 2006.

I’ve worked for Christchurch City Libraries since the end of 2005, and have had the opportunity to be a Library Assistant, an Information Librarian and a Children’s & Young Adults’ Librarian before settling into the role of Selection & Access Librarian.

Being part of a profession which allows me to indulge my interest in printed books, the web, audiovisual materials, multimedia experiences, diverse people, research, building design … to name but a few areas … all in all, it’s a really good fit for someone like me who is interested in lots of different things and can go a-hunting for the answers to weird and wonderful questions.

You’re the chair for the Promotions and Communications Sub-committee. What exactly does that sub-committee do?

We’re responsible for making sure folks (both within New Zealand and overseas) know about the upcoming conference in October 2009.

At the moment, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes planning for upcoming promotional work. We’ve been investigating ways to ensure that we target as wide a market as possible, including New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, as well as a variety of IFLA regions, and non-traditional/non-library areas.

So far, we’ve been making use of a range of different technologies and communications streams to make sure that we cast a wide net for folks who will want to attend conference. This can take the form of postings on a multitude of list-servs, contributing to the LIANZA 2009 Conference blog, updating our Facebook page, taking photos to post to Flickr, writing articles for regional LIANZA newsletters and LIANZA’s monthly Library Life. We’re also looking at options for Twitter and YouTube.

And we’re working with the other sub-committees (e.g. Programme, Bi-cultural, Social, Sponsorship) to make sure the important topics from each of these areas are shared with potential conference attendees. (more…)

Haneta with the Meri Mygind Award

Haneta with the Meri Mygind Award

In the interests of letting you get to know the people who are helping to organise your LIANZA conference we’re asking important questions of some of the key players. This week we get up close and personal with Christchurch City Libraries’ head of Māori Services, Haneta Pierce…

Ko Ngāti Mūtunga kei Wharekauri toku Iwi
Ko Tokomaru te waka
Ko Taranaki te maunga tapu
Ko Urenui te awa
Ko Urenui te marae
Ko Haneta Pierce ahau
Kaiwhakahaere Rātonga Māori ki Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi
Tēnā koutou katoa

Kia ora whaea Haneta, you’ve been involved with libraries for a while now, particularly focusing on library services to Māori. Can you tell us a bit about your library career?

I began my library career at the Christchurch Polytechnic Library in 1989. In 1995 I was persuaded to apply for the position of Māori Resources Librarian, based in the New Zealand Collection of the then Canterbury Public Library. The position was approved and created by Christchurch City Council to commemorate the“Year of Māori Language” in an effort to increase its own bicultural commitment. (more…)

The Conference Convenor is a person in your neighbourhood...

The Conference Convenor is a person in your neighbourhood...

Remember that song from Sesame Street?  The “who are the people in your neighbourhood” one?  Well, this is the first in a series of posts where we introduce the people  in the LIANZA Conference neighbourhood and who better to start with than the Conference convenor, Lynley Macleod?

Kia ora Lyn, can you tell everyone what your library (or possibly non-library) background is?

I started my library life as a library assistant in Circulation at Dunedin Public Libraries in 1986. I moved on to being a library assistant on the Bookbus for almost 11 years – the most fun I have had in my library career was had on the bus. The highlight being when Elaine and I took the bus on a tiki tour from Dunedin to Palmerston North to the Mobile Meet – we are available any time you like to autograph your copy of New Zealand Classic Car!

I took on various roles at DP, lastly as Head of Marketing and Administration, retiring from this in 2007. I am now enjoying life, being back in my home town and getting to meet all sorts of fascinating, amusing and occasionally fraudulent people in my new job as a motel owner.

Being convenor of a LIANZA conference is a fairly large undertaking. What made you want to take on the role?

When word got out that I would be living in Christchurch and would not have ‘a real job’ it was suggested that I go for this role. I leapt at the chance as I was wondering how I would manage being completely cut off from libraries and librarians. Can you imagine a life without a daily helping of librarians? Not sure how I can keep this up after the conference. Any suggestions welcome.

Do you ever get freaked out that there are so many things to organise?

Never – we have such a great team of volunteers working on the conference and a fantastic professional conference company. I am constantly amazed at the drive and enthusiasm there is in libraries in the Aoraki region and know that each portfolio is so well managed. The team around me make this a dream job. Library Managers around the region need a huge pat on the back for freeing up so much of their staff time to make this conference work.

What does the theme of this year’s conference “he tangata, he tangata, he tangata” mean to you?

To me it encapsulates what libraries are all about. Without people we would not have libraries. Our founders, our customers, our staff, our business partners all make us what we are. The theme gives us a chance to listen to and learn from the wise seniors of our profession – it lets us mix and mingle with the present high flyers and library enthusiasts and lastly we get to delve in the future and crystal ball gaze at what might be out there for us in the future.

Which literary character do you most relate to and why?

Sybil Fawlty – lots of similarities, not that Sybil was a librarian in her first life.

Anything else you’d like to share with potential conference attendees?

If you are not the person who makes the decisions about who attends conference, try talking to those who do and convince them as to why it should be you. Conference 2009 should be top priority on training calendars. Never will you get so much value for your training $$$$. Our keynote speakers will WOW all who hear them, exhibitors are knocking at our door to sign up for stands and we can assure you that the concurrent sessions will offer something for everyone. Oh, and there will be some social activity, but Managers may not get to hear all about this in the mandatory conference report back.