It won’t come as too much of a surprise, but the whole recent election process has had my mind quite occupied.
As I said earlier, I think that the small profile that was included on the voting papers didn’t provide people with enough information. I feel that with the launch of the new website, LIANZA could have made a better effort in giving people more information, and provided a forum for members to ask questions of the nominees. LIANZA Head Office should have asked for fuller statements. They should have then had those statements published on the blog as the voting papers went out, and then had the candidates answering questions posted to the blog.
It seems to me at the moment that LIANZA is not fully utilising the new models of communication that the Internet has opened. We seem stuck in a strange paper and process dominated rut that the organisation is loath to break free from. Really, for a professional body that represents a wide range of people working with information in the online environment everyday, it is quite a bad look.
I must also confess that I was disappointed with the number of votes cast. The most recent information available from the LIANZA website says that as of September last year there were 1,808 personal members. That means that the 222 who voted consists of 12% of the personal membership. Which had me questioning why that is so? Is it apathy? Lack of information on nominees? Lack of relevance?
All this has me wondering just how can LIANZA engage with the membership? What is it that we need to do to make LIANZA relevant? To lift the apathy?
I know what I am going to be doing. I have said that while acting from within LIANZA that I felt constrained in speaking my mind. This is because as regional chair I felt I needed to publicly support LIANZA and in some cases defend it, even where I felt that defence was not warranted. It comes from being part of a body and acting constructively. I decided that I wanted to make more noise to enact change and to provide leadership. I felt I had two opportunities, either be voted onto the council and from there promote what I felt was necessary internally, in a way that you can’t by acting as regional chair, or to remove myself from more official channels and be more vocal in a more external setting. Since the former didn’t happen, the latter is the path I am following.
I want LIANZA to be “The vibrant, vital professional voice for those engaged in librarianship and information management in New Zealand Aotearoa.“ To do that it needs hard working conscientious volunteers, and a vocal engaged membership. I might be wrong but I think we have plenty of the former and not enough of the latter, so that’s what I am going to be doing this year.