Before I get too far into this one, I will solemnly swear not to talk about conference for a long time. It’s just that there’s one more thing that has been praying on my mind, which I would like to rant on.
As you know I am involved with LIANZA, being the current regional chair for the Ikaora region. I enjoy my role, and when not dwelling on whether that next great bit of technology will be useful to the library, my thoughts recently have turned to what advantages membership brings, and what role the organisation has within the profession. Actually if anyone can come up with a short blurb about why joining is a good idea, let me know. I am not the greatest salesman, and often have trouble when asked that question, as I get tongue tied answering.
So what’s that got to do with conference? Apart from the obvious?
LIANZA has an important role to play within the profession, and I think that conference should be a central part of that. Mostly it is, but where I think we failed at the conference is in promoting ourselves, and in showing leadership at conference. Sure LIANZA is splashed all over conference as it’s the LIANZA conference after all, but how many people actually pay any attention to that or really link it to the organisation? This year I felt that despite the prominent branding the presence of LIANZA was lacking. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the founding of LIANZA and the first conference. I think we need to step up and provide not only stronger leadership, but also a stronger presence.
The first thing that needs to happen, is for the AGM to be transformed from a mere set piece AGM, that been relegated to the dead zone of last thing on Tuesday, to the centrepiece of the conference. The AGM should be, I think must be, the first item on the agenda. Monday morning should have the welcome, and then move into the AGM.
As part of the AGM there should be at least two standing agenda items beyond the legal necessities. First the LIANZA awards should be presented at the AGM. They too are relegated to last thing, and while attendance is higher than at the AGM, it’s not what it should be. The awards are a time to celebrate our own, and they are a central element of LIANZA. They should be prominent and tied more firmly to LIANZA.
Also there should be a keynote speech from the incoming President Elect. This is an opportunity for the incoming leadership to give a vision of what they wish to achieve over the next two years.
The second thing to happen beyond the AGM, is for the current President to give a full Keynote address, first thing on Wednesday morning. This year, and in previous years, any presidential addresses have been last thing, at the closing of the conference, and have often been curtailed for time.
The understandable sidelining of LIANZA from its own conference must end.
The next conference is a celebration of a hundred years of professional librarianship in New Zealand, and a hundred years of a professional organisation for librarians. Let us seize the moment to drag the organisation back into the centre stage and to inspire the next generation of librarians!
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