Saturday, November 19, 2011

SLANZA Wellington Region Workshop Sept 2011

She has me fired up now!

This is the comment of one of the participants who attended our annual Saturday morning professional development in September. The themes were “Advocating for your school library” and E-learning. Forty seven people attended the workshop and went away with many new ideas for how to promote their libraries (Donna Watt and Miriam Tuohy) as well as issues around technology enhanced learning (Paul du Temple, Jason Murphy and Tom Avery).

Donna Watt as a keynote speaker was a definite drawcard. Donna is the communications person on the National Executive of SLANZA and has had many years experience in school libraries. Her message was appropriate to both primary and secondary school library staff and teachers. We recommend that she is invited to share her advocacy ideas to members around the country. Miriam Tuohy (Nat Exec member) ran a workshop after Donna’s keynote and reinforced the ideas, giving relevant and useful advice for untrained library staff who are just starting out in a primary school. Remember you are not alone in this work!

Here is some more feedback on the presentations.
  • Lots of ideas/approaches to investigate. Change my approach – accentuate the positive. Emphasis on how I work and what I do. 
  • So many practical ideas to take back to school. 
  • Great speaker, have gained some good ideas to work on. 
  • This was absolutely wonderful! 
  • Very inspiring. Really made me think how our library is perceived by others. 
  • Excellent speaker. Challenging. 
  • Practical ideas for e-books in the school library environment. 
  • Excellent. Helped a lot to understand how all this works. 
Thanks again to our presenters. Contact your local SLANZA regional rep to organize Donna Watt for a professional development meeting in 2012.

Michele Whiting
SLANZA National Executive representative
Wellington region

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Full report from SLANZA NE meeting 12 November 2011

Report from SLANZA NE
Meeting 12-13 November 2011

Good morning everyone. The following is feedback on the content covered at the meeting held in Auckland at the weekend. If you have questions please contact your local regional representative, whose contact details can be found on the SLANZA website.

At our July meeting, we set up portfolios which relate to the specific areas of focus identified in the strategic plan : Advocacy, Communication and Professional Development. At this meeting we added another portfolio for Business, to cover the matters which do not neatly fit into the others. The following report will relate specifically to those areas of interest.

Communication – this portfolio is led by Donna Watt, and the others working within the portfolio are Miriam Tuohy and Bharathi Char, with support from Senga White in relation to Collected magazine. The matters reported and furthered within the portfolio include:
  • The most recent issue of Collected was published on Friday. You can read it here. The three issues to be published next year have been discussed, with the following themes selected – Issue #6 Content Curation, Issue #7 Evidence-based practice, linking to self-advocacy and promotion, Issue #8 Blue sky thinking – next steps, innovations, what now?
  • Miriam shared the test site for the website redevelopments she has been working on. We are all very excited as the new stage will see more interactive features, and a bigger resource section amongst other things. It will be ready to launch in the New Year.
  • We have developed a shared Google website for NE representative communication, and we reviewed its functionality, and agreed on a number of new pages to facilitate our work. This is providing a platform to ensure our work continues effectively between meetings.
  • All members of NE will be blogging more frequently, and permissions will be set up to facilitate that.
  • In other areas, we have been represented by Fiona at the Educational Leaders Forum, and by both Senga and Fiona at the LIANZA pre-conference forum – our presence at these meetings allows us to further develop new and existing networks and ensure the school library voice is heard.

Advocacy – this portfolio is led by Greig Daniels and he is supported by Jude Cosson and Michele Whiting. Their area of interest received wide discussion throughout the meeting, and they have significant workloads on which they are working, including:
  • A formal letter was drafted, to be sent to Principals and Boards implementing cuts to library services. This will be shared with NE members today, and after feedback, will be available for them to send out as the need arises.
  • A thirty-minute presentation is being developed, which will be delivered at regional School Principal's meetings by local reps.
  • Greig has been working with NZEI to establish stronger communication links with them, and is working hard to negotiate space in their publications for articles and information about school libraries, services, staffing.
  • Work continues on the advocacy kit for members, including reporting templates, letter templates.
Regional representatives will continue to respond directly to members (off-list) to support them, and refer them to other supporting agencies such as the NZEI, as necessary.

Advocacy workshops have and will continue to be available to regional networks as needed – Michele Whiting will be blogging with further information about these.

Professional development – this portfolio is led by Michele Ayers, and she is supported by Michele Whiting and Bharathi Char. Michele summarized PD events held or scheduled since the last meeting, thanks to the support of Warwick Ashton from Book Protection Products :
  • Wellington held a very successful workshop with the theme of advocating for your school library and eLearning. They will shortly have a session with Chris Szekely – Chief Librarian at Alexander Turnbull Library, who will be talking about his new picture book.
  • Aoraki held a session where members who received free registration to conference fed back on their learning, Desna Wallace shared her interest in book trailers, and Paul du Temple from Wheelers spoke about eBooks.
  • Te Tai Tokerau had Bob Docherty speaking about teen fiction and engaging teens in reading, and Hilary Greenebaum is scheduled to share her very successful conference presentation on relationships within the school.
  • WaikatoBoP have hosted Vince Collins sharing his skills in library display, and their upcoming event is a tour of local libraries.
  • Auckland had a half day workshop with four presenters who explored the topic 'Engaging learners: Learning and reading, and the day included Dylan Horrocks as a guest speaker. They have an upcoming visit scheduled with Stacy Gregg – author.
  • Otago's recent session involved conference feedback, and the planning for a two-day event next year is under way.
  • Southland held sessions on using Twitter, and note-taking skills for students. The last session for the year was a social event, and general sharing of best finds. Planning is under way to try and engage Nathan Mikare-Wallis to speak in the region early next year.
Larger events on the PD horizon include attempting to bring Dr Ross Todd to New Zealand next year to share his presentation on evidence-based practice (we have also decided on back-up plans if this is not successful). A full day of PD in conjunction with the AGM has been outlined in principle, and this will go ahead if the Todd event cannot be secured.

Wellington region shared progress on planning for the 2013 conference which is rapidly getting into gear. The contract with the conference organizer will be signed this week, a venue has been selected, and prospective keynotes are being evaluated. Seed funding was clarified at the NE meeting.

The new business portfolio is led by Lisa Salter, supported by Jude Cosson. The matters currently on their agenda are:
  • Reviewing the criteria for study grants to ensure consistency
  • Business membership – linking to conference sponsorships, and developing levels of membership, criteria and benefits. They will be liaising with business partners to get feedback.

In other matters, we advise that study grant applications are now with the committee. Decisions will be made and applicants notified by the end of November.

If you are aware that you may be changing schools, or your other contact details need to be updated, please let Frances Gibbons at know as soon as possible. She is working to update the member database for a busy time at the beginning of next year.

We reiterate our advice that regional representatives are here to support you, in good times and in bad, so please contact us if you are in need of support or advice. If you hear of threats to other school libraries, whose staff may not be SLANZA members, we would also appreciate hearing from you. We are working very hard at a number of levels, regionally and nationally, to support and advocate for school libraries.

Kind regards
Donna Watt
SLANZA Communications Leader

National Executive meeting last weekend

The National Executive met in Auckland on Saturday and Sunday. One of our key tasks was to work out ways we can support SLANZA members who are facing employment difficulties - reduced hours, restructuring, job losses etc. We will always contact the person involved, but please understand that as this is a horribly difficult situation for anyone to be faced with, we will not discuss or share it via the list-serv. If you are facing employment problems, please let your regional rep know as soon as you are able to, so you can receive the help and support we can offer you.

One important avenue of assistance is the NZEI union, but they cannot help you if you are not a member! For your own protection, join now, as you need to have been a member for at least three months to receive assistance with employment issues. The fee is calculated on how much you earn, and the online form will give you an idea of the cost. Once you join you are also covered by the collective employment agreement too - a new settlement has been reached with new pay scales. For more information on the Support Staff settlement and pay scales, go to

More details about what the National Executive has been working on and doing recently will be coming soon, so keep checking back. So you keep current with our postings, have you set up an RSS feed using an RSS reader? It is such an easy way to get the posts sent to you, instead of searching for the blog. is a very clear explanation, so give it a go!