Library Chat

Episode 7 - Laurinda Thomas - LIANZA, Professional Associations, Archives

This time we chat with Laurinda Thomas.  Laurinda is the President Elect of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) and Public Sector Digital Continuity Manager at Department of Internal Affairs.  Having met Laurinda at NDF and chatted on Twitter I knew that as LIANZA President Elect she would be a great person to talk with about the challenges for LIANZA, why professional associations matter and about the archive career path for librarians.

This interview was recorded some weeks ago before I knew that I was to be the next LIANZA President Elect and before Laurinda gave such an impressive interview on breakfast television about libraries and why the are still relevant to our society.


Episode 6 - Dr Matt Finch - Libraries as places for performance, imagination, and play

This time we chat with Dr Matt Finch.  Matt is an award-winning British writer and educator who has taught and told stories for people across the age ranges from 4 years old to 40, in locations as diverse as the mountains of Peru, the streets of Brooklyn, Shakespeare’s birthplace and rural New South Wales. Matt is well known within libraries for his work in rural outback Australia and his use of a zombie hoard to engage with teens.

We talk with Matt about the role of immersive play and performance in libraries and why this is important for the way we engage with children and teens in our libraries.  We examine some of the challenges to the traditional concepts of what libraries are and in some examples our comfort levels but also how what takes place in libraries needs to have a tie back to knowledge and learning or we risk watering down our value.

The mission is to extend and enhance Auckland’s already superlative library offerings for children and young people with creative, challenging, and sustainable activities for the future.


Episode 5 - Carson Block - e-books, publishing, innovation

This time we chat with Carson Block, I.T Consultant and former I.T. Director at the Poudre River Public Library.  Carson brings energy, directness and a user-centered approach to I.T in Libraries.  He is an expert at translating the I.T. gobbledegook (my words) into sensible business concepts that work for the library and meet the changing I.T demands of its users.
In his role as IT Director for the Poudre River Public Library District, Carson managed multiple technology projects and project teams (including network infrastructure overhauls, a comprehensive conversion to RFID, creation of  patron self-service kiosks, and technology design and project management  for new library construction projects (including the first LEED platinum for interior and second platinum LEED library in the nation), and contributed to the successful effort to form a library district.  He led the District’s mobile strategy and studied automated materials handling (AMH) systems.   Carson also co-chaired a committee with Colorado State University concerning eBooks and eReaders.

I have met Carson on two occasions, having been on a panel discussion with him at the 2011 IUG Conference in San Francisco and then for a more relaxed brunch in Colorado, his state of residence.  We have also chatted twice via Skype for podcast interviews and regularly contact via Facebook.   I knew that Carson had to be one of the interviewees for the Library Chat series because of all of the above and because when we chat, we generally have a riot, which I think is apparent in this podcast.


Episode 4 - Stewart Parsons - Get It Loud In Libraries, Youth Engagement

This episode we chat with Stewart Parsons, creator and driving force behind the highly successful Lancashire County Council’s Get It Loud In Libraries.  Get It Loud in Libraries brings live concerts into the library to engage youth and create a connection for them.   It builds on the concept that music is a key resource for libraries.  Stewart talks about why they created Get It Loud In Libraries, how difficult it was to get support, how youth are involved and some of the experiences they had with some pretty major artists.

I met Stewart as part of the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators and have been always been impressed by his energy and vision for making Libraries interesting spaces for the younger people in our cities.  He’s giving voice and action to the need to create a meaningful interaction for these people in Libraries and I cannot help but admire that.

Stewart was also interviewed recently by Dr Matt Finch for his blog Books and Adventures. This can be found here "I much prefer it when libraries are less about archiving the past, and more about presenting culture today”: Stewart Parsons on “Get It Loud in Libraries”


Episode 3 - Sue Roberts - Leadership in change, Learning Cultures, Advocacy, Innovation

This episode we talk with Sue Roberts, Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian of Victoria in Australia. Sue is an experienced strategic leader, having worked in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. Prior to her role in Melbourne she was University Librarian at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and served as Chair of the Council of New Zealand University Librarians and Director of the Library Consortium of New Zealand.

Sue and I talk about leading through change, leading a learning culture,  advocacy, innovation and risk taking.


Episode 2 - Rivkah Sass - Public Libraries, Their health, The future, Maintaining relevance

This episode we chat with Rivkah Sass the Library Director at the Sacramento Public Library.  Rivkah is a very experienced public library manager and former Library Journal Librarian of the Year. She is enthusiastic,  she has vision, she cares and wherever she goes, she sets about making the public library better.  She has presented in many forums, including a TedX Youth event hosted at Sacramento Public Libraries with a presentation called Bleak of Brilliant : The Future of Public Libraries.  In 2008 she visited New Zealand, visiting over 30 Libraries, which is where I met her, where she made an impression on me, and where our friendship began.

Rivkah and I talk about the health of public libraries in general in the U.S. and the challenges facing them competing for the public dollar.  We look at the international landscape and discuss the role of advocacy in ensuring their continued existence.  We discuss the future for libraries and finally talk about her time as Librarian of the Year in 2006.  What this meant and what it was like to be in that position.


Episode 1 - Jenica Rogers - Staff development, communication, social media

This episode we chat with Jenica Rogers, the Director of Libraries at the State Library of New York at Potsdam.  Jenica is an engaging, thoughtful and sometimes challenging speaker who has gained a reputation in the U.S.A. and increasingly around the world, for her willingness to speak up on the issues that are facing libraries.   As a passionate advocate for staff development and people taking risks in their career, she is a natural candidate for a Library Chat.

Jenica and I talk about staff development and the challenges of balancing the needs of seasoned staff and new recruits. Then we chat about the hierarchical nature of libraries and  how this can be an enabler or a hindrance to staff development.  Next we spend some time talking about communication within the profession and how we interact with each other, exchange ideas and find information.  Core skills come under the spotlight before we talk briefly about social media and the role this has played in the development of librarians and how we operate.