LIANZA Conference 2012, Palmerston North – opening sessions

A warm welcome, not only from the friendly locals, but the sun in all its glory set the scene for our first day at the LIANZA 2012 conference.

Following the Powhiri and Official Conference opening we were introduced to the first key note speaker Mavis Mullins. Inspiration plus from this 4th generation sheep shearing business owner (along with her husband Koro) who employ 40 people full time and were the first company in the gloabal sector to acheive ISO 9002 certification. She is also trustee/chairman of several organisations including Nga Whenua Rahui which assists owners of privately owned Maori land to acheive balance in diversity through replanting and conservation.

She told us that as a child her father would say ‘ It’s better to aim for the stars and miss by a mile than to aim for your foot and hit it…’.  This quiet achiever has learned much from and shared with many people including her own employees. She acknowledged that libraries and their staff serve an important role in sharing knowledge setting a foundation for greater opportunity in life.

As an interesting footnote Mavis is a NZ shareholder in 2 degrees. And who knew, so named as NZ’er’s have a 2 degree of separation!

After Mavis, I chose to see and hear from Debbie Duncan from Upper Hutt City Libraries. Her 5 years condensed into 20 mins ‘journey of discovery’ for Upper Hutt Libraries was engaging. The initial indepth fact finding to who their community was and what they wanted set the scene for a transformed library service. Including new Adult Programmes, a News Letter, improved digital services, the implementation of RFID, home schooling groups, ‘book in a school bag’ programme, sustainability workshops and even zumba classes just to name a few! All culminating in an increase in footcount, issues and membership and customer satisfaction. Their hard work has paid handsomely and they should be very proud of their effort.

Debbie delivered a similar speech at the ALIA conference in Sydney in July this year if you want to read it in full.

Cath Gledhill

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