Monday, October 7, 2013

The value of Association  It is great to be a member of this Association.

In July, while on "Summer Vacation" in the winter of New Zealand I attended the SLANZA conference in Wellington. It was inspirational and will be the subject of many subsequent posts. For this post I want to focus on SLANZA itself. I have been a member of SLANZA since its beginning, before I had any library qualifications or responsibilities. I remain a member even though I am many miles from New Zealand.

What is it about this association that I value so highly? My colleagues. There is a Maori proverb that goes ..
He aha te mea nui te ao?
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!
It is in a librarian's nature to share. We are a professional that values access to resources, information and knowledge. I guess that makes us predisposed to sharing ideas, strategies and resources. It makes us stronger as a professional and as people.

It is through this Association that I have received meaningful professional development. My librarian colleagues meet once a term and each meeting has a professional development focus. I have participated in meetings with publishers and booksellers, educational researchers, professors and professionals. The topics ranged from why we should be buying and promoting graphic novels to how to encourage reluctant readers. 

It is through SLANZA that I have received valuable one to one professional mentoring and have been able to encourage others to enter into mentoring relationships. 

Now I am on the other side of the planet why do I consider this Association so valuable? The electronic Journal "Collected" is produced 3 - 4 times a year. My colleagues contribute articles and ideas - sharing their expertise and inspiring me in my work. SLANZA is on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads, I am connected in with my colleagues through social networking as well as professional networking. 

I will continue to be a member of SLANZA throughout my professional lifetime. It seems crazy to me to try work alone. Crazy and lonely. I truly value the work of the people involved in this Association and I thank them for contributing so generously to my life as a librarian.