Information Scotland logo

Information Scotland

The Journal of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

ISSN 1743-5471

skip to page contentIssue contents | Journal contents | About the online edition of the journal

April 2008 Volume 6(2)

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

Guest endpiece: career development

Shared developments

New Zealand-based Bill Macnaught brings news about great steps they are taking in professional development and other issues they share with Scotland.

New Zealand experiences around 14,000 earthquakes each year. The great majority go unnoticed by most people, but in an average year over a 100 will make their presence felt.

In this article I will describe the biggest ‘earthquake’ to hit New Zealand’s library profession since LIANZA was established in 1910. LIANZA is the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa – the equivalent of CILIPS. In New Zealand we’re gearing up for our big centenary in 2010, but that is not the only reason why LIANZA is planning a major shake-up for its membership.

At 1 July 2006 LIANZA had 1,244 personal members and 459 institutional members – giving a total membership of 1,702. This is less than the circulation of Information Scotland (2,300) but as a proportion of the population (4.25million in NZ) we are comparable with Scotland. According to the latest available LISU statistics on CILIP’s website there has been a drop in the numbers of chartered librarians of about 17% across the UK since the year 2000. In New Zealand, despite the fact that there is no such thing as a chartered librarian, we expect the profession to grow from strength to strength in the next few years, because of an earth-shattering decision by LIANZA.

There are approximately 6,000 people employed in library and information services in New Zealand, but the level of qualification of someone calling themselves ‘librarian’ varies enormously. To address this the membership of LIANZA agreed at the 2006 AGM that we should take a giant step towards more rigorous professional standards. So on 1 July 2007 the library and information profession in New Zealand introduced a comprehensive scheme for registration and continuing professional development. Check the LIANZA website at for details of the scheme.

To qualify for registration, library and information professionals must show a theoretical understanding of the body of knowledge at graduate level and also demonstrate that they have applied the body of knowledge in a library or information management environment. Registered librarians will also be required to adhere to the profession’s code of professional conduct and continue to update their professional knowledge throughout their careers. Sounds familiar so far?

Well, the LIANZA body of knowledge has been derived from IFLA guidelines, but we’ve adapted it to include recognition of indigenous knowledge paradigms specific to Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand is, of course, culturally diverse and librarians have a strong sense of its indigenous culture and history consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi. In the New Zealand context, understanding the relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi in the delivery of library and information services is a core requirement reflected in LIANZA’s mission statement and partnership arrangements with Te Ropu Whakahau – the sister body of LIANZA. Te Ropu Whakahau was born from a need to provide professional and cultural support to Maori who worked in libraries throughout New Zealand. It also enabled Maori voices to inform policies and practices relating to the care of Maori material in libraries and archives, and the provision of library and information services generally. Since coming to live and work in New Zealand in 2005 my professional views on freedom of access to information and freedom of expression have been transformed as a result of discussions with my Maori colleagues. Cultural and religious sensitivities will present a growing challenge for librarians everywhere in the years ahead, I suspect.

If the Treaty of Waitangi is the most distinctive aspect of librarianship in New Zealand then the challenge of digital information is the most topical. With government funding, the Aotearoa People’s Network was launched a few months ago. Many similar issues and debates have taken place here as have been had in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK about the digital future of public roles. My own library in New Plymouth was one of the pioneers of the new service and Helen Clark, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, launched our service on 15 February. Currently there is not enough funding available to roll the programme out across the whole country, but a second wave of library services has just been accepted to join the four pioneers, so momentum is growing. The experience of Scottish colleagues in developing professional training materials in ICT is of great interest to us.

Among other benefits, LIANZA sees the registration scheme providing an assurance for future employers, both in New Zealand and overseas, that a registered member meets professional standards of competency in the body of knowledge and ethics required for professional library and information work. This also means it will be possible to introduce international benchmarking and recognition of professional library qualifications for New Zealanders wishing to work overseas. CILIP has been discussing reciprocal arrangements with LIANZA since Bob McKee’s visit to New Zealand in 2006. In coming months I expect the ties between LIANZA and CILIP to grow stronger as our plans for a registered profession roll out, starting with assistance in assuring the quality of our academic courses in librarianship. The dialogue with colleagues in CILIPS can only assist. After all, you’ve been professional two years longer than New Zealand.
Happy Centenary CILIPS!

Bill Macnaught is Manager, Puke Ariki, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Level A conformance icon, 
          W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

Information Scotland Vol. 6(2) April 2008

© Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

Information Scotland is delivered online by the SAPIENS electronic publishing service based at the Centre for Digital Library Research. SLAINTE (Scottish libraries across the Internet) offers further information about librarianship and information management in Scotland.

Last updated: 16-Jul-2008