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A Personal Philosophy of Public Librarianship


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I was recently asked to prepare a short presentation about my approach to public librarianship. This has been an extremely useful exercise for me and one I heartily recommend.

I was recently asked to prepare a short presentation about my approach to public librarianship. This has been an extremely useful exercise for me and one I heartily recommend.

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  • We didn’t interview for the HOL position and Sharon asked me to prepare a little something about my approach to public librarianship, what my thoughts are on developing Horowhenua library services, and answering any questions Trustees may have. Its been a really valuable exercise for me, formulating what I believe into a cogent statement. My overall philosophy boils down to 3 main concepts.
  • The 1 st of these is a sense of responsibility – for yourself and for others – which leads on to the 2 others:
  • The second is about community, the importance of belonging, the responsibility you have to contribute and the obligation you have to live joyfully ie to be pleasant to be around...
  • The last big concept or idea is about living with hope and engendering hope in others. The responsibility we all have in a community to help others around us.
  • Couple of shots that demonstrate 2 key influences: My Great Grandmother, my mother and her sisters and cousin, 1951 – Nellie, Harold, Albert all gone Great Grandmother raised 4 children under 5 years while Nana worked (23 yrs). WWI Nurse, disowned, emigrated, midwife on horseback, lighthouses. Labour politicians, night, kitchen, state house Porirua East, Secretary of the Labour party, public health, state housing, welfare benefits, plunket.
  • This is my dad, 40, no job, 4 kids I am a solo parent, 4 children, 3 of whom have a father with a mental illness. I understand that responsibility 5 years ago - NDF : OMG Forced to take stock, Rosa retiring soon, need job, no referees, no certaintly of HOL job, Had to upskiill, build a national reputation
  • Digital divide is an economic one The ones who most need our help can least afford it Disenfranchised as a consequence Anecdotes: “ I’ve searched the whole internet there is nothing there” Business plans for bank Proof reading essay for ECE worker Studylink, Ird forms Applying for jobs – only online
  • The things that inspire me: Admiring old ladies brooch Old man with 10 books – per day Gareth and youtube Old guys arguing over election Readers advisory in the stack Samoan family internet Kuia maori minutes People like to help / give Rhubarb for setting up a PC
  • These kids are the alternative education ones – kicked out of school Ricky – gay, Levin, Kete – personal – suppoortive Liam and wendy – reading advisory Wendy reading to kid while mum on internet Staff really important role models
  • People like us Heather: school C English, wrote literacy programme turakina Kiri: fish and chips, logger, bikes Ema: 7 kids, social worker Sandra: Solo Mum, low education, empathy Danny: dorky white guy – brilliant brain
  • I am really concerned about our Teenagers, Intergenerational problem, Have to start from preschool up,
  • Fines anecdotes: 5 year old kid being yelled at by his mother for overdues Plunket: teen mothers with old fines Wealthy parenst with kids not allowed to use the library
  • My vision is that the Library is the Living Room of each Town Welcoming, friendly, companionable, safe and friendly, Full of life, people can ‘live’, stretch and grown and thrive there. Arts, music and literaure are all important, History, society and technology too.
  • Darien Statements are good Big aspirational inspirational statements that I think are worth thinking about.
  • Transcript

    • 1. A Personal Philosophy what public librarianship means to me Prepared by Joann Ransom for Horowhenua Library Trustees March 2010.
    • 2. Responsibility
      • For yourself
      • For others
      Fill your own glass first then nurture others with the over flow
    • 3. Community
      • Belonging
      • Adding value
      The responsibility we all have to live joyfully, to be pleasant to be around.
    • 4. Hope
      • Enabling
      • Role modeling
      • Inspiring
      The responsibility we all have to engender hope in others.
    • 5. Key influences in my life Early 1950s … A series of family disasters saw my Great Grandmother suddenly raising 4 children aged under 5 years, while my 24 year old Grandmother and her brother went out to work fulltime to support the family. Great Grandmother was Secretary of the NZ Labour Party, concerned with public health, state housing & social welfare.
    • 6. Key influences in my life Early 1980s … The pain I felt for my father who at the age of 40 couldn’t find a job because he was too old. He went on to become a very successful self employed engineer.
    • 7. Lifelong learning
      • right resources,
      • finding information,
      • skills development,
      • digital literacy.
      The digital divide is an economic one and disenfranchises our people.
    • 8. Community - belonging
      • being noticed,
      • being valued,
      • loneliness kills you,
      • volunteering is important.
    • 9. Hope
      • Enabling
      • Role modeling
      • Inspiring
      Library’s change lives
    • 10. People like us Librarians change lives
    • 11.
      • Poverty and not reaching full potential as citizens is an intergenerational problem.
      • Literacy is the key that we have to start turning in a child’s early years.
      Our Children having children
    • 12. We sell our public short every time we …
      • make do with less funding than we need,
      • increase income through fees and charges,
      • stretch staff further,
      • provide substandard equipment and resources,
      • do things only if they generate income.
    • 13. What our ratepayers need
      • Conversations not transactions,
      • places and spaces,
      • a free library service.
      The people who need us most can’t afford us.
    • 14. Living Room of the town.
      • Staff who have the time to serve our patrons well,
      • and are able to satisfy our patrons information needs,
      • Resources which meet the needs of our patrons,
      • Spaces for people.
    • 15. The Darien Statements on the future of libraries 2008. More >>