Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Diversity Forum 2010

Usha Chand, migrant and pacific peoples adviser attended New Zealand Diversity Forum on Sunday 22 -23 August 2010 held at Christchurch. The Forum covered issues around community living, education, youth and minority.

Some highlights were :

Getting to know staff from the community organisations and agencies working with migrants and refugees in South Island eg. Refugee Services Aotearoa, Settling In, Settlement Support, Human Rights Commission, Office of Ethnic Affairs, Christchurch Resettlement Services, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, Hagley Community College, Peeto Learning Centre, Shakti Ethnic Women’s Centre, Canterbury Refugee Council and NZ Police

- Hassan Ibrahim, Refugee Education Coordinator, Ministry of Education’s session on how NZ Curriculum framework supports refugee education. Some of the challenges for Muslim students and their families in NZ schools are: age of the students, different teaching system, number of students in a class, length of stay in NZ, teacher-student expectations, concept of respect, social integration with peers and peer pressure, exposure to historical drama. Accurate community mapping by schools and resulting strategies to help distinct student needs leads to successful outcomes for students and the school.

- Mia Northrop’s session on her Vindaloo against violence campaign. Mia, a social media expert from Melbourne, used Face book to mobilize 17,000 people across the world to show support for the Indian community to go dining at 400 local Indian restaurants on a given night. Media coverage of a spate of attacks against Indian students in Australia prompted her to do something that was effective yet did not require too much money, time or lots of people

-Graeme Innes, Australia’s Disability Discrimination and Race Discrimination Commissioner is a lawyer, mediator, and human rights campaigner for 30 years and was the first Chair of Vision Australia, Australia’s national blindness agency. He delivered his message of ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ (i.e. do not campaign against one another) through 3 stories: the year the blind got to vote via secret ballot in Australia, meeting and working with Sharon, a sex change gay and Keith, blind, competitive House captain in a school

-Hana O’Reagan, Member of the Maori Language Commission and Kairahi at CPIT, talked of how important it is to feel comfortable with who we are and identifying where we belong. As examples, she talked of how when she was growing up, different people’s perception of who she was differed from her perception of herself as a Maori. At primary school, she got called a ‘nigger’ whereas at a Maori Girls boarding school she was a ‘honki’

-youth group issues presentations called “little things matter.” The issues highlighted were education, diversity and importance of communication between communities.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Zealand Family History Fair, Hamilton, 16-18 July, 2010

Shona Lewis and Marie Hickey, attended the first NZ Family History Fair in Hamilton, representing the Auckland Research Centre, Auckland City Libraries as exhibitors. It was organised by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, who the Auckland Research Centre has a close relationship with.

Article from Shona Lewis -

It started off on the Friday, with registrations, and the setting up of exhibition stands, followed up by the NZSG AGM meeting. In the evening, the Governor General, Anand Satyanand, and Mayor of Hamilton Bob Simcock, attended the opening ceremony and dinner with a full Maori welcome.

The Fair started on Saturday morning with seminars being run throughout the day over both days of the weekend. Marie and I alternated between looking after the stand and attending seminars.

We had probably the best position right at the entrance to the exhibition hall and right next door to the main NZSG stand; which meant we attracted a lot of exhibitors.

Our stand was decorated with posters and flyers of our Family History events, and leaflets promoting our Family History collections, as well as a few promoting Specials and the Library as a whole. We had a Powerpoint presentation running on loop on the datashow, which showed off our digital library and what sort of information could be found within, and again, slides of our posters about our FH events.

The datashow proved very successful at pulling people into the stand, and allowed us the opportunity of being able to do live demonstrations on the other laptop of how to search on our digital library. On Saturday morning alone, I managed to find a total of SIX ancestors for researchers - immensely satisfying!

The seminars were of good quality - they covered all different topics and were relevant for the beginner right through to the more experienced researcher. As I often present to the public these days, it was of interest to me to watch the different presenting styles. Of value, too, was getting insight and inspiration of what might prove useful for future family history lunchtime sessions.

For me, personally, the most useful tip I learned was to use a different colour folder, box etc, for each branch of my family tree, and to start a new folder for each member of the family once they got married. That way you can tell at a glance which branch they belong to. Useful, as my personal research has got so large, its become quite hard to manage.

The Fair closed at 5pm on Sunday - and was extremely successful. Well in excess of 1000 people visited the Fair over the two days, and its hoped that it will be held again in two to three years time.

Article from Marie Hickie -

I recently attended the inaugural New Zealand Society of Genealogists Family History Fair which was held at Te Rapa.

The week-end included a series of talks lasting about ½ hour each and there were stalls showcasing a variety of exhibitors – Auckland Research Centre included.

I managed to attend three talks over the course of the week-end, these were about Archives New Zealand, Resources in Australia and Unusual New Zealand resources. The talk on Archives New Zealand and Australian resources were very interesting.

Shauna Hicks reminded us that there are virtually no central records for Australia so it is necessary to know when the state came into being and how it was governed prior to that date as the records would be located at the appropriate archives. Graham Langton spoke about the popular records such as wills, pre 1920 army personnel files, passenger lists, notices of intention to marry etc and how Archives New Zealand works. Robyn Williams’ talk on unusual New Zealand resources stressed that you should also “think outside of the box” with your family history research and looking at alternative sources such as school magazines/histories, church/local histories, gazettes etc to get a more rounded view of life in the times of your forebears.

One of the highlights was the Who do you think you are? Presentation by Jan Gow at the official dinner on Friday night which highlighted the family of the Topp Twins – Jools was present as were her parents.

A thoroughly but busy week-end.

POW! The North Island Children’s and Young Adult’s Librarians Conference

Juliana Austen, Children’s Advisor, Teri Ta’ala and Dave Tucker attended the POW! North Island children’s and young adult’s librarian conference in Rotorua on 22-23 July 2010

One of the key learnings taken from the conference was that “Kids are reading more, writing more and creating more but in different way.”

The curriculum & the library, presented by Tracy Dyett RNZLIANZ Curriculum Services Librarian

This is an article from Juliana Austen

Tracy outlined the different way students are approaching research in their schools. She explained the “inquiry approach” to learning concepts, which takes an integrated approach involving values and competencies. Resources must reflect the path of a questioning approach, emotional engagement, student choice, authentic real life purpose, challenges and reflection. Books may include fiction and non-fiction on many aspects of a topic including science, art, images, poetry, myths and legends. For online resources, the National library “services to schools” provides quick links and integrated searches to the National library’s databases.
Check it out at:
Tracy’s presentation can be viewed at:

Gifted children and reading, presented by Rosemary Cathcart.

This is an article from Teri Ta’ala.

A recurring theme at the conference was the ability of libraries to provide an escape from the outer world in this case for gifted children.

I would hope that all children’s librarians value their younger patrons enough to be aware of and cater to their varied needs. According to Rosemary, gifted children can feel marginalised by the educational system and perhaps even by wider society, and libraries (and great librarians) can amongst other things, provide a place of refuge for the gifted child.

Possibly the library’s most valued customers, gifted children are precocious readers and would give any summer reading programme a run for its money. A gifted child often begins reading before school, reads widely and is capable of becoming deeply absorbed in a particular passion. A great librarian may offer the kind of access to information that a gifted child is desperate for and the library can become a place to exhaust a consuming interest.

Being aware of the needs gifted children can help the library build a repertoire of books around their advanced abilities, our extensive knowledge of our collection can be essential for this. The recommended reading age of books can be misleading for example, when catering to the gifted child. They may also suffer from other problems such as dyslexia or dyspraxia.

Libraries may want to establish a rapport with local schools to work together in introducing their gifted children to the library. Rosemary recommends then harnessing the creativity of the gifted child by giving them books to review or asking them to help with recommended reading lists.

For further reading, see the articles at the REACH Education Consultancy website.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Round Table on Information Access for Print Disabilities

Anna Biazik, Library assistant from Leys Institute attended three sessions at the 2010 annual conference: think globally, act locally! on 23-25 May 2010.

Preconference tour: Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)
The conference delegates visited the RNZFB faciliaties in Auckland. The tour included the presentation of departments by staff:

  • Equipment services: viewed tools supporting everyday life of RNZFB members; from large print calendars to talking calculators and a machine recognising colours of clothing.
  • Adoptive communications: JAWS, electronic magnifying glasses, programme STAR (learning Braille);
  • Recording studio
  • Library: circulation process; burn cd on demand facilities
  • Adaptive technology: computer training for members

The vist was very rewarding as staff guided us and responded to questions. The most impressive for me was the Recording studio where we could observe life recording of latest issue of The Listener into DAISY format.

I would recommend a visit to RNZFB to MIS students as it is worthwhile to get familiar and see for yourself what DAISY is, circulation in the Library, recording issues, collage books, JAWS and electronic magnifying glasses.

Trend of DAISY playback device in the world
Mr Hiromitsu Fujimori, represnting PLEXTALK, presented the session updating on news regarding DAISY format and devices. Thanks to the cooperation between the company PLEXTALK and libraries, customers can enjoy news, books and magazines delivered through DAISY players.

There is a range of devices to suit customer's preferences, from small to big examples, from simple to more sophisticated functions.

In general, DAISY players gain popularity with customers as the device can play many formats including DAISY.

PLEASED: Victoria Public Libraries Enhancing Access:
PLEASED: Public Library Accessibility for Disabilities was programmes with a purpose to increase access for people with disabilities. The lesson learned from this programme:

Assess the needs of:

  • people with disabilities, also aged customers
  • caregivers
  • staff


  • access issues (physical building, carpark, handrail)
  • equipment
  • training for staff and customers
  • ongoing help and assistance for staff and customers
  • staff disability awareness

This presentation really reminded us about the necessity of staff awareness of disabilities. It would be useful to include this element in customer service training in public libraries.

Libraries Building Communities: Accessibility needs partnerships
The presentation focussed on social inclusion an dpartnership between public libraries and organisations supporting people with disabilities. The success recipe seems to be an establishment of book clubs / reading groups as social outings, with focus on the market group and cooperation of supporting organisations. The feedback gained from users:

  • library as a place to be and meet friends;
  • disability becoming less difficult to deal with
  • becoming self sufficient, more independent

The presetner read a very moving feedback from a customer saying that the book group saved his life as he considered other ways of ending his life. The programme was financially supported by libraries and government agencies.

This presentation made me aware also about the fact that print disability is not only blindness, but also sight impairment, or being unable to hold a book beacuse of Alzheimer, or perceptual disability.

We all shoul dremember thet Large Print books do not solve the problem as people with cataracts, glaucoma and dyslexia will not benefit from LR. There should be a wider selection of availble material for them, like audio books in DAISY format for example.

One upon a Library: NVDA and the Aotearoa People's Network Kaharoa
APNK presented a story on access improvements for people with print disabilities. Based on a customer's suggestions, APNK computers are equipped now in NVDA: Non Vision Desktop Access. Click on the link to read further about this project.

I also recommend that you watch this short presentation.

For this project, the APNKK was awarded with the Extra Touch Award, presented by the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand. The award recognises outstanding contribution towards an improvement in access or service to blind and vision impaired people and was presented to APNK for their addition of "Magnifying Glass and NVDA software to the PCs they make available in public libraries up and down the country