A new tertiary study grant is available to provide people working in or planning a career in the library and information sector with funding towards the costs of a relevant qualification. With more than 7,000 people employed in public, school, tertiary, special and other libraries around New Zealand, there is a need to attract people to the sector to reflect the diversity of the communities that libraries serve, re-balance an aging work force, and increase and reinforce expertise in areas including research, digital technology, and te ao Māori.
To launch the new initiative, an initial grant round is open from 1 to 31 March 2022, and thereafter will be open for applications in October annually, starting this year. The high-value grants of up to $10,000 per person are available for tertiary qualifications in indigenous knowledge management, library and information studies, and gives priority to applicants who are:
- under 35 years
- Māori or Pasifika
- seeking a new library and information qualification.
This funding is the result of a partnership between the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Te Rau Herenga o Aotearoa (LIANZA) and School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa Te Puna Whare Mātauranga a Kura (SLANZA), through a New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme (NZLPP) grant of $1.5 million. The partnership is working with Perpetual Guardian to administer the funds.
Megan Ingle, chair of the project advisory group says, “We are looking forward to seeing applicants from across Aotearoa New Zealand. These tertiary grants are intended to better support and reflect our diverse communities across the country, so I encourage people, especially managers and community leaders, to champion the opportunity provided by these grants. It is a chance for people already working in our sector to get started with a qualification and to reduce some of the financial barriers. It is also an opportunity to encourage people from our communities who we would love to see join our profession, giving them a stepping-stone into the sector through a qualification.”
Potential roles for librarians and library and information professionals are vast and diverse, offering broad career pathways ranging from school, subject or health sciences librarian to research advisor, innovation capability coach, digital services leader and digitisation advisor, literacy lead, outreach and events co-ordinator, community experiences and diversity team leader, Poutoko Rātonga Māori – Māori services librarian, archivist, records and information officer, and more.
Sana Saleem is Subject Librarian (Pacific) working at Unitec Institute of Technology, Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka. She says, “I have always wanted to be a librarian and I find my mahi very rewarding to serve our staff and students, to help with their information and research needs. Librarians are cool – they teach you information literacy skills and are connectors to the library resources, services, and spaces - these are highly transferable skills to help them succeed in the workplace and beyond.
“My first job introduced me to the world of libraries where my passion for a library career grew but I have always been surrounded by books and was influenced by Fijian indigenous knowledge in my childhood days, while growing up in Fiji. In my experience, I have found it rewarding identifying the different levels of information needs to suit library users from diverse backgrounds – especially for our Māori and Pacific students.
“The students are at the heart of what we do at Unitec. My day-to-day tasks include looking after the Pacific collection; facilitating student success through embedding information literacy skills to enhance and meet the information and research needs of staff and students; collaboration with Māori and Pacific staff working to engage principles of Te Noho Kotahitanga in mahi towards our Māori and Pacific success strategies; academic liaison to provide one-to-one research appointment and drop-in sessions every week; active curation of library resources; and providing interloans services to Unitec staff and students. Also, I love interacting with staff and students on campus and online – answering library chats and on Unitec Library social media channels.”
Perpetual Guardian Philanthropy Manager Kirsten Taylor says, “For many of us, our local or school library presents our first experience of access to a vast array of written and digital resources and introduces us to learning new skills. We are privileged to support this new granting programme, which will offer those already working in libraries, and others who intend to, the opportunity to gain qualifications, expand their career options and come out the other side of study with no or minimal student debt.”
Ms Taylor says, “Fluxx is an excellent solution for a programme such as this, because it tackles the complexities of the grant-making process and is efficient in how it automates workflows, compliance and communications. It provides greater visibility for philanthropic decision-making, collaboration and portfolio-wide reporting, and access for advisory boards and panels, including a customised review module – meaning the LIANZA and SLANZA partnership can precisely measure the impact of their grants and analyse the degree to which it effects an uplift in talent, diversity and career prospects in the sector.”