This morning, I had a meeting with Katrina Drew-Young, a Facilitator for the National Library, services to Schools division at the Home Cafe at the National Library. I fell in love with the idea that a National Library has involvement with school libraries from while I was creating my Fulbright application! National Library! Come on, that is very impressive!! They are even listed in my objectives section: "....Identify how the Services to Schools division of the National Library of New Zealand supports and guides school libraries."
I was very fortunate meet Katrina at a library conference on South Island! Even though she works ten minutes away from me, I am so happy that my first introduction was in a more relaxed setting. It makes it so much easier to connect later on in terms of feeling comfortable talking to someone. We talked about making an appointment for the school holiday time, (which is now in its second and last week). She was kind enough to reschedule me, as I got a last minute invite to GAFESummit Wellington on our appointment day yesterday!
As a Fulbrighter, I am able to feel relaxed before a meeting because I get to plan my schedule for the day. This means, that people who are work, are carving time out of their busy day to talk to me, so it's important to remember that they are in work mode and have other things to do as well. I wish it were different...I wish the amazing people I meet had hours and hours, but this is not always practical or possible. In the case of Katrina, I could listen to her speak about library service for hours. She is a former library manager and knows what it is like to work in a school library so she is ideally suited for her role in this agency.
Keeping in mind that schools have libraries staffed with people from a variety of backgrounds (if they are staffed at all), Katrina and other team members see many opportunities to provide schools with information and resources that can help them to positively impact their school community. In her work within the National Library Services to Schools, she and other team members assist schools in various ways depending on the need, plan professional development (in person, and online), participate in partnerships with other agencies that can support school literacy, and more. As an example of a program to support literacy from the National Library Services to Schools, here is an example of a beautiful program called "Reading Together" ( to teach families how to nurture literacy through spending time with their children, encouraging and bonding with them). http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/creating-readers/community-readers/reading-together-programme
National Library Services to Schools reminds me a lot of the awesome Educational Media Dept in my school district--they do many things at once...they provide new ideas and resources to us, they are a sounding board for library staff and principals alike, they provide information to the other district offices about the expected role of the teacher librarian and how an effective TL can help create a positive impact on student achievement, they talk with the Curriculum and Instruction Department about ways the TLs can specifically support the curriculum, and the list goes on and on. Many people do not know all of the different roles the Ed Media department plays behind the scenes.
If you are ever in Wellington, please come to the Home Cafe at the National Library on Molesworth, near the Parliament building (railway bus stop). You will fall in love with this MOST amazing public space that you can sit and relax in while having your treats from the cafe, or you can sit and enjoy the cafe which is adjacent to the library. If you have any 3D print files, bring them with you. There are staff appointed to assist with getting things printed and the price is very reasonable...I think it is $3.00 per print but then might incur an hourly charge for big prints.
Sue is a teacher and school librarian living in Atlanta, GA, USA. She was in NZ as a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher from Feb-June 2016.