|I arrived in Vermont in the nick of time for the gorgeous autumn leaves; one good wind and they'll come tumbling down.|
|Essex Junction library takes 'living room' of the town to|
a whole new level; the fire is gas and much loved.
|Richard, Wendy, me and Kim enjoying |
Ben and Jerry icecream (made in Vermont)
The next day I joined the dynamos behind VOKAL for a tour of 5 different Vermont libraries. Richard, Kim and Wendy were such good company and so inspirational. They are the drivers behind the consortia of 58 public libraries in Vermont which comprise the VOKAL consortia. This consortia is a great model; they have a shared install but each library can implement its own lending policy ie loan period lengths, fines etc.
I get so tired of librarians in NZ saying that you have to give up something to join a consortia because its not true. With a Koha consortia you don't and I really hope that someday enough library managers in NZ will say 'enuff' and we can get a significant shift towards the nationwide Koha consortia which is starting to be developed by the existing Koha libraries.
Anyway, enough of that rant and back to Vermont! VOKAL is comprised of many small towns and library communities and I picked up lots of really cool ideas. The 'Books on Tap' programme is a bookclub for blokes that meets at the local pub - thats cool! And several libraries had display cases for displaying private collections of residents - including kids - but adults too. I loved the silent auction of beautifully crafted library book bags made by the local quilters and embroiders that were being auctioned to raise money for a building extension. I also loved the beautiful friends of the Library booksale 'cupboard' which squeezed into the tiniest space imaginable but was so attractive.
VOKAL User Group Meeting
I felt so privileged to be invited to speak about my work establishing and operating Te Takere as Horowhenua's new library, culture and community centre. I am so proud of all that the staff and I achieved and it was so great to be able to share our story. I also squeezed my 40 minute presentation on the origins of Koha into 15 minutes!
|Nick Clemins from Bywater looking|
pretty stoked with his purchases.
All the libraries I visited, and I think pretty much all public libraries in USA, are run with Boards of Trustees - like Horowhenua was. There are common challenges that we directors face including managing that divide between governance and operations, preparing / shifting staff for 'the new model' and managing performance. I mentioned several tools and documents which I am happy to share:
- Stephen Bowman - conscious governance
- Results Based Accountability and an example from Horowhenua
- My Surfing 101 workshop on preparing staff for change
- Performance Appraisal templates
|The Cornish-Windsor Bridge|
I can't believe how much can be squeezed into 2 days when you really set your mind to it and I am so grateful for Bywater, who sponsored this USA leg and VOKAL librarians for being so generous and hospitable!