The Kōtuku Emerging Leaders project is one of three initiatives developed by LIANZA to strengthen the library and information profession in New Zealand and was launched as a result of member feedback in 2012.
Emerging Leaders was determined to be one of the key priorities for the profession. We needed to ensure that we had people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to take on leadership roles, in both a voluntary capacity and in their paid day jobs, now and in the future.
Kōtuku was created as a way to bring together a cohort of emerging leaders, from throughout Aotearoa to work together over an eight month period. While there are other library leadership courses offered, as well as more generic leadership programmes, we wanted this one to be unique within an Aotearoa context. We wanted it to be designed by librarians for librarians, be affordable and accessible to everyone. It didn’t matter if applicants were a sole charge librarian in the Far North, a mum of three, a part time school librarian, or a librarian in a major city - we wanted everybody to have the opportunity to participate.
The programme takes place over eight months to ensure that there is plenty of opportunity for reflective thinking, and to put the lessons into practice. The programme starts off with a ‘boot camp” where the cohort meets face to face for the first time. It’s an intensive two day camp, where everyone gets to know each other and the leadership team and form the bonds that will be developed throughout the rest of the programme. After bootcamp, participants meet online regularly, with the hope that people build lifelong connections with their fellow cohort members.
We want people to build relationships with mentors and other people in the profession.
Kōtuku has been running successfully since 2015 and so far the programme has produced:
- Two Library Life (our monthly library magazine) editors
- LIANZA Marketing and Communications Coordinator
- One IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) fellowship to attend 2016 IFLA World Congress in Ohio, USA.
- People who contributed significantly to the Future of Libraries Summit in 2015
- Members sitting on regional committees
- Organising regional events
- Speaking at conferences and our regional Weekend Schools
- Many job changes
- A few left the library sector completely, pursuing their passion.
Our third cohort are currently determining the top three issues facing the Library profession, while we write this, and will shortly solve these problems. As the profile of the programme increases throughout the sector, we feel confident that we will be producing leaders who will ensure the success of Libraries in Aotearoa.
Julia de Ruiter and Christine Busby