LibWorld – New Zealand

This week we will read about library blogs in New Zealand. The country located in the South Pacific has a population figure of 4 million people. Public Libraries have got a long tradition and appreciation in New Zealand. Legend has it that in every town it exists a pub, a dairy and a library.
Nevertheless in 2007 the New Zealand libraries accomplished a marketing activity with several celebrities to campaign for the use of libraries. If you want to take a look at the spots you can do it here.
Our LibWorld guest author from New Zealand, Simon Chamberlain, is reference librarian at the Victoria University of Wellington. He blogs at http://www.chamberlain.net.nz/blog.

LibWorld – New Zealand

The New Zealand biblioblogosphere is not large, but it is growing as more librarians and libraries move online. Library-related blogs in New Zealand focus on similar subjects as blogs in other countries; there is a strong interest in the technological side of librarianship, but librarian blogs also consider more general issues including the author’s personal life, career, and study. The most well-known New Zealand library blog is an almost exclusively personal blog – and a work of fiction (more on that below). New Zealand libraries are also beginning to launch blogs, though they are limited to some extent by the law in New Zealand, which apparently holds bloggers liable for comments made on their blogs. Apparently, some years ago a local government agency in New Zealand was taken to court for comments made on their website.

The most well-known blogs in New Zealand tend to focus on politics and technology. Among these, check out Kiwiblog, written by David Farrar. His posts sometimes discuss technology issues as well as politics.

The group blog Public Address is also worth reading, especially Russell Brown’s Hard News. Brown is a media commentator on political and technological issues, has spoken at many information and library-related conferences and forums, and has been involved in various library-related projects including the development of the draft New Zealand Digital Content Strategy (led by the National Library).

An important library-related blog from a non-librarian is Paul Reynolds’ blog. Reynolds is “an Auckland based commentator and thinker on the topics of information access and cultural/techno change”. Paul has a long involvement with the library community and number of his posts focus on library-related issues within New Zealand, especially those involving the internet and other communications technologies.

An increasing number of New Zealand libraries are setting up blogs to communicate with their users. Among these are:

Wellington City Libraries
which mainly carries library news and information about new books.

Christchurch City Libraries
which carries general news about libraries and related topics, and currently includes a series of posts on the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

Waikato University Law Library
uses a blog format to publish news about the library and about legal topics in general. Access is only available to staff and students of the university, though.

University of Canterbury :
subject-specific blogs with roundups of news stories from the mass media, news from the library, and information about new databases or other resources.

The National Library has recently launched two blogs: LibraryTechNZ, which looks at the intersection of libraries and technology, and Create Readers, which shares ideas about how to keep children reading.

The National Library, is also using MySpace to promote its legal deposit programme. Check out the MySpace page Be Heard
Forever
which has received some positive feedback and has gained around 250 friends in a short time.

Brenda Chawner, a lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, maintains a blog as part of the MLIS paper INFO 541: Electronic Publishing. Topics include wikis, print vs online publishing, and social networking tools.

A list of other New Zealand library weblogs can be found on the LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand/Aotearoa) wiki, at http://wiki.lianza.org.nz/index.php/Resources/NewZealandLibraryBloggers.

Several New Zealand librarians have personal weblogs, including myself – Simon Chamberlain. I’m a reference librarian at Victoria University of Wellington. As far as I know, I’m the longest-writing New Zealand librarian blogger. I blog about a range of topics; many of my posts are summaries of what others have posted, but I try to publicise what is happening in New Zealand, because no-one else is
blogging about it.

A more recent New Zealand library blog is Timothy Greig’s blog which focuses mainly on the technological side of librarianship. Greig is especially interested in gaming in libraries, and in tools such as Second Life. He is completing his Masters in Library and Information Studies, and has recently taken a position at the Architecture Library at Victoria University of Wellington.

Alt+tab+lib is “the blog of a wannabe systems librarian”. The anonymous author completed his or her MLIS in 2006, and works in a special library somewhere in New Zealand. ” *alt+tab+lib* is a site where I can explore my developing interest in being able to ‘do’ web programming, share my experiences in trying to learn PHP, SQL, and API’s, and attempt to address issues of interest to systems and web librarians in a
practical sense”.

Both the last two mentioned blogs seem more focused on particular topics within librarianship than on New Zealand issues as such.

Finally, a mention of New Zealand’s most well-known library blog – the now-discontinued Bizgirl written by Natalie, a librarian at Wellington City Libraries. The blog focused more on personal issues than on professional ones, and attracted a large readership with its smartly written and humourous posts. Bizgirl even won Best Personal Blog at the 2004 Netguide Web Awards. There was only one problem. Bizgirl wasn’t real. The blog was a work of fiction, created by James Guthrie, a real-life librarian and creator of the New Zealand music website Noizyland. The blog has been dormant for the past two years, with no signs of it being revived.