And the Award Goes to... - Latest News




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Libraries Today

And the Award Goes to...

And the Award Goes to...

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, Public Libraries of New Zealand established seven awards to recognise great librarianship within our association. Our members were asked to nominate up to three individuals in their region, then the whole membership was invited to vote. There was one additional award called the Chairs’ Discretionary Award. It was a close decision in all accounts. 

Held at The Library Bar in central Wellington, the awards were generously and proudly sponsored by Wheelers, and it was a delight to have Ed Brown, General Manager of Wheelers, on hand to present the certificates.

The award recipients are listed as they were presented at the National Forum anniversary event on the evening of Wednesday 2nd May.

The Outstanding Service to Public Libraries Awards go to...

Bernie Hawke, Dunedin Public Libraries

Sarah Thompson, Westland District Library

Marion Read, Upper Hutt City Library

Cath Sheard, South Taranaki District Libraries

Jane Gilbert, Rotorua District Libraries

Sabine Weber-Beard, Far North District Council

Heather Taylor, Tararua District Council

We were so pleased to honour all our nominees and indeed, our association, in celebrating this milestone of ten years. Below are the full details of all the recipients and nominees for each region.

South Island Nominees


PHILIP VAN ZIJL - Waitaki District Council

Phillip was nominated for his work with the Pacific community and the implementation of the Reader centred library as espoused by Rachel van Riel. He has worked with Waitaki District Libraries, based in Oamaru, since February 2011. Orginally from South Africa where his library career began and flourished, in NZ, he has served on behalf of the Bay of Plenty as a LIANZA Councillor and in Dunedin on the Otago/Southland LIANZA (Library and Information Association of NZ/Aotearoa) executive. He was awarded a LIANZA Associateship in 2007. Phillip's special areas of professional interest are library design,  information/digital literacy, and bi-culturalism. 

BERNIE HAWKE - Dunedin Public Libraries

Bernie's key achievements include coordinating the establishment of the SouthLib consortium and five-year collaboration with the Symphony system, refurbishment of the Blueskin Bay Library, implementation of RFID across Dunedin Public Libraries, establishment of the Scattered Seeds digital archive, initiator of the Dunedin City of Literature proposal and member of steering committee which successfully applied for UNESCO designation, establishment of the South Dunedin Community Pop Up Library.


CLENDA WOCKNER - Buller District Libraries

Clenda has worked tirelessly with the community to establish the library as a Community Hub and Learning Centre. She has encouraged her staff to think outside the square and promoted a YES - CAN DO approach / attitude when customers ask questions of them. Clenda has established a series of monthly evening sessions in partnership with the West Coast Adult Learning Service entitled “Life Long Learning for Curious Minds”. The community is invited to come and listen to amazing people from their region who are doing incredible things. Clenda has worked with and supported the other two West Coast Library Managers. As a group they are very supportive of each other, particularly due to their isolation. They discuss ways that they can collaborate and offer the same or similar services as each other within the confines of their various Council policies.

SARAH THOMPSON - Westland District Library

Sarah Thompson was Library Manager at Westland District Library for the past 13 years and a member of PLNZ during that time. When she started the library was in smaller premises and only 26% of the Westland population were library members. She oversaw the move into bigger, fit for purpose premises, the installation of APNK equipment, migration of the LMS to Kotui, the introduction of online services and by the time she left in April, 46% of the Westland population were members and, in a Council survey, 99% of customers were satisfied with their library service. The significant support for and investment in the library has come about through Sarah’s advocacy of the library services as well as an exceptional level of professionalism and forward looking approach.

North Island Nominees


MARION READ - Upper Hutt City Library

Marion Read has been managing libraries in New Zealand for many years. She is dedicated to advancing the work of public libraries and has been a committed and hard-working member of Public Libraries of NZ (PLNZ) for many years including being a Regional Representative and Chair. Recently she and her husband Colin have invested many hours into improving how PLNZ collect and collate their annual statistics; a piece of work that will benefit and is much appreciated by all libraries. As a manager she is committed to seeing her staff achieve and develop as professionals and her customer focus is an inspiration.



CATH SHEARD - South Taranaki District Libraries

Cath Sheard is Libraries and Cultural Services Manager | Tumuaki at South Taranaki District Council where she is responsible for seven libraries, an arts coordinator and Aotea Utanganui Museum. Cath started as a part time library assistant in 1992 and will celebrate 25 years of service later this year, having held a range of library roles in that time. A lifelong learner, in the last decade Cath has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Sociology, an Advanced Diploma of Arts & Creativity (Honours), the Hyperlinked Library and Enrolled in the Emerging Future MOOCs, various leadership programmes and is eagerly awaiting the start of a Te Reo course. 
As a leader and manager Cath believes in being clear about her goals without stressing the finer details. She believes staff do their best work when happy and stress-free and aims to create a supportive work environment.  In her wider professional life, Cath is Chair of the LIANZA Professional Registration Board, on the working group of the LIANZA Kotuku programme, was Chair of LIANZA PubSIG for around 8 years (until it’s closure earlier this year), on the working group bidding to bring the IFLA World Congress to NZ in 2020, and is an active participant on the PLNZ listservs.


MICHELLE ANDERSON - Tauranga District Libraries

Michelle's stand out career achievements include: being a member Cohort 1 of INELI-Oceania (International Network of Emerging Library Innovators) and then a supporter of the next cohort; and subsequently, being the recipient of the Edith Jessie Carnell Travelling Scholarship (LIANZA) 2014, visiting Belgium, Spain/Catalonia and Wales to research biculturalism in Library Services.  
Michelle has been an active member, and a Regional Representative, of PLNZ, presented at several LIANZA Conferences and LIANZA Weekend Schools and organised professional development days for Children and Teenage Services across the North Island. Michelle is always learning and continuously challenging herself  (learning te reo Maori and New Zealand Sign Language for instance).  At Tauranga City Libraries Michelle has championed bicultural library services leading to the success of a position of a dedicated Maori Services Librarian for youth.  
Michelle is a strategic thinker and a powerfully thoughtful advocate for libraries.  She is passionate about a fair society and speaks up for customers who are disadvantaged by library rules or practice. She brings her commitment to inclusive library services to many areas of the profession and the national scene. She models personal development and challenging her own ideas, and generously passes on what she has learnt.

SUSAN HARRIS - Kawerau District Library

Susan Harris has been the Library Manager at Kawerau District Council for 25 years this July. When she began, the library had no carpet, computers, airconditioning or colour. Things were pretty grim. The Library is a lot more modern now and it’s rumoured that Susan’s favourite customer is an old bloke who says “Not many people remember what the Library was like, but I do, and good job girl”.  Susan was also one of the youngest Public Library Managers back then (1993), and has still got 15 more years to go to be one of the oldest. 
Susan’s been on most Library committees ranging from conference to LIANZA regional rep but Susan really puts her passion into the consortiums and groups like the Bay of Plenty public library managers’ group that work together to produce benefits for their communities. Ever the pragmatist and never the complainer, Susan steps in wherever she’s needed – civil defence, community initiatives and library reviews slip into her workload almost unnoticed.
Career highlights include the craziness from being the first community to launch APNK, to her Council thinking she can run a Museum as well. Susan’s driving philosophy is even though her community is small, the residents should have the same opportunities as any big Council district.




JANE GILBERT - Rotorua District Libraries


This year Jane celebrates a 50 year anniversary with Rotorua Library. That makes her sound old… Jane Gilbert is anything but. Jane is incredibly humble and would never hold herself up as anything special. But she most certainly is.
Jane has been a great leader and mentor to public library leaders throughout NZ. Always connected to the community and place in Rotorua, Jane has led change with graciousness and judgment.  Able to make sense for both council and library staff of the big trends and the little things that make a team successful.  Jane influences so many people in the public library community that they can also be bold and take opportunities to make lives better through libraries.
Jane’s vision and outside-the-box thinking have most recently led the Rotorua team to Te Aka Mauri and the future for Library Community Service, and she has dedicated her professional career to ensuring that Rotorua Library provides the best service possible for the Rotorua community. She continues to be generous in support of everything library and librarian.



SABINE WEBER-BEARD - Far North District Council

For as long as she has been part of Far North Communities, Sabine has organised and/or assisted with many community initiatives, especially children’s events. She is one of our Far North library staff who is proactive in seeking to improve her own skills and our library services. She is a fantastic collaborator and has a huge network of library professionals, some of whom she has developed life-long friendships with. Sabine is a valued staff member of the Far North District Council and well-respected by her colleagues and peers for her vast knowledge of, passion for, and service to, libraries and Far North communities. Sabine is a current member of PLNZ. She truly is one of those people who work tirelessly for the benefit of the sector or their community and are often unrecognized or overlooked. She has demonstrated herself as a great librarian who has made a difference to the quality or delivery of library services in the Far North and nation-wide.



HEATHER TAYLOR - Tararua District Council & Treasurer of Public Libraries of New Zealand

Heather Taylor is an unsung hero of PLNZ. Her relentless positivity, passion for the profession and dedication to the association.  Nothing was too much to ask and she approached every task with a ‘make it happen’ attitude and ensured there were a few laughs along the way.  Coming onto the Executive in 2013 as the Treasurer after doing two years as the Central region Regional Representative, Heather worked tirelessly to support all the Executive, especially new members as the faces change around the table. She always ensured  that the Executive and wider membership were provided with accurate and well considered financial information.  In 2014 she picked up the onerous task of developing and collating the annual statistics for the members. This involved many hours of her own time preparing the sheets and developing the format to meet the members needs and expectations.  Nothing is ever too much for Heather, she always offers her time willingly whilst also demonstrating her professionalism in her day job as Library Manager of Tararua District. Heather is known for her generosity of spirit and leads the Tararua District Libraries with the same passion and dedication for her staff and wider community that she has demonstrated throughout her time on the APLM Executive.
Nominated and endorsed by previous Chairs, Marion Read and Rebecca Whitehead, and current Chair Lorraine Weston-Webb.


Public Libraries of New Zealand want to extend a heartfelt thank-you to Wheelers, without whom the Anniversary Awards would not have been possible.




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