Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa
Te Rau Herenga O Aotearoa

#LIANZAHQ - Frequently Asked Questions

We answer your Frequently Asked Questions about the Association. If there is something you'd like to know then ask us using #LIANZAHQ via twitter, Facebook or email joanna@lianza.org.nz

  1. Why is membership of LIANZA so high?
  2. Why can’t we pay for our membership monthly or quarterly? It would easier on the pocket!
  3. Why do you charge a professional registration fee every year when it’s only every 3 years you renew?
  4. Has Professional Registration achieved what it set out to achieve, and how was this done?
  5. CILIP’s recent rebranding has caused some controversy among its members; How does LIANZA’s Brand Libraries project relate?
  6. When I resigned from ALIA I got a personalised letter from their President.  When my friend resigned from LIANZA they heard nothing – don’t you think a personalised letter would be a good idea?
  7. More Transparency around LIANZA?

Why is membership of LIANZA so high?
This question comes up a lot. We do make every effort to keep LIANZA membership fees as low as possible.  Membership fees all go towards covering our running costs, along with any other income we receive (for more on that, see our Treasurer Steve's blog post on LIANZA income in this issue).  

Over the years, we've tried to keep membership as affordable as we can.  In 2004 we made a big reduction to personal membership fees, which were previously up to twice as much as they are now.  We kept that rate the same until 2010, when membership was increased along with the GST changes.  Since then, we've increased fees at (or less than) the rate of inflation.  That's been an unfortunate, but necessary step to ensure that we can continue to afford our fixed costs (such as accommodation, utilities, and the like), which continue to rise each year.

We review our membership fees regularly, and are always looking to see how we can increase value for money, and make membership more worthwhile.  We also regularly review what the rates are in comparable organisations overseas, such as ALIA and CILIP.  We've just approved a new, lower and more inclusive, student rate for example.  We're also looking at better payment options to make membership more managable. 

If you find that you're having difficulty meeting your membership fees for any reason, please do contact the LIANZA office. We want as many people as possible to be able to benefit from membership, and are always happy to talk about how we can help that to happen.

Why can’t we pay for our membership monthly or quarterly? It would easier on the pocket!
We’ve had this request from several members, both individual and corporate and it makes sense.  We’re currently investigating direct debit options for our members and hope to have something soon, but in the interim if you would like to set up an AP and pay us quarterly or even monthly, just let us know that is what you are doing and we will track your payments for you. 

Why do you charge a professional registration fee every year when it’s only every 3 years you renew?
In setting up Professional Registration, LIANZA opted for a part-payment of the cost of Registration every year, instead of a larger, one-off cost every three years. This helps to spread the cost of administering the scheme, and allows us to commit to ongoing resources like a dedicated staff member, that we wouldn't be able to do with a variable number of one-off registration fees falling in different years. Although revalidation is every three years, many members do touch base with us during the year for advice and information, and that provides an important ongoing resource for those keeping up their revalidation.  

In order to run the Professional Registration scheme, the costs involved include staff wages, management of the Profession Registration Board, the mentoring scheme, the revalidation process and producing resources to support registrants.

Some other organisations (like ALIA) roll their certification costs into the membership fee.  We've chosen to keep it separate, as it does give us some flexibility around the cost. For example, although membership fees have risen slightly with inflation over the last few years, we haven't increased the registration fee since its introduction.  We hope to hold fees steady for as long as we can continue meet the ongoing costs of running Registration within the current fee.

Has Professional Registration achieved what it set out to achieve, and how was this done?
We have had some great successes with our Professional Registration Scheme.  When adopted as a requirement for its more senior staff members by the Auckland Council library system, management was able to successfully demonstrate that librarians should be paid on the same scale as other professional roles in the Council, significantly increasing the salary bands for its team.  

However, at this stage, if we are being totally honest, professional registration has only partially achieved its original objectives.  The programme had several goals, and these were articulated as:

  • a goal for the ongoing professional development of individual practitioners
  • a framework for employers to coach and develop their library and information professional staff
  • an assurance for future employers, both in New Zealand and overseas, that a registered member meets professional standards of competency in the Bodies of Knowledge and ethics required for professional library and information work
  • international benchmarking and recognition of professional library qualifications for New Zealanders wishing to work overseas.

The Body of Knowledge and the linked CPD requirements has created an opportunity for librarians to develop their skillset, and has also created a robust framework that is being used by several key employers within the sector. 

The quality and integrity of the Scheme has been recognised by many employers and we are seeing a gradual increase in the number who view this as a desirable qualification in their employees.  However our careers survey showed still, that only one third found RLIANZA to be desirable and only 7% had RLIANZA as a role requirement.  There were many sectors where it was disregarded completely.  Without widespread uptake by employers it is unlikely to have the impact on remuneration in other areas that it has had in Auckland.

The scheme has successfully assisted New Zealanders with recognition overseas as we have a reciprocal agreement with CILIP, however, we have not been able to reach reciprocal agreements with ALA or ALIA due to the differing structures of our schemes.  We are still working on this and hope to be successful shortly, but this is a gap for our membership.

We have also had mixed responses from the sector – many find the scheme to be helpful and are in support (we currently have over 1,000 registered), however, there is still some resistance to the scheme and a worry that it creates elitism. 

What is not under question is the quality of the portfolios received by the Professional Registration Board, and the calibre of the individuals who have achieved RLIANZA status.   We've been working hard to make the revalidation process easier, and have made big changes to the revalidation template, as well as streamlining the Body of Knowledge. While working through revalidation, many people have commented how valuable they've found it, despite feeling initially apprehensive about the work involved. 

The focus for the next couple of years will be on supporting and mentoring members through the revalidation process as well as mentoring new graduates into the scheme.  We'll also be doing some significant work to support pay rates in the sector, and helping people to understand and convey the value of RLIANZA will be a part of that.

With Auckland, as an example of the benefits the scheme can provide to individuals, I believe we have the opportunity to make a real difference to the sector through Professional Registration. We still definitely have work to do to realise all the benefits that Registration has the potential to provide, but are continuing on the path to make that happen.

CILIP’s recent rebranding has caused some controversy among its members; How does LIANZA’s Brand Libraries project relate?
The #brandlibraries project is to designed to develop a strong, unified “brand” for libraries (not LIANZA), aimed at decision makers, which spells out the economic and social value of libraries in New Zealand. This is part of the wider work by LIANZA around Strengthening the Profession.

LIANZA as an association has no intentions to rebrand.  Our current name has a strong, recognisable brand and position.

When I resigned from ALIA I got a personalised letter from their President.  When my friend resigned from LIANZA they heard nothing – don’t you think a personalised letter would be a good idea?
Yes, it would be a great idea!  We are always grateful for the years of support dedicated to the Association from our members, and recognise that there are a variety of reasons that people resign from associations.  We have been doing a review of all our member communications and hope to be able to implement this within the next six weeks.

More Transparency around LIANZA?
We received this tweet: Details to mull over. @lianzaoffice take note please: Mea culpa, or, what I've been up to lately.

Communication and transparency are areas that any membership organisation has to continually work on.  

Regarding the specific things talked about in the blog, board minutes of every meeting are posted on the website and are available to all of our members. We’re working on a more streamlined process to get these up faster, and we have a Council member assigned to blog about each meeting for those who like a shorter summary. Our Council meetings are open, with LIANZA members and interested parties from the public being welcome to dial in or attend any council meetings in person.  We even tried live tweeting at the August meeting! 

We generally use the “Expression of Interest” method for getting people involved with working groups and committees, and encourage anyone who is interested in being involved in these to give us a call if you’d like to know more. Many of our boards to write blogs and other resources which are highlighted in Library Life (such as Elaine Side’s blogs on Professional Registration, and Tony Millett’s publications on Copyright).

Library Life is an important vehicle to deliver LIANZA news and information to the membership, as is the website, and we do our best to keep everyone up to date about any changes to our Code of Practice, membership rates and the projects we have underway.

We are happy to respond to member concerns at any time and are open to members putting suggestions to Council about potential initiatives. Both our recent student membership and the EBL piece were as the direct result of member suggestions.

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