LIANZA, The Library and Information Association of New Zealand, Aotearoa, has a new web site. Critiquing collegiate web sites can cause lots of problems - people get hurt - sensitivities are provoked. Nevertheless, it is to be hoped the NZ library community can both benefit from, and be able to participate in, some robust internal and external debate on what will be their primary online home for a couple of years at least.
Look and feel
On the local library list serve the criticism has hitherto been all about colour - look and feel - including comments on the nitty gritty detail of the contact button - spelling mistakes et al. And fair enough - people will do just that - but 'tis to be hoped we can move quickly towards a deeper debate on the content and editorial plan, both current and to come. On that note, I have the following suggestions I'd like to offer for debate:
1. The library/professional focusSummary
There seems to be a big emphasis on the profession - its members and concerns et al. I would like to see this extended to include key supporters and users of libraries - especially public libraries.
I would also love to see a lot more on how libraries serve this wider stakeholder constituency - via case studies - key facts on economic value - in short - as the Brits once had it - build the evidence base for the economic and cultural value of libraries.
This could be done as a dashboard - a bit like the Indianapolis Art Gallery Dashboard
2. People Using libraries
There are great war stories on just how important libraries - especially public libraries- are to people, most recently Rolling Stone,Keith Richards, and his secret librarian life, here. Inside this article is this marvelous quote from his autobiography:
“When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equaliser.”Also to hand is the wonderful interview with Junot Diaz with the Christchurch City Library web team at the 2008 Writers Festival in Auckland, when he says that 'libraries saved my life' That story also reveals that the public library can be a bit of a news star in its own right - i.e. Christchurch City Libraries web team went to the Auckland Writers Fesitval - got the story - wrote it - published it. See here
3. LIANZA Conference
Here in NZ, the LIANZA library conference in October is one of the great meeting points for cultural/heritage/arts people, especially online.
There are literally dozens of great LIANZA conference sessions on record over the last 5/10 years - including the seminal presentations from the likes of Larry Lessig in Auckland 2008. Why cant we have a selection of these videos up on line?
I know the automatic response is rights - but that must be under control now? After all the sessions are for sale within an hour of the presentation at the conference , and I don't know of any speaker who gets a royalty from these.
So please can we have a video wall up and running now - whether via a You Tube or Vimeo Channel - this stuff is just so achievable.
4. Friday moments
The NZ Libs list serve has the occasional Friday moment - I have offered more than a few myself - why not this feature here? There must be a mile of interesting ways to create the community effect the site is aspiring to.
5. Reading Diaries/Journals
Can we have a composite one - i.e. what are people reading? Would make a great tag cloud? Would also make a great Twitter feed?
6. Guest Blog
Can we have a guest blog feature? The UK Museum Computer Community do a great job of this here:
In summary I would love to see a really robust debate from within the profession - and, dare I say, the outside world - on the content and editorial plans for the site, and leave the debate on colours, and micro-managing the information architecture for another day.