Monthly Archives: February 2022

Special interest group keeps New Zealand librarians in touch


By Marisa King

In these uncertain times, maintaining our professional networks is more important than ever. Having regular opportunities to connect to share ideas, challenges and even just have a laugh pays dividends for our ongoing professional development and more fundamentally, our personal wellbeing and resilience.

For academic and research librarians in New Zealand, maintaining professional networks is made all the more easier by an active special interest group that exists purely to serve the needs of their sector.

Known as TEL SIG, the Tertiary Libraries Special Interest Group is a part of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA). TEL SIG is headed by an enthusiastic committee of eight academic and research librarians from across New Zealand and has 155 individual members.

With TEL SIG members being spread across New Zealand, the majority of events are held online. In recent times a series of popular TEL SIG webinars have canvassed topics such as the state of open access in Aotearoa New Zealand, managing stress, e-textbooks (the pros and cons), facing adversity, and new model library and open science projects. These monthly one-hour lunchtime sessions grew into an open platform for librarians from all corners of New Zealand to interact and share their views, questions, concerns and experiences. Each discussion focuses on a “hot topic” of interest suggested by the community itself.

Another popular networking opportunity offered by TEL SIG is its monthly journal discussion groups. Each month an article is selected for discussion at a number of virtual and face-to-face groups held across the country. Each article relates to one of six ‘bodies of knowledge’ clusters that make up LIANZA’s professional registration scheme. Professional registration enables New Zealand librarians to demonstrate their commitment to professional standards by meeting a level of knowledge, understanding, and competence that is overseen by a professional registration board.

In early 2021, TEL SIG also joined forces with LIANZA’s Research Special Interest Group to hold a highly successful two-day symposium at the National Library in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.

New Zealand has eight universities – two in Auckland, one in Hamilton, one in Palmerston North, one in Wellington, two in or near Christchurch, and one in Dunedin.

Important issues facing New Zealand academic and research librarians will no doubt be familiar to their international IFLA colleagues. Many issues revolve around the word “open” such as promoting open educational resources and open access publishing.

A recent report on the state of open access publishing in Aotearoa New Zealand was produced for the Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL). The report was the subject of a TEL SIG webinar in late 2021. The report’s findings included:

  • Only 44% of New Zealand’s research is openly available. This is much lower than in many other countries. Even work funded by the country’s major research funders is only 52% open.
  • New Zealand researchers are spending more on open access fees each year, on top of the tens of millions of dollars tertiary libraries already pay in subscriptions.
  • If all eligible research outputs were made open by uploading an accepted manuscript to an institutional repository, New Zealand’s overall open access proportion would rise to 70%.



Did you know?

  • New Zealand’s total population is a little over five million.
  • The country comprises two main islands – the North and the South Island – and a number of small islands, some of them hundreds of miles from the main group.
  • Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand. The most popular and authoritative meaning usually given for Aotearoa is “long white cloud”.

Marisa King

Coach, New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme


Further reading: