Wellington is proud to host this group of public librarians and acknowledges the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for establishing this network, at a time when public library leaders around the world face unprecedented economic challenges.
"This is a great opportunity to explore the future of public libraries and new innovations; and it will be a worthy introduction to the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa's 2011 conference" said Jane Hill, Wellington City Libraries' Manager.
The group of 48 participants come from 16 different countries, such as Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Australia, Sweden, Greece, Uganda, United Kingdom and China. They include 18 emerging innovators from the public libraries field, who are internationally regarded leaders in their profession, along with their sponsors, mentors and network support staff. While participants have diverse backgrounds and experience, they all share a passion for public libraries and the life-changing services they provide.
Over the next two years the network participants will help to redefine the public library. They will complete a project relating to innovative public library services, in collaboration with other partners and the results of these projects will be shared with the library field.
Deborah Jacobs, Director of Global Libraries, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says "Creating a library of the future will require flexibility, tenacity, imagination, and leadership. Global Libraries created the INELI so that library users all over the world can benefit from library staff best equipped to support them in meeting their information needs.
"We selected New Zealand for our first meeting of this network because its librarians are known throughout the world for being innovative, engaged with their communities, and committed to ongoing professional development. We are grateful to the New Zealand library community for providing our network participants with the opportunity to visit libraries in and around Wellington as well as to participate in the LIANZA conference."