Today’s post comes to us from the ILN’s Country Ambassador for Australia, Jenny Mustey:
One of the highlights for me this year was to expand my interest in International Librarianship with my role as a mentor in the INELI-Oceania Cohort 2 program. This year I was thrilled to be asked to be involved in the INELI-Oceania program that attracts participants from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. (Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste)
INELI (International Network Emerging Library Innovators) has been running globally for a number of years and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Due to the success and the quality of the program a number of regional programs have been created to provide further opportunities for library professionals to be involved in the program a bit closer to home. Additional funding from ALIA, LIANZA and NSLA is provided as well as sponsorship from a number of National, State and Public libraries and Public Library Network Victoria, Yarra Plenty and Auckland City Libraries to ensure INELI-Oceania can happen. It is driven by a very professional steering committee and facilitated by Program Manager Leneve Jamieson, therefore it runs extremely efficiently which is one of its key strengths.
The program will be conducted over two years and this current Cohort commenced in July 2016 with its first convening in Auckland, New Zealand. What a wonderful experience and fun time that was, so much learning and instant connections were made by the Cohort 2 Innovators, as well as having the opportunity to meet with and hear from Cohort 1 participants who were concluding their two year program. I was amazed at incredible amount of work to coordinate flights, taxis, accommodation, dinners for everyone involved – participants, sponsors, mentors, steering committee and support team. Huge effort to make this all happen and that was just the beginning!
Since the convening I have been enjoying my role as mentor and getting to know my work team including two from Australia and two from New Zealand and one from Vanuatu. The Innovators will be working through a series of set modules that have been developed by INELI Global and they have the opportunity through forum discussion and regular skype chats to discuss and work on the various aspects of the modules together. It has been totally awesome getting to know these amazing professionals and hear what they have happening in their library services and how they can assist each other. The emphasis of the program is on the networking, which like the ILN, is the best part of it. It is so fantastic to be able to share ideas, talk about innovative programs, suggest solutions to problems and challenges and discuss the course readings and worksheets. The participants can also work with other members outside their set work group which is encouraged as it widens the knowledge sharing and networking. The role of mentor is to really just be there to facilitate discussion, support them and the Program Manager with their course work, provide examples and share my own experiences and ideas.
Am looking forward to learning more from the Innovators as they work through the modules and then look forward to meeting with them all at the second convening in 2018. A lot of work for them to complete between now and then and evaluation is also a key aspect of the program. Am feeling very blessed that I can contribute to this program and I know that I will also gain a lot from it personally and professionally.