Librarian’s experience to benefit community

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Te Anau librarian/customer support partner Jo Mann (left) with mothers and their children at the library. Photo: Julie Walls

TE Anau librarian Jo Mann is now sharing her new skills with the Te Anau community following a two-week internship at the National Library of New Zealand in March.

Mrs Mann was the recipient of the Helen Zwartz Scholarship, which provided funding for a librarian or staff member working in a public library serving one of New Zealand’s smaller communities to undertake an internship at the National Library.

Mrs Mann said the scholarship had been an amazing learning opportunity.

After the internship, Mrs Mann said she had looked forward to returning home to her role with the Southland District Libraries with the new skills she had acquired and a valuable network she was establishing through the internship.

“I still have contact and support from the National Library and now have the skills to advise and match information for people inquiring on a person, family, community groups and others.”

Mrs Mann said a colleague from Winton told her about the scholarship and had encouraged her to apply.

“I am always eager to learn and develop library skills.”

On the application form, Mrs Mann had to specify an area of work she was most interested in so a programme could be moulded around that interest.

I wanted to focus on reference services. I thought the skills I would pick up would be most useful to bring back.”

Mrs Mann’s love for connecting with people in her community saw her leave a teaching career after 11 years at Mararoa School, which included both part-time and full-time positions, to become a full-time librarian. She has been the librarian at Te Anau Library for more than six years.

“I enjoy my job as it brings me into contact with a cross-section of people.”

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