LIANZA 2023 Conference-01


We are excited to announce our keynote speakers.



Connecting with the Past, Serving the Present, Engaging with the Future

Libraries and archives around the world have been increasingly dedicating their efforts and activities in making their collections more accessible and discoverable for use today and in the future. By « putting the user first », Library and Archives Canada has undertaken multi-faceted efforts in the last few years to ensure its collections become increasingly open and accessible for all its users today, and tomorrow. Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Leslie Weir, will provide insights into how Canada is engaging and partnering with new and underserved communities, transforming library and archives technologies and services, and developing and implementing strategies to provide greater and sustainable access and discoverability to its collections. Leslie Weir will also have the honour of delivering the closing remarks at the conference.

Bio: Leslie Weir is the leading librarian and archivist for Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

Leslie has been leading LAC through a transformation with the development of the LAC strategic plan and strategic priorities, service and IT infrastructure changes, as well as the reorganisation of its structure to support the achievement of LAC’s mandate – all with a focus on people and access.

Leslie has played important roles in many transformative moments at the Canadian Research Knowledge Network and in research libraries and archives in Canada. She is one of the founding architects of Scholars Portal, the state-of-the-art research infrastructure in Ontario universities and served as Chair of the Ontario Council of University Libraries. Ms. Weir served as president of, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and the Ontario Library Association. She is currently a member of the FAN (Forum of National Archivists) steering committee, vice-chair of CDNL (Conference of Directors of National Libraries) and Professional Division A chair at the International Federation of Library Associations.

320px-Michael_Peter_Edson_—_Headshot 01


The Big Frikin’ Wall

Libraries, even innovative ones, are used to operating within well-established boundaries of authority and trust. But the realities of 2023 — including the climate emergency, pandemics, and rapid technological and social change reveal gaps and flaws in the habitual notions of our work.

In this provocative keynote, Cultural strategist and digital pioneer MIchael Peter Edson will draw from 30-years of work in the GLAM sector to argue that library professionals at all levels need to dramatically expand their concept of what the sector is and does if we are to leap over the Big Frikin’ Wall that separates library practice from work that needs to be done.

Bio: We are delighted to announce that Michael Peter Edson, a renowned expert in digital strategy and cultural innovation, will be joining us as a keynote speaker at the LIANZA 2023 Conference. Michael will focus on climate action and the role that cultural institutions, including libraries, can play in creating a more sustainable future.

Michael Peter Edson is a strategist, consultant, and thought leader at the forefront of digital transformation in the cultural sector. He was the Director of Web and New Media Strategy at the Smithsonian Institution, the co-Founder of the Museum for the United Nations, and is helping to create the Museum of Solutions (MuSo), Mumbai. Michael is chair of the Europeana Foundation's Advisory Board, and he is leading the creation of Climate Things, a movement network designed to catalyze large-scale action from within the cultural sector. Michael is a Salzburg Global Fellow; a Fellow at the Getty Leadership Institute; a Presidential Distinguished Fellow emeritus at the Council for Libraries and Information Resources (USA); and a juror for the MacArthur Foundation's $100 million grant initiative, $100 & Change, and Cumulus Green, a global design competition for solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Michael is an O'Reilly Foo Camp alumni and he was named a "Tech Titan: person to watch" by Washingtonian magazine.

Michael will be joining the conference virtually.


Wahler5 (1)


Effective Library Responses to Changing Patron Needs: Importance of People, Programs, and Partnerships

As public libraries globally note changing patron needs, including but not limited to increases in patron mental health problems, substance use, housing instability and homelessness, and food insecurity, library staff often struggle to adequately respond to and address these needs. Many of these complex human challenges cause stress and strain for staff and exceed their professional training, and some contribute to firsthand or secondary/vicarious experiences of workplace trauma for library employees. In this presentation, data will be presented about the increasing psychosocial needs of library patrons and strategies discussed for how libraries can effectively address and respond to these needs, focusing primarily on the importance of people, programmes, and partnerships.

Bio: Dr Elizabeth (Beth) Wahler is a researcher, educator, consultant, and social worker.

She has collaborated with both individual libraries and large library systems throughout the US conducting needs assessments of patron’s psychosocial needs and associated staff challenges, providing training to library staff about trauma-informed approaches to address their patron’s psychosocial needs, and creating and piloting various intervention including collaborative social work and library programs.

She has presented widely on these topics and published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals. This includes a forthcoming book Creating a Person-Centered Library: Best Practices for Supporting High-Needs Patrons, to be published by Libraries Unlimited in September 2023.

She is the founder and owner of Beth Wahler Consulting and a professor of social work at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, US.

Beth will be joining the conference virtually.

Hana O'Regan sq


Whatua kā aho tīpuna o te whare hai tīaka pūmau uhia te whenua
Weave together the ancestral threads of the house,  as an everlasting mat to cover the land

The theme of this conference provides a good backdrop for the weaving together of experiences and understandings, of journeys and stories, people and places. It allows us to consider how we draw together the stories and narratives of different communities, and importantly, who gets to choose which stories are selected to be heard and shared with a wider audience. For those whose stories and knowledge systems are most commonly heard, promoted, and find place within our libraries and knowledge houses, it may seem odd to question the thinking and beliefs that influence that selection process, or indeed to contend that the process occurs at all. But for those whose stories aren't given space or treated equally, the barriers and challenges are commonly known and the impact of them keenly felt. This can have an impact on the way people chose to engage with the places and material contained within them, how they feel, and how much of themselves and their culture they see reflected back to them. This presentation will follow a personal reflection of the journey that has been taken in Aotearoa to create space for the indigenous voice within our libraries, considering how far we have come and the milestones achieved, whilst also considering the journey we may yet want to travel.

Bio: Dr Hana O’Regan has worked in the areas of language revitalisation, identity and cultural development, te reo Māori and education for over 25 years. Hana is a published author and composer and is recognised internationally for her work in indigenous language acquisition and revitalisation. A graduate of Te Panekiretanga – Institute of Excellence in Te Reo Māori, Hana is widely respected for her Māori language contribution, skills and advocacy. Hana’s passion for education and community, history and equity has resulted in a career committed to working with organisations, businesses and individuals to support and enhance positive outcomes for learners and whānau.

Since late 2020 Hana has been Tumu Whakarae of CORE Education.

In 2006 Hana took up the role of General Manager, Oraka for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Prior to working at Ngāi Tahu, Hana held two director positions on the senior executive at ARA Institute of Canterbury as the Kaiārahi – Director Māori and Pasifika, and the Director for the Student Services Division.

Hana has held many positions on national boards, review panels and committees across the areas of education, Māori development, national identity, Treaty rights and policies and health. In 2021 Hana was appointed as a member to The Waitangi Tribunal.

Rangi Bush square


LIANZA is honoured to announce that our opening keynote speaker at LIANZA 2023 will be Professor Rangi Mātāmua, Professor of Mātauranga Māori at Massey University. Professor Mātāmua has revolutionised understandings of Māori astronomy and his research has been ground-breaking in terms of its contribution to mātauranga Māori.

Professor Mātāmua is the 2023 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year | Te Pou Whakarae o Aotearoa in recognition of his contribution to the wellbeing of our country.  He was also the winner of the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize in 2019 and the Callaghan Medal for science communication from The Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2020.

Professor Mātāmua is renowned for his role in communicating his research in an accessible and engaging way. He is the author of the bestselling book Matariki: The Star of the Year (published both in English and te reo editions) and presenter of the award-winning te reo Māori web series Living by the Stars.



The Library: a Fragile History

Libraries have a long history of responding to the challenges of rapid and dramatic technological transformation. Laurinda Thomas, Wellington City Libraries will talk with historians Professor Andrew Pettegree and Dr Arthur der Weduwen (University of St Andrews, Scotland) about libraries past, present and future.  They will discuss the contested and dramatic history of the library, from the famous collections of the ancient world to the embattled institutions still cherished today, the enduring nature of books and the resilience of libraries as institutions.

Andrew Pettegree, FBA is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue project. He is the author of over a dozen books in the fields of Reformation history and the history of communication, including The Book in the Renaissance, The Invention of News, Brand Luther: 1517, Print and the Making of the Reformation, and, The Library: A Fragile History. His latest book, out in the autumn of 2023, is The Book at War: Libraries and Readers in an Age of Conflict.

Arthur der Weduwen is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of St Andrews and Deputy Director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue project. He is the author of six books, including Dutch and Flemish Newspapers of the Seventeenth Century (2017), The Bookshop of the World. Making and Trading Books in the Dutch Golden Age (2019), and The Library: A Fragile History (2021).

Andrew and Arthur will be joining the conference virtually.

Gigi Fenster


Blood and Money: A creative writing workshop

‘There isn’t a story written that isn’t about blood and money’, the writer Grace Paley famously said. Participants will be guided through a quick creative writing exercise that looks at blood, money, story and the slippery concept of voice. You will leave the 30 minute workshop with the seeds of a story and some tools to help you find your voice. Come and have fun!

Bio: It is the first time in several years that LIANZA has had an award-winning author at the conference. Thank you, Bolinda, for making this possible.

Gigi Fenster is the critically acclaimed author of three books: The Intentions BookFeverish and A Good Winter. She won the 2020 Gifkins Prize. Gigi's work has been a finalist in the New Zealand Post Book Awards and longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Award and the Commonwealth Prize.

A Good Winter was shortlisted for the 2022 Acorn Fiction Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. It was published as an audiobook by Bolinda, narrated by Australian actor Jennifer Vuletic.

Gigi has Masters and PhD in creative writing and a number of law degrees. She teaches Creative Writing at Massey University.

Genevieve Bell Cropped Andrew Meares


Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell is a renowned anthropologist, technologist, and futurist. Genevieve completed her PhD in cultural anthropology at Stanford University in 1998 and is best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development.

She is currently a Distinguished Professor, Director of the School of Cybernetics and Florence Violet McKenzie chair at the Australian National University (ANU) and a vice president and senior fellow in Intel Labs at Intel Corporation. In 2017, Genevieve returned to Australia and established the 3A Institute at The Australian National University in collaboration with CSIRO's Data61, with the mission of building a new branch of engineering to take AI-enabled cyber-physical systems safely, sustainably and responsibly scale. In 2021, she became the inaugural Director of the new ANU School of Cybernetics, which builds on the foundational work of the 3A Institute and seeks to establish cybernetics as an important tool for navigating major societal transformations, through capability building, policy development and safe, sustainable and responsible approaches to new systems.