Waimakariri Libraries among winners

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By Robyn Bristow

Waimakariri District Libraries has earned a top spot at an international music competition after composing an original song and music video about how much they love their libraries.

Their entry Down at Your Library, was awarded fourth by the New Professionals Special Interest Group (NPSIG) at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions 2021 conference on Tuesday.

They were up against 70 libraries from 17 countries.

Laura Caygill, Waimakariri Library’s Customer Experiences and Diversity team leader, learnt about the competition just a few days before the deadline.

“We have a great team, and this was a wonderful opportunity to use all our creative energies and talents,” says Laura.

“We 100 percent believe in the message of our little song

Library assistant Any Hallmark wrote the lyrics and assistant librarian Ben Eldridge put them to original music.

Just three days after hearing about the competition, Laura found herself in the recording studio, singing lead vocals.

“There were a lot of laughs in the room as we recorded the song and we suddenly realised we could actually pull this stuff off,” Laura says.

“I think what makes our video special is that you can see just how much fun we are having.”

The accompanying video shows library customers and staff enjoying the resources at Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Library and Civic Centre and features Hazel, the library reading dog.

Laura says the job was to show “our passion for libraries”, and the community where they worked.

Modern libraries were more than just spaces, Laura says, and people could now connect with them on line.

“You might not think of librarians creating music videos, but engaging in the digital world is a big part of what we do,” she says.

The competition judges were overwhelmed by the response to the competition where contestants had to submit a song and video highlighting the value and importance of libraries.

Serbia won the competition, Poland was second and China third.

District libraries manager Paula Eskett, says funding form the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Prgoramme was channelled into the fun and engaging promotional resource.

“We have licensed it with Creative Commons licence, which means other libraries are welcome to reuse, remix and revise what we made, into what they want for their communities,” Paula says.

Executive director of the Library and Information Association of new Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), Ana Pickering says it is wonderful to see one of its libraries credited at this level overseas, and in such a creative way on the world stage.

Hallmark used to be a drama teacher, Ben Eldridge has been performing in bands for the past 22 years and occasionally plays in pit bands for musical theatre productions. Laura Caygill has 13 years’ experience in public libraries. In her spare time she reviews books for Radio new Zealand’s Nine to Noon and sings with Atlas Voices and the CSO Chorus in Christchurch.