Contemplation: emergent leadership and Playcentre

So I’ve had a lot of time to think over the past five years.
You get that when you have children and aren’t in paid employment. In between the meal prep; nappy changes, nappy scrubbing, the third load of washing; mediation of sibling disagreements, etcetera – I have done a lot of thinking. Thinking about everything really. Problem is, this thinking doesn’t get recorded at the time and then you get an uncoordinated ugly braindump of a post like this one. The following is just a short summary. It may become a regular feature in all future posts this year.

I’ve been thinking:
  • libraries really can be the intersection point for their communities
  • Enthusiasm is infectious, make contact with it.
  • you need to be so flexible and up for anything if you want to go anywhere in any career. Quite literally, that sentence makes so much sense
  • Playcentre and emergent leadership have so much in common.
  • the number of children you have and how many hours you work – paid and unpaid – is not a measure of your self-worth
  • flexible working needs to be talked about openly at a management level
  • the “yeah, so what?” factor is real, when looking in at this period of life from the outside but, this too shall pass.
  • Making sense and a sentence is not my strong point right now.
  • This too shall pass.
  • When, though?!
  • I love my children.
  • It’s hard work raising them, but it’s worth it. Our lives are so much richer because of them.
Playcentre and emergent leadership have so much in common

Playcentre’s philosophy of child-led learning through play and experimentation matches emergent leadership’s – allowing people of all levels of any organisation to make decisions and lead from any position.

I haven’t read much about emergent leadership, but I went to a weekend school where it was a running theme, and have had conversations with people, and I gather this is what it’s all about – Give people the freedom to make their own decisions. Make mistakes, learn from them, share with others, and repeat until the desired outcome is reached.

The core of Playcentre’s philosophy is child-led learning – Children and whānau, learning and growing together. At Playcentre, we provide for their play, and we participate in their play too, but we step back more and assist and guide when necessary.  We observe and see what the children do and wait to see what emerges. It’s painful to watch things played out sometimes. Relationships are broken and we guide them with the mending part. Limbs are hurt, feelings, emotions are hurt. Over and over again. But we’re there to help them reconnect with each other and move forward together with their plan. Oh, I could go on.

I just wanted to share that for a moment in time, I felt an immediate sense of connection between what I practice in my life as a Playcentre Mum and the practice of emergent leadership.

So now is where I put a call-to-action. This is something I learned from a paper I completed this time last year. Insert a call-to-action at the end of a webpage. Where does the user go once they have read the content?
What have you been thinking? Tell me!

Literature searching: Refreshing my tired brain

EditI have found some friends who are interested in this broad research area as well, Meg Cordes and Sarah Gallagher. If you’d like to join us on this exploration of the literature and holistic approach to researching,  and finding a hypothesis through discussion and reading, we welcome your input.

Yesterday evening I spent a couple of hours online with Meg, searching Victoria University’s databases. We tried Waharoa, the search discovery layer (covers physical items in the collection, and subscribed resources and their subsets), and a small handful of databases. Emerald turned out to yield the best results – focused (on our subject) and a good number of results.

Meg and I used google hangouts, her suggestion – I hadn’t used it before. As a regular user of FaceTime and Skype, it’s good. Feature-rich and I put it and Meg to the test when I asked if she could share her screen with me – the searches that she was doing whilst talking to me.

I sat back on my bed, tired from the continuous conversations with my kids all day, and watched Meg do some preliminary literature searches on our broad research topic – librarianship and parenthood.

We started with a table or concept grid, to list the range of search terms we had already thought of, and synonyms and related terms.

As Meg scrolled, we both saw the same articles of interest, she would check and add them to a saved list (later e-mailed to herself), and I would comment and interject with suggestions for adjusting the search. As we scrolled through scanning the titles and reading abstracts of ones that caught our interest, we added search terms to our concept grid in a shared google doc, open in another window.

Once a Librarian, always a Librarian.

I still had the knack. Meg said so. Boolean searching, truncation, wildcards, brackets, all that. It was like going back 8 years. I swear I have not done Boolean searching in a librarian-client relationship in quite some time.

T’was fun.

And so the fun of researching begins. Stay tuned to follow our progress.

Beginning a discussion on librarianship and parenthood

For the past five years, I have been working on writing about librarianship and motherhood and what happens when they collide.
This work has all been happening in my brain, I’ve been archiving and filing, pondering and musing, and consolidating my own experiences with my values and beliefs and the experiences of my friends and colleagues. I’ve also been reading up on the literature. I’ve slowly begun to save what I’ve found, so I can share it with you.

Many things happen when librarianship and motherhood collide. Many wonderful and life-affirming, many disheartening and disappointing. However, shit happens. And whatever order you did it in – perhaps motherhood before librarianship – you’d have an experience to recall.

I’d like to share some of my findings with you.

I want to write about the collision of parenthood and librarianship because I strongly believe, this topic is close to many of us and concerns many of us in the profession. My intention, like Gallin-Parisi (2015), is to, “inspire an honest conversation about this topic within the profession”. I also want this to be an open conversation.

You should be free to speak your mind, wherever your opinion aligns, or even if – especially if – it doesn’t align with anyone.

Around a couple of years ago, I started up this folder collating all these articles on librarianship and motherhood. A few articles about faculty status and parenthood are there, a few with a feminist slant, one that talks about a thing called ‘income penalty’, and others. One is titled, “Q: I am starting to think about having children. How do I start a dialogue with the people I work with, and with my supervisor?”

I read and found that the literature abounds on negative and corrosive discussions about the stress of doing both roles, and doing them well.

My question is: Do you want to talk about this?

Let me know.



Gallin-Parisi, A. (2015). The Joy of combining librarianship with motherhood. Retrieved from on Nov 19, 2016.

Bedoya, J. et al. (2015). How to hack it as a working parent. Retrieved from on Nov 19, 2016

Andersen, M. (2011). Power of choice: Problems with a female-dominated profession. Retrieved from on Nov, 23, 2016