International Network of Library Innovators (INELI) Oceania
Australia prioritises capacity development in the Indo-Pacific through programs such as the INELI. The primary objectives of the INELI are to:
- Identify, nurture, and develop innovative emerging leaders in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific through an online learning program and network opportunities.
- Foster partnerships and collaboration of stakeholders in the region.
INELI Oceania is a leadership program aimed at developing innovative emerging leaders in public libraries throughout Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. It is part of a network, being one of seven such programs offered around the world.
The program commenced in 2014 funded by the Global Libraries initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. To date emerging leaders from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu have undertaken the online learning modules.
The National Library of Australia is one of nine Australian and New Zealand partners providing additional support to the program and contributing to individual leadership development and strengthened relationships between individuals and agencies across the Pacific and beyond.
The creation of a regional network of emerging library innovators and to foster collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders in the region. The INELI Oceania program outcomes will include:
- Participation in an online learning community around a suite of modules on topics such as Innovation, Risk Management, Change Management, Communication Skills, Advocacy and Conflict Management, with an assigned professional development team and mentor to assist them develop the skills and attitudes needed to be effective innovators and leaders.
- Participation in two gatherings, during which they visit innovative libraries, share information about their learning projects and hear from innovative librarians from across the region.
- Identifying an individual learning project related to innovation and growth in the public library context and seen to be of benefit by their employer.
- Gaining an understanding of issues facing public libraries in the region.
- Actively engaging in national or international library organisations.
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) grant of A$520,821 in 2013.
INELi Oceania engaged participants from across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea over the last four years in two separate cohorts of two years each. The learning journey aimed to develop a network of innovative library leaders across the Pacific who were skilled in various aspects of leadership. Underpinning the capability development was the development of trusted, supportive and collaborative people from the various library settings.
A final report using a compilation of the four years of data collection showed a number of powerful impacts of the learning experience and that INELi Oceania has provided a good basis for capability development for library leaders and a strong network of supportive people with enduring relationships.
As anticipated with a learning journey, capabilities developed in different ways and at different points of time in the journey. This was so for both individuals and the cohorts as a group, due to individual differences in circumstances and personalities.
Participants became more confident in being innovative. They were able to take responsibility for leading innovation and embraced the notion of thinking differently. They learnt the importance of influencing as a leadership skill and recognised the need for resilience as leaders.
Based on the follow up of Cohort 1 two years after the completion of the program, it was found that capabilities are still being developed and evolving. How these develop varies with individuals. The development of collaborative relationships was strong amongst the participants. Their understanding and application of collaboration focussed on idea sharing, having conversations, providing support and working together.