BCLTA Bulletin January 2017

President’s Message

Hello members,

At the risk of going past the cut-off date for this, I want to wish you the Very Best in 2017, on behalf of the BCLTA board. Your important work of governing our BC public libraries continues every day, despite the winds of elections and snowstorms (or rainstorms) buffeting you. Stay the course! We know our communities need our libraries. We know there are challenges. And we have experienced successes. So, onward, indeed.

Your BCLTA board has filled its plate to brimming for the upcoming year. Our three focus areas continue to be: supporting trustees, advocating on behalf of public libraries, and strengthening BCLTA’s effectiveness. Within those areas lie many initiatives and pieces of work, of course. Luckily we have our two super-dedicated part-time staff, Barb and Jan, to help make it all happen.

As you’ll see in this Bulletin, a major preoccupation currently is planning for our upcoming conference and AGM. We’re looking for resolutions. We’re looking for candidates to run for our board. We’re looking to bring together all the pieces that make a worthwhile and engaging conference. And AGM, of course! Oh, and did I mention 2017 is BCLTA’s 40th birthday? We’ll celebrate that, too. Keep reading for more information further on.

I mentioned elections above and, yes, we’re entering that season in BC, leading up to the provincial election on May 9. As part of our advocacy, we have our eye on that important opportunity to raise the voices of public libraries. We need your help to do that! Read more below.

On a personal note, I have just timed out on my home board, the Nelson Public Library. I had a wonderful time (and too many chocolates and cookies), and just want to tip my tuque to the staff and board there. Wonderful people making a wonderful library.

That means that I also must leave the board of BCLTA, as of the AGM when a new President is chosen. I promise to keep working until then!

Warm wishes

Donna Macdonald
President, BCLTA

Your Libraries and Your Stories

We want to hear from you! Send us stories about your board and your library to Babs at execdir@bclta.ca

This month we have two submissions!

Advocates and supporters of library services in Richmond – 45 years and still going strong!

Susan Koch, BCLTA Treasurer and Richmond Public Library Trustee 

The community of Richmond wouldn’t be the same without the Friends of the Richmond Public Library. Prior to 1976 RPL was part of the FVRL system.  The Library Act required a petition of citizens requesting an independent system to demonstrate local support.  The Friends organized, knocked on doors and made RPL happen.

Who are these people?  Just a group of people who love books and the library, I am told.  But how do they keep their movement fresh and full of enthusiasm?

The Friends are known for the two day, twice yearly “Whale of a Book Sale”.  This sale provides a focal point for the members – sorting donated books, planning & set up of the sale, working the sale and the cleanup.  Sounds like a lot of work?  You bet.

The Friends have been raising $25k – $30K per year for library projects.  They are trend setters, having bought the first microcomputer way back when RPL began to offer public access to computers.  They are library advocates, speaking up for Richmond citizens.  They are a role model for all of us who strive to make a difference in our community.

Plus, they appreciate the social pleasure of getting together after the Whale of a Book Sale, having a glass of wine and talking about books!

New members are always welcome. Check it out.  http://www.richmondfol.ca/

Friends of the Richmond Public Library
Photo from http://rpl.yourlibrary.ca/account/about_rpl/friends_of_the_library

Wheel of Gratitude at Smithers Public Library

Wendy Wright, Library Director, Smithers Public Library

Dedicated trustee Corry Tremblay has served on the Smithers Public Library board for eight years. This fall, as her term neared its close, she characteristically turned her birthday into an opportunity to promote her favourite cause.

Party guests were asked to bring loons, toons, and small bills to support the Smithers Public Library through playing a Wheel of Gratitude game. Each donation earned the guests a spin of the wheel, resulting in a small prize or a challenge, such as starting a gratitude conga line. By the end of the evening, Corry had raised $500.00 for the library!

Corry Tremblay (on the right) with Library Director Wendy Wright
Photo from Interior News http://www.interior-news.com/ourtown/301755011.html


We are refreshing the Advocacy page of the BCLTA website. As there are about 700 of you advocating, championing and telling your library’s stories, I am thinking that there is a lot of expertise across this province that needs to be shared. If you have any favourite tried and tested advocacy tools and tips, please send them to me (execdir@bclta.ca) and I will share them on the website and through upcoming Bulletins.

This month we will be adding to the website:

  • A link to the BCLTA submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. Many of you let us know that this letter was very helpful in drafting your own submissions. This year we will be earlier, louder, and larger in our campaign to get the submissions in and the forums attended.
  • A link to the BCLTA letter to the Parliamentary Secretary Larson regarding the Rural Education Strategy and Community Engagement request. We have shared this letter with our colleagues at the BC School Trustee Association. We know that advocacy gains strength through relationship building and coordinating.
  • Advocacy messages that reflect province-wide public library priorities. BCLTA has coordinated with ABCPLD on these advocacy messages. Your library director will have shared with you ABCPLD’s letter regarding advocacy and our shared key messages for the upcoming election.
  • Button templates for you to use and make your own buttons and pins. These were very popular at the 2016 UBCM convention!

For the Bulletin, we have kept the key messages brief so that you can use them as they are or adapt them for a variety of communication needs such as for asking questions at community all-candidate meetings, writing op-eds or letters to the editor of your newspaper, or for social media.

Where appropriate referencing the Libraries Branch Inspiring Libraries, Connecting Communities: A vision for public library service in British Columbia and BCLTA’s submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services will strengthen your message.

Key message points are:

  • The need for annual increases, which are adjusted for inflation, to provincial funding for public libraries.
  • The establishment of provincial policy for the delivery of public library services in First Nation communities, by First Nation communities.
  • Government commitment to connectivity is needed. Connectivity is critical in the digital age, yet adequate broadband is always in short supply and/or cost-prohibitive for many libraries, particularly those in rural or remote locations.

As we move into the election campaign, we will keep you posted on BCLTA’s advocacy efforts and we want to hear about yours. We need to work together for the advancement of public libraries. As always, contact me (Babs) at execdir@bclta.ca if you would like to share an advocacy moment, tips, or resources for the BCLTA website or Bulletin.    


Save the Dates! 2017 BCLTA Reception and Awards and Conference

The 2017 BCLTA Conference will take place April 21st and April 22nd downtown Vancouver at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront. The BCLA conference will be at the same hotel from April 19th through to the 21st and we extend a big thank you to our friends at BCLA for all their help with booking the venue and for extending their room bookings to BCLTA conference attendees – very helpful for those of you planning to attend both events!

BCLTA Conference Quick Facts

This year’s theme, in celebration of BCLTA’s 40th anniversary is BCLTA at 40: Our Stories and Our Libraries.

April 21st

TOP and Chairing the Board

Evening reception and awards ceremony

  • At the Pinnacle Hotel, 7pm to 9pm
  • Included in conference fee

April 22nd

The day starts at 8am with the AGM and a light breakfast, followed by a full day of conference sessions including:

  • Trustee Roundtables
  • Lisa Freeman presenting on Re-defining the Public in Public Libraries
  • Trustee Lightning Talks
  • A moderated panel of trustees exploring change and the future
  • Public library leaders discussing how public libraries today are building the future of their communities
  • A special closing presentation.

Session planning is underway and updates will be regularly posted to the conference page of the BCLTA website.

Please let us know if an ASL interpreter is needed for the reception and conference. 

Be involved!

Trustees are already involved with the conference through the BCLTA Conference Advisory Committee which meets monthly to advise on the theme, sessions, and the over-all experience of the conference.

We still need trustees to:

  • Share your trustee experience through a 3 minute Lightning Talk.
  • Lead a Trustee Roundtable discussion.
  • Be part of a moderated panel answering a thought provoking question such as, “What is happening now (engagement and partnerships, diversity and inclusion, funding strategies, and succession planning) that is changing the future of trusteeship?”.

If you have any questions or ideas regarding the conference, please email Babs at execdir@bclta.ca.    


2017 Annual Awards

Is there a trustee on you Board or someone associated with your library whose service and commitment is truly “above and beyond”?  Do you know a trustee who has made a real difference to library serviced in your region or at the provincial level?  BCLTA is accepting applications for three awards for outstanding library trustees and library supporters.  Find out more here.

Deadline for annual award nominations is April 13th.

2017 AGM

The 2016 AGM Breakfast was such a big hit that we are doing it again in 2017. Who would have thought that a financial report would be so enjoyed at 8am on a Saturday – must have been the coffee and good company.

The AGM will take place at the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel at 8am and a light breakfast will be served.

Regular updates regarding the AGM, nominations, resolutions, proxy voting, and remote attendance. will be posted to the BCLTA AGM 2017 page.

AGM Resolutions

The 2017 BCLTA Resolutions Committee members are:

  • Donna Macdonald (BCLTA President)
  • Kyla Epstein (BCLTA Director)
  • Mike Gagel (BCLTA Director) 

Special resolutions are to be received by February 5, 2017. Please send resolutions to the ED at execdir@bclta.ca, Attn: BCLTA Resolutions Committee.

Ordinary resolutions are to be received by February 20, 2017. Please send resolutions to the ED at execdir@bclta.ca, Attn: BCLTA Resolutions Committee.

For more on resolutions, including preferred format please see the BCLTA website AGM page. 

Nominate or be Nominated for the BCLTA Board of Directors!


  • As the only organization specifically for public library trustees and boards, we advance public libraries and the work of public library boards across the province
  • We oversee an association with solid membership support, skilled and committed staff, and strong partnerships.
  • We are effective. 2016 was a successful year in implementing our 2016-2018 strategic action plan and we are on track for accomplishing even more for our membership in 2017.
  • This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your community leadership and library board skills as well as the reputation and impact of your library.
    • Directorship of a provincial association established under the Societies Act.
    • Developing a province-wide understanding of public library governance, funding, strategic directions, and advocacy.
    • Working in strong partnerships with ABCPLD, BCLA, and other stakeholders on initiatives such as conferences, ministry meetings, UBCM trade show, and advocacy campaigns.
    • Initiating and contributing to provincial initiatives in coordination with the Libraries Branch which is responsible for the oversight of the Library Act, while BCLTA is uniquely responsible for representing and supporting boards established by the Library Act.

Do you, or a trustee you know, have what BCLTA needs?

You must have a commitment to BCLTA and the membership we serve.

This means you are:

  • Eager to connect with board chairs and trustees and develop your understanding of trustee experience and needs throughout the province.
  • Knowledgeable and positive about the mandate, work, and potential of BCLTA.
  • Prepared to champion and represent BCLTA and our membership to government officials, key stakeholders and funders.
  • Friendly and will jump at the chance to network and pro-actively represent BCLTA at receptions, meetings, and other events.

While all board work is important, it would be super helpful for BCLTA if you have expertise in, or excitement about:


  • Budget development and oversight
  • Funding and resource development, including experience with grant writing.
  • The fiduciary responsibility of boards and supporting effective governance through financial oversight.


  • Expanding and strengthening the BCLA network, partnerships, and community engagement.
  • Drafting letters, position papers, and consultation submissions.
  • Knowing how public policy is developed, influenced, and executed.

Please use the BCLTA nomination form.

The following positions are vacant for the 2017 BCLTA election. The terms of office are 2 years.

  • President
  • Treasurer
  • Director – 4 vacancies

Nominations for the BCLTA board will be accepted until nominations-from-the-floor is closed during the AGM.

BCLTA and the new Societies Act

Just in case you missed this!

BCLTA operates within a regulatory framework that includes the Societies Act and, as required, we have successfully transitioned and uploaded the BCLTA Constitution and Bylaws.

The updated BCLTA Constitution and By-Laws can be found here. These mandated changes have minimal impact on the work of BCLTA and will be brought to the 2017 AGM.

Please direct any questions regarding BCLTA and the new Societies Act to Babs at execdir@bclta.ca.

TOP and Chairing the Board

TOP is for everyone, not just new trustees. Find out more about TOP in the Trustee’s Education section of the website at bclta.ca and please ask us questions! We look forward to coordinating your 2017 TOP sessions.

TOP sessions are being proposed for Squamish, metro Vancouver, Prince George and there will be a session on April 21st in Vancouver. Please continue to check the website for confirmed dates and registration information.

There will be a Chairing the Board session on April 21st to coincide with the BCLTA conference.

If you would like a TOP session in your area, click on the “Request a Training Session” link and Jan, BCLTA’s Administrative Assistant, will respond to your questions and ensure that everything is in place for a successful session. A minimum of 10 participants is required for the session to proceed.

We also provide easy access to the TOP workbook and webinars in the Member section of the website.

TOP webinar part 1 covers areas such as trustee responsibilities and governance versus management. Part 2 then continues the orientation with core board responsibilities such as external relations, oversight of the library, and establishing practices for board development.


Coming Up In 2017!

  • Advocacy – provincial elections, budget consultations, UBCM and then very quickly we will need to be ready for the 2018 municipal elections. We will be reaching out to you for action, momentum, and expertise!
  • The Trustee Learning and Development Project report will be released in February and we look forward to discussing the finding with you and working with you on the recommendations.
  • Starting in January we will be sending you a Bulletin approximately every two months. The Bulletin will continue to be a friendly conversation between BCLTA and you. As such, we welcome updates from your board and library to share with the membership – photos would be very welcomed!
  • Starting in February we will be sending you, following the BCLTA board meeting, a brief update (honestly 3-4 bullets!) on the board’s strategic work and how the association is meeting its mandate.
  • We are continuing to build our online community through social media and with a website redesign. Connect with us on FB at http://tinyurl.com/zzn9dk6 and Twitter @BCLTA. Information moves fast and we are using social media to spark discussions about libraries, governance, community engagement, and social and economic development.
  • Later in the spring of 2017 we will begin work on our website redesign. The new website will need to meet your needs and we will be asking for trustees to participate on a Website Advisory Committee. This committee will be heavy on expertise, opinions and advisement, but light on work – no coding required. J

I would like to hear from you with any ideas or feedback you might have in regards to BCLTA communications, and in particular about the Bulletin and the website.

Please email me at execdir@bclta.ca with your thoughts or to schedule a time to talk.

Linking with your Library World

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week

February 26 – March 4, 2017

While library staff members are responsible for displays, programs, and working with their associations and colleagues to build awareness about intellectual freedom and access to information and resources, it is your responsibility as trustees to be knowledgeable about, and to demonstrate through your policy development and strategic planning, intellectual freedom, privacy, and equitable access.

Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. More… 

Countdown to the CFLA/FCAB AGM

On your behalf, BCLTA is a member of CFLA/FCAB. We are the only trustee association member and we think that trustees need to influence national library discussions. BCLTA will be participating online for the AGM and will continue to find ways to share the trustee perspective with other member organizations.

Find out more about CFLA/FCAB and the AGM at http://cfla-fcab.ca/

BC Libraries Cooperative Announces Departure of Executive Director

The BC Libraries Cooperative (BCLC) today announced that Ben Hyman, Executive Director, will resign his position effective February 13, 2017 for a new opportunity at Vancouver Island University. 

Read more here

BCLTA has very much enjoyed working with Ben Hyman. Ben has a keen understanding of, and respect for, the role of trustees in governing public libraries and has been an enthusiastic supporter and friend of BCLTA. Thank you Ben for all that you have done for B.C. public libraries and we wish you all the best for your new adventure! 

Free speech advocate and long-time Vancouver library employee Brian Campbell dies

Brian Campbell passed away shortly after Christmas from lung cancer after spending his adult life trying to improve the lives of average people around the world. 

Read more about Brian and his contributions to public libraries, access to information, and equity of services.

Final Words and Thank you 

I thought this would be a brief Bulletin; more of a quick hello to start to 2017, than this 3,000 words, and rising, information and planning packed missive. Turns out that this will be a busy year and we want to connect with you with all the work that we are doing.

But, I still just want to say “hello” and encourage you to be involved with your association and to be in touch with us. As always, if you have any questions about what your association is doing or feedback on what we could be doing for trustees and boards, please let me know.


Babs Kelly

If you have feedback about this Bulletin or would like to contribute an item to an upcoming Bulletin, please contact us at execdir@bclta.ca

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Posted in BCLTA Bulletin.