BCLTA Bulletin December 2017

President’s Message

Jerrilyn Schembri

Warmest Seasons Greetings to BC’s Library Trustees,

Is anyone else just a little shocked that it is December already?  For me it has been over 6 months since I took over as President of BCLTA and here it is December already. This is the time of year when many of us take time out of our busy schedules to spend the holidays with our loved ones, reflect on the year’s activities, and look towards the New Year.

2017 has been busy for BCLTA. At our AGM and conference this spring we elected several new board members, passed the Resolution on the Rights of Transgender, Gender Variants and Two-Spirited People, we talked about trustee issues, especially advocacy and influence, and we heard from some very inspirational new residents of Canada. Spending time with all of you, members and supporters, inspires our work!

Since the AGM and conference the board and staff have been diligently working on numerous initiatives to meet the needs of our trustees province wide. These initiatives include a website redevelopment, Bulletin improvements, a TOP Rethink / Refresh, a Beyond Hope workshop, and an improved approach to the conference and trustee roundtables. We have been advocating for our membership with our new provincial government (check out the Advocacy section of the BCLTA website); attended UBCM and heard so many great things from local government representatives about the important role of public libraries in community social and economic development; and we have met with Minister Fleming as well as having regular meetings with Ministry of Education and Libraries Branch staff. Most importantly we are working on all of this with our valued library partners, the BC Library Association, the Association of BC Public Library Directors, and the BC Libraries Cooperative. As well the Libraries Branch has been a key supporter for the ongoing delivery of the Trustee Orientation Program, our conference, and for strengthening the development and delivery of trustee and board development.

I would like to also like to take this opportunity to thank BCLTA’s unsung heroes, our staff.  First is our fabulous Executive Director Babs Kelly. Babs is such a gift to this organization and it is her expertise that ensures everything continues to run smoothly. Along side of Babs is the amazing Jan Thomas who has been working as our Administrative Assistant to ensure BCLTA’s success for many years.  These two women do such great work … thank you Babs and Jan.

And in conclusion, whether you celebrate this season or not, it seems to act as a magnifying glass highlighting things in our lives. From the BCLTA board and staff I hope the things that are magnified in your life this season are gratitude, goodwill, hope, and love.

BCLTA President Jerrilyn Schembri and BC

BCSTA – BCLTA Letter of Understanding


BCLTA President Jerrilyn Schembri and BCSTA President Gordon Swan

On November 25th, BCLTA and the BC School Trustee Association signed a Letter of Understanding that outlines the following objectives:

  • To promote collaboration and understanding in matters of mutual interest related to public education and public libraries in a province-wide context;
  • To discuss aspects of the legislative and regulatory setting which reflect the interests of the parties;
  • To provide notice of actions to achieve changes in provincial policy and regulations that might affect the interests of the other party.

The full LoU will soon be posted to the BCLTA website in the BCLTA & Membership section.

BCLTA is very proud to have this formally recognized relationship with BCSTA!

Your Libraries and Your Stories

Readers tell us that the “Your Libraries” section is important for making connections across the province and for inspiring or affirming their own board and library director work. A huge thank you to those who contributed to this issue either with submissions about their library or by pointing to stories, news items and resource links.

Send us stories about your board and your library to execdir@bclta.ca


Invermere Public Library: A Community Gathering Place

Submitted by Helen Kipp, Invermere Public Library board chairperson

Representing the future of libraries, brothers Okilani and Cassius Cowles joined in cutting the ribbon to officially open the new home of the Invermere Public Library which is located inside of the Columbia Valley Centre in Invermere, BC. The centre features a multi-use community hall, a spacious lobby, the municipal library, and a public meeting area that can be used for a variety of activities.

Located between the Rockies and the Purcell mountain ranges, the library space is surrounded by windows which enhance the view in all directions.  The new library facility will continue to serve patrons throughout the Columbia Valley.

Interior furnishings and shelves for the library were purchased with generous donations from community members.  The move to the new location was a true community effort that included a group of more than 20 volunteers who moved the books from the old location to the new one in just over five hours.  The Invermere Public Library will continue to be the place where our community gathers in the years to come.

The official ribbon cutters for the grand opening of the new Invermere Public Library that was held on Sept. 20th, 2017 are (left to right) Virginia Walker (representing library staff), Oki and Cassius Cowles (representing library patrons of the future), Al Miller (representing the District of Invermere council), Hedi Trescher (representing the Camenzind Family Estate), and Helen Kipp (representing the library’s Board of Trustees).  Looking on from the background are Gerry Wilkie and Wendy Booth, area directors from the Regional District of East Kootenay.






Well done Prince George Public Library!


October 2, 2017, The Prince George Chamber of Commerce hosted their 32ndAnnual Business Excellence Awards and presented PGPL with the Community Impact Award.

October 12 2017, Prince George Public Library Chief Librarian, Janet Marren, with the proclamation as presented to PGPL from theMinister of Education, Rob Fleming.


October 12, 2017, Minister Fleming toured the Prince George Public Library with library trustees.


West Vancouver Memorial Library

Access 4 All Fair: Let the Library Take You Places

September 19, 2017, In celebration of the library’s new accessibility ramp and included:

  • Celebrity presentations in English and ASL
  • Abilities Meet Up Zone for asking ability-related questions
  • Community Service Providers Exhibit
  • Assistive Technology Showcase
  • More information at WVML and from the Rick Hansen Foundation

Fort St. John Public Library

From the event calendar. Our Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) is a fun group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited, queer, or questioning youths in Grades 7 through 12. Friends, family and straight allies are welcome! We meet the first Thursday of every month for fun activities like cosplay, movies & munchies night, gaymer nights, maker & tech, crafting, and more! Join our QSA @ FSJPL facebook group to find out what we’re doing this month!

Vancouver Public Library

This item is from 2016, but as board discussions regarding washrooms and signage continue across the province, it is worth pointing to again.

Vancouver Public Library Posts Signs Welcoming Transgender Patrons into Men’s and Women’s Washrooms

  • Georgia Straight, Charlie Smith, September 3, 2016

Surrey Libraries

Inclusive City Cafés


“Surrey’s Chief Librarian Surinder Bhogal Knows First-Hand the Value New Immigrants can Bring to Organizations”

  • Asian Journal, October 25, 2017

Influence & Advocacy



Burnaby Public Library Board and Library Director, Making a Difference!



Statement on Québec Bill 62: An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality.

  • October 24, 2017

From the statement:

…diversity and inclusion is a core value of libraries and central to our country’s identity. Libraries have a responsibility to contribute to a culture that recognizes diversity and fosters social inclusion.



BCLTA President Jerrilyn Schembri, ABCPLD Chair Jenny Benedict, and MLA Anne Kang talking public libraries at UBCM 2017.

We have updated the Advocacy section of the website and will continue to do so with your input and feedback. Updates include:

  • BCLTA October 31, 2017 contribution to B.C. Human Rights Commission online discussion “Building Awareness”.
  • BCLTA October 11, 2017 response to Union of BC Municipalities Resolutions B60 and C4.
  • BCLTA October 11, 2017 submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.


Next on our list is updating the Advocacy Toolkit. Let us know what worked for you and what you think needs to be different. Email Babs Kelly at execdir@bclta.ca.


Telling the Public Library Story

Government consultation are one way for trustees and boards to spread the word about the value of public libraries and our shared priorities for ongoing public library development.

Provincial government engagement opportunities can be found here.

BCLTA encourages boards and trustees to contribute to the engagement process on BC Poverty Reduction and, as always, to make use of the BCLTA website Advocacy section for resources and ideas.


Presenting to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services 

Submitted by Kyla Epstein
Chair, Vancouver Public Library
Director, BCLTA



On Sept 25th myself and my fellow VPL trustee, Carellin Brooks, presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services (the Committee) about the importance of public libraries in BC. We shared with the Committee that public libraries are our communities’ only fee free centres for lifelong learning, for knowledge exchange, for cultural exchange, and for preserving our communities’ memories and history. We reminded them that regardless of whether we share these ideas through books, films, music, or through physical objects or digital platforms, public libraries ensure that everyone has access to information and culture and opportunities to create and share their knowledge and ideas.

We also spoke about the importance of increasing provincial funding for libraries, the need to support broadband in rural communities, and the gap in the Library Act with respect to library services for, and with, First Nations communities. We drew their attention to resolutions B60 & C4 passed at the 2017 UBCM gathering and we did all this with support from the great BCLTA advocacy materials!

When the Standing Committee’s report was released on November 15th we were thrilled to see recognition of BC’s libraries:

  • Noting the important role that public libraries play as community hubs and places to share knowledge and ideas, many public library boards advocated for investments in Indigenous communities. Many Indigenous communities have little or no library services, which inhibits opportunities to learn, discover, and create. In some cases, without specific agreements in place, residents of Indigenous reserve communities may be unable to access nearby municipal libraries, due to taxation and residency issues. ” (p.43)
  • A section on p.55 regarding funding and technology.
  • Recommendations #89 & 117.

We also noted the number of folks, listed in Appendix A, from around the province who spoke to the Committee.

It is an honour to be a part of the community of BC library trustees. Together we continue to work hard to ensure that all BC residents have access to public library services and the resources they need for lifelong learning.


How We Vote and Public Libraries

And speaking of government engagement and libraries, it is gratifying to note that the government recognizes the role that public libraries play in citizen engagement.

From the November 23rd media release “British Columbians asked to help shape referendum on electoral reform”,

In the new year, more information and resources will be added to the site, including educational videos and graphics, while libraries will be provided with information kits to help engage British Columbians in advance of the fall 2018 referendum.

UBCM Public Libraries Basket Winner Tofino Councillor Thicke (centre) with Fraser Valley Regional Library CEO Scott Hargrove and BCLTA ED Babs Kelly.

Announcement! Teacher Regulation, Independent Schools, and Public Libraries Division, B.C. Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education has made some small organizational changes that have resulted in the division, that includes the Libraries Branch and reports into Acting ADM Paul Squires, being renamed ‘Teacher Regulation, Independent Schools, and Public Libraries’.

This is a positive change and a gratifying acknowledgement of the role of public libraries, and the important work of trustees and staff, in BC communities.

2018 Compensation Study

The BC Library Director Compensation Survey is scheduled for June 2018, with a report out late in the fall of 2018.

There have been requests from board chairs and library directors for the survey to include questions regarding board and library director roles and responsibilities. Contact Babs at execdir@bclta.ca with any questions, comments, and advisement regarding this survey and report.

BCLTA Conference and AGM

We are pleased to be collaborating again with our colleagues at BCLA and here is where we are at with our plans for 2018.

  • As part of the BCLA conference, BCLTA is working with our library partners for a full day of sessions that will focus on governance and leadership on Friday, May 11th.
  • The BCLA conference is scheduled for May 9-11 in Richmond, BC, at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel (7551 Westminster Hwy).
  • The BCLTA AGM and Trustee Roundtable event will take place at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel on Saturday, May 12th.
  • TOP and Chairing the Board will take place at the Richmond Public Library (Brighouse Branch) on Sunday, May 13th.

We will have more information to share in early 2018, including dedicated space on the website for board nomination forms, award nominations, conference updates, and AGM news.

BCLTA 2018 AGM Key Dates

February 10th 

  • Begin receiving nominations to the board and posting nominations to the website. Nominations remain open until closed by the Nominations Committee at the AGM.
  • Posting nominations to the website will end on May 6th.

February 25th

  • Special resolutions are to be received by February 25, 2018. Special resolutions will be sent to the ED at execdir@bclta.ca, Attn: BCLTA Resolutions Committee. Board Committee members will be posted to the website at the end of January.

March 12th

  • Ordinary resolutions are to be received by March 12, 2018. Ordinary resolutions will be sent to the ED at execdir@bclta.ca, Attn: BCLTA Resolutions Committee

April 12th

  • The AGM package, including an agenda and the resolutions, will be posted on the BCLTA website by April 12, 2018.

May 12th

  • The AGM will take place at 4pm on May 12, 2018.
  • The reviewed financial statements will be provided at the AGM.

Friends of the Library 

We have had a membership request for a quick FoL survey!

Please go to https://goo.gl/forms/JVwFIY5jcKVyzf0B2 and respond to the following:

  1. Name of Library
  2. Do you have a Friends of the Library group?
  3. What support or resources do you wish were available for starting, and/or for the ongoing development, of a successful FoL?

On behalf of the membership we are looking for a 100% response rate so that we have a fulsome and useful report out.

The survey will remain open until February 8th. We will report out to the membership, through the February 2018 Board Brief.

The report will include a list of libraries with FoLs and an anonymized summary of responses to question #3.

You may find the following of interest:

Friends of Canadian Libraries

United for Libraries Resources for Friends Groups (ALA)


The Trustee Orientation Program isn’t just for new trustees! It is for the whole board, including library directors and experienced trustees. Find out more about TOP in the Trustee’s Education section of the website at bclta.ca and please ask us questions!

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.

A HUGE THANK YOU to the BCLTA TOP Rethink / Refresh Advisory Committee!

The committee members were:

  • Jerrilyn Schembri (BCLTA President, Board Chair, Tumbler Ridge Public Library – municipal)
  • Erin Carlson (BCLTA Director, Trustee, Okanagan Regional Library)
  • Melanie Wilke (BCLTA Director, Board Chair, Terrace Public Library Association)
  • Barry Avis (Board Chair, Vancouver Island Regional Library)
  • Jennifer Pierce (Trustee, Chetwynd Public Library Association)
  • Surinder  Bhogal (Chief Librarian, Surrey Libraries – municipal)
  • Elizabeth Tracy (Library Director, Whistler Public Library – municipal – resort municipality)
  • Ursula Brigl (Chief Librarian, Cranbrook Public Library – municipal)
  • Edel Toner-Rogala (Manager, North East Library Federation and North Central Library Federation)
  • Cindy Ralph (Library Consultant, Libraries Branch) until September.
  • Kyle Armour (Library Consultant, Libraries Branch) from September onwards.

The advisory committee met four times via telephone conference and many of the committee member provided further feedback and advisement via email and individual telephone calls.

The committee mandate was to explore, and set recommendations for, improving the development, delivery, and results of trustee orientation across BC. The committee members provided research direction, document review, communications advisement, and their experience and expertise. As a result of their work, and with direction from the BCLTA Board of Directors, some of the work to be undertaken in 2018 includes, ongoing development of the BCLTA website for the provision of usefully organized and annotated resources for trustee orientation and board development; a trustee orientation checklist; (available now and a TOP manual review and update.

Links & Discussion Starters

Perspectives: The Rural Issue

  • BCLA, December, 2017

North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Project

Board Source

Tamarack Institute

7 Things You Can Do to Improve the Sad, Pathetic State of Board Diversity

  • Vu Lee, September, 2017
  • Focused on not-for-profits (not library boards) and framed in the U.S. context, but for those of you having the big discussion about equity and inclusion regarding board culture and recruitment, you will find this interesting.

Social Planning and Research Council of B.C.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Open Research and Education

Here’s an excerpt from the post to encourage you to click through and read more!

In most social situations, I think it’s always interesting to observe:

Who is in the room?
Who is at the table?
Who speaks a lot?
Who has social capital?
Who feels welcome?
Whose ideas are respected and centered by default?

“Diversity as Anti-Racism in Library and Information Studies: A Critique.”

  • David James Hudson
  • Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 1, no. 1 (2017).
  • DOI: 10.24242/jclis.v1i1.6

Inclusion BC

  • From the website:

Inclusion BC is a provincial federation whose members include people with developmental disabilities, families and community agencies. Together we have led the movement away from institutions since 1955. We are dedicated to advancing rights, promoting abilities and building awareness as we work to support full citizenship for all.

Final Words & Thank you 

It is a real pleasure to work for your association and I particularly enjoy hearing from the membership about trustee and board work challenges, and accomplishments. It is amazing to think about the hours that are dedicated to public libraries across the province from the over 700 trustees who represent their communities in the governance and ongoing development of what is one of the most accessible, equitable, and cherished institutions in our communities. Those hours? I calculate a rough estimate of at least 84,000 hours per year. That is powerful community involvement, deserving of support, resources, and much appreciation.

BCLTA is committed to supporting BC public library trustees and boards and we do this best when we hear from you. Please respond to our surveys, send in your information needs, submit news and opinions to the Bulletin (next one in March, focusing on trustee orientation and board development), attend the conference, send in a nomination for the BCLTA board, and participate in the AGM. This is your association and your trustee community.

To wrap up this issue, with its focus on access, equity, and inclusion, here is a quote that informs my work.

Networks are really important ways people become aware of and are able to take advantage of such opportunities. And our networks are usually not very diverse or inclusive.Widening those circles and those opportunities doesn’t happen without some intentionality. (Chris Bourg, Director of Libraries at MIT. “Diversity, inclusion, social justice and libraries: proposing a framework“, April 16, 2016).

My intention is to work with the BCLTA board and all of you to widen our circle at BCLTA through communications, influence, advocacy, and by sharing capacity and resources, so that we can better support our membership and make a positive difference in the public library community.

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.

Huy tseep q’u, miigwetch, thank you,

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.