BCLTA Bulletin March 2017

President’s Message

Dear members and friends,

I’m starting to get excited. I’m sure spring is coming, although as I look out the window at this moment, the world is a snow globe, all shaken up.

Among the many wonderful things that spring brings is the BCLTA Annual Conference and AGM. You’ll find lots of information about the conference in this Bulletin. The interesting sessions planned. The stimulating and inspiring speakers. Lots of time for networking . Tours of the Inspiration Lab at the Vancouver Public Library main branch and a special tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The celebration of the 40th anniversary of BCLTA! Bring something ruby red to wear.

The conference is also when we acknowledge trustees from around the province with our awards. Have a look around, and if you spot an outstanding trustee, nominate them! It’s easy. Details are below and on our website.

We’re also encouraging nominations to our board of directors. The time commitment is not overwhelming – one board meeting per month via conference call, and possibly other committee work for another couple hours. And the rewards? Awesome! Working with dedicated, knowledgeable and entertaining trustees from around the province to guide BCLTA’s work in serving you, our members.

This is my last President’s Report, as I have timed out on my home library board and therefore can no longer serve on the BCLTA board. It’s been such an interesting and gratifying experience. My heart has been deeply warmed by the creative and dedicated efforts you make every day to advance public libraries and serve our communities.

I hope to see you at the conference, so I can thank you in person.

Best wishes for the next 40 years,

Donna Macdonald

Your Libraries and Your Stories

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

Taking It to the Streets

Submitted by Roberta Burris, BCLTA Director and Greater Victoria Public Library Trustee

There’s a new van in town. Her name is OLiVe and she’s a 2016 Ford Outreach Library Van adapted especially for the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) in Spain.

Maureen Sawa, GVPL’s CEO always says, ‘it’s about the connection” and OLiVe is helping the library meet its strategic goal to “Invest in new ways to extend the reach of the library beyond existing facilities and traditional venues.” GVPL has built over 100 active community connections and offers a range of programs to meet the diverse needs of members. Getting these services and programs out into the community where more people can enjoy them has been a challenge.

OLiVe makes outreach a snap. Previously, staff delivered books via bikemobile to organizations like Our Place, a community centre for needy and homeless residents of Greater Victoria, limiting what could be carried. And when Literacy Victoria was no longer able to maintain its bookmobile service, GVPL took it on, using staff cars for deliveries. A generous $40,000 grant from the Victoria Foundation lets OLiVe, with her laptop and a Wi-Fi hotspot, offer reference and card services anywhere in Greater Victoria and make regular visits to hospitals, care homes, schools, museums and art galleries.

With her bright and eye-catching wrap, sponsored by Friends of the Library and an anonymous donor and designed by GVPL’s graphic designer Susie Jones, OLiVe is also boosting awareness of the library and what it has to offer.  She’s participated in community celebrations like the Oak Bay Tea Party and Metchosin Days, inspired cheers at parades, and created lively pop-up libraries at community markets and in areas like View Royal and Metchosin that don’t have libraries.

Since her arrival, OLiVe has gone out weekly to extend the library’s outreach and made over 130 visits that reached over 2200 people!  She will deliver library services to ten municipalities and reach thousands of people each year.

OLiVe Makes Outreach a Snap


One of the truths about advocacy is that it works best when relationships and influence have already been established. Visiting with local elected officials across all levels of government and building relationships with partners and stakeholders provides advocates (trustees!) with an understanding of the context, and the opportunities, for driving home their message and developing support for their priorities.

Last year at the 2016 BCLTA conference Cheryl Strenstrom shared her research about influence, meaningful connections and advocacy, We are going to continue that discussion at the 2017 Conference, particularly during the Trustee Roundtables.

Many of you have been building those relationships and it makes a difference as we share consistent messaging about the value and needs of libraries and we build a network of influence and supporters.

The 2017 provincial election is on everyone’s mind and you will want to find opportunities to talk about the value and needs of BC public libraries.

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.

There are about 700 trustees across the province advocating, championing, and sharing your library’s stories. This means that there is a lot of experience 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.

VPL Board Chair and BCLTA Director, Kyla Epstein with MLA, Hon. Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education.

Conference!!  BCLTA at 40: Our Stories and Our Libraries

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.

What you need to know:

1. A conference is about the attendees. You being there for the conversations and the networking is what makes it a conference. Without you, it is me having a coffee alone. And that is not a conference.

Please register here for the BCLTA Conference by March 28th.

2. BUT, having said that, this conference has a fantastic line up of sessions and opportunities for you to share your insights, stories, and tough questions; so, this conference is about the attendees AND the sessions.

Take a look at the awesome sessions!

3. In case you didn’t take a look, here is a brief overview of April 21st and April 22nd. Details and updates are on the website.

Friday, April 21st

9:00 am – 4:00 pm:    TOP session at the welcoming and comfortable (thank you Colleen Chambers) TSX Venture Exchange, 650 W Georgia St. Register here

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm:    The Critical Role of the Board Chair which VPL is kindly providing the venue at their Central Library.Register here

11:30 am – 12:30 pm:   Tour of Vancouver Public Library’s Inspiration Lab. Thank you VPL!

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm:   Tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery

Email execdir@bclta.ca for April 21st tour information and registration.

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm:   The evening reception will include welcoming remarks from invited dignitaries, Trustee Awards, a special 40th anniversary “Reflect and Project” pop-up art-happening, and time to socialize. And as this is a celebration of BCLTA’s 40th anniversary we encourage you to wear something ruby red and enter to win a prize!

Saturday, April 22nd

8:00 am – 9:15 am:    BCLTA AGM

9:30 am – 10:00 am:    Conference opening remarks from the BCLTA President and words of welcome from Elder Shane Pointe.

10:15 am – 11:30 am:    In Conversation with Trustees: Trends, challenges, and opportunities

This panel includes Chris Ingles (Nelson Public Library Board), Upkar Tatlay (Surrey Library Board), Jerrilyn Schembri (Tumbler Ridge Public Library Board and BCLTA Director) and we are hoping for a panelists from one of the regional library boards (let us know if it might be you).

11:30 am – Noon:   Lisa Freeman, Re-defining the Public in Public Libraries

1:00 pm – 1:20 pm:   Trustee Lightning Talks

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm:   Libraries Today, Building the Future

This panel includes Stephanie Hall (CEO, Okanagan Regional Library), Jenny Benedict (Director of Library Services, West Vancouver Memorial Library), Tracey Therrien (Library Director, Gibsons and District Public Library) and Janet Marren (Chief Librarian, Prince George Public Library).

2:45 pm – 4:00 pm:   Trustee Roundtable: Influencing Today, Shaping Tomorrow

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm:   Our Stories and Our Libraries: Voices from the Community

4:45 pm – 5:30 pm: BCLTA board directors meeting (you might need to know this should you agree to be nominated and are elected)

4. Be involved!

We still need trustees to:

  • Share your trustee experience through a 3 minute Lightning Talk.
  • Arrive informed, full of ideas, and ready to participate in discussions, especially during the always popular Roundtables.

If you have any questions or ideas regarding the conference, or if you require an ASL interpreter for 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 service 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 March 21st.

2017 AGM

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.

Please email execdir@bclta.ca by April 3rd :

  • If you are attending the AGM in person and require ASL interpretation.
  • If you wish to attend the AGM remotely so that we can make the appropriate arrangements.

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.

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

Nominations received up to 3 days prior to the AGM will be posted to the BCLTA website.

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 (during the Beyond Hope Conference) and there will be a session on April 21st in Vancouver. Please continue to check the website for confirmed dates and registration information.

There are still spaces available for the March 25th Squamish session! Please join us for what will be a fun and informative day. David Carter, BCLTA board director and West Vancouver Memorial board chair, will bring the group a brief BCLTA update and then will stay for lunch – this is a great opportunity to provide BCLTA with feedback and direction.

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.

BCLTA TOP Advisory Committee

We know TOP is important and that it needs a rethink/refresh, because you have told us so – thank you!

And we are going to do this rethink/refresh with your advisement and input.

And to get you interested in being involved, here is a high-level overview of the TOP Advisory Committee Terms of Reference:

  • The committee will include BCLTA board directors, trustees, chief librarians/library directors, and a consultant from the Libraries Branch.
  • The committee will represent the variety of libraries and experiences that boards may have throughout the province due to location, socio-economic factors, and size of library or community.
  • The purpose of the committee is to advise on the development and delivery of TOP.
  • The committee will meet every two months, beginning in May 2017 ending in November 2017 with four meetings in total.
  • Outside of meetings, committee members can expect to commit between 1 and 2 hours each month for committee communications and tasks.

Okay, so maybe those details weren’t exactly exciting, but this work is important and I promise you that BCLTA committee meetings are as painless as can be and that your role is to have ideas, to advise, and to explore.  All the coordinating, documenting, and lifting will be done elsewhere. If you would like to chat about this or have the ToR sent to you, email me at execdir@bclta.ca

Trustee Learning and Development Project Report

Remember all those updates and invitations to participate in the L&D project? And then some of you even talked with me about trustee learning and development; you know who you are and thank you!!

As you may have already seen through other communications, the report was released in early February.

From our website:

BCLTA is committed to supporting trustees in their board work and as such commissioned, with funding from the Libraries Branch, Ministry of Education, an investigation into trustee learning and development. The resulting report and recommendations are the work of an external consultant and present what has been learned by BCLTA. BCLTA will consider the recommendations and will work with trustees, library partners, the Libraries Branch and other stakeholders to continue to support trustee learning and development. 

The Trustee Learning and Development Project: Report and Framework (December 2016) can be found here.

2016 Annual Survey Results

The 2016 B.C. Public Library Board Governance and Planning Survey Results: A report of the British Columbia Library Trustees Association.

This report will inform some of the questions and discussion at the 2017 Conference Trustee Roundtable.

Email me at execdir@bclta.ca if you have any questions or comments regarding the report.

Linking with your Library World

Different By Design – Exploring Innovation for Rural Prosperity

The conference will take place in Nelson from September 20-23, 2017. 

From the website

The Different by Design – Exploring Innovation for Rural Prosperity conference explores the unique potential and many possibilities that exists in rural places. The 2017 Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation conference will be co-hosted with Applied Research and Innovation Centre, Selkirk College. 

BCLA Perspectives’ ‘’Library Values Issue’’ coming in May

In support of intellectual freedom and other core values of librarianship shared throughout the public library community, the Editorial Team of BCLA Perspectives have put out a call for submissions that speak to the BCLA Values Statement.

BCLA Values Statement

  • Access and Inclusion
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Diversity
  • Literacy and Lifelong Learning
  • Accountability

More information about the submission process can be found here. 

Board Voice and a Social Policy Framework Project

Board Voice is looking for volunteers to be part of this UBCM supported initiative that will include consultations in 16 communities across the province.

A bit of background from the March 1st UBCM News:

In 2014, UBCM membership endorsed resolution B123, requesting that UBCM call on the Premier to begin a consultation on the development of a social policy framework.  The Board Voice project seeks to start discussions on this topic, and ultimately to inform the provincial government on potential benefits of a social policy framework for BC.

More information can be found through the March 1st UBCM News   

New Chief Librarian at the North Vancouver City Library

Congratulation to the NVCL library board on their appointment of Deb Hutchison Koep as the new chief librarian!

VPL 2020

You can find out more about VPL’s strategic plan and framework here

BCLTA liked the tweet from Mayor’s Office!

The @VPL 2020 Strategic Plan outlines the library’s role in making Vancouver a more connected, innovative and collaborative city #vanpoli

Final Words and Thank you 

Our public library trustee community is a fair size, covers a lot of geography, and represents a diversity of lives and experiences. BLCTA wants to connect more with you and your work so that we can serve and represent you better.

We are continuing to build our online community through social media and with an upcoming 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.

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 ch 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.