BCLTA Bulletin May 2017

President’s Message

Jerrilyn Schembri

Musings …

When I was elected President of the BCLTA in April I began thinking of all things it would entail. One of the things I knew would be on my plate was writing this column. I began to ponder what I had to say that anyone would want to read, what would be my purpose in writing these articles? Should I write a column filled with clever, and not so clever jokes? (What has a spine but, no bones? A book.)

Or should I write a column filled with serious or not so serious information and data? Did you know there are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the United States? Or, did you know that when you get a book published in Norway, the Norwegian Government buys 1000 copies and distributes them throughout the libraries of the country. The Guinness Book of World Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from public libraries.

After much consideration, I came to the conclusion that my desire while I’m in this position is to have open and honest dialogue with the trustees and library partners.

Why musings? A muse is something or someone who inspires, and the library inspires me. And musings are times of deep thought. And that’s what I hope to make this: some deep thoughts on the nature of BC Libraries. I can’t do it alone. In the small northern town where I’m from, we notice that folks elsewhere in BC sometimes have different perspectives. I want to hear those different perspectives.

I don’t want to talk to you, I want to talk with you. In order for the BCLTA to be successful, I have to do more listening than speaking. More dialogue, less monologue. I’m a firm believer in trying to see things from all sides and the only way to do that is to hear from everyone. So, I would like to hear from you, tell me what is the biggest issue your library is currently facing?

Please contact me at president@bclta.ca.

Your Libraries and Your Stories

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

Tumbler Ridge Public Library

Jerrilyn Schembri, BCLTA President and Tumbler Ridge Public Library Trustee

Jerrilyn’s slide presentation was a so well received at the conference and many commented that it needed to be shared more widely. And so, we are very pleased to be sharing it with you.

The Library Board of the Future…Being Resourceful When Resources are Limited:  A trip to Tumbler Ridge 

Microsoft PowerPoint Slides


As mentioned in the March Bulletin, one of the truths about advocacy is that it works best when relationships and influence have already been established. The public library community includes staff, patrons, trustees and community champions and stakeholders, who all need to be talking about, and shaping, the value of libraries. Trustees have a unique advocacy role in that they represent the interests of the broader community and have the responsibility of governance. While the ballots are still being counted (until May 24th), now is the time for trustees to start planning visits with MLAs.

You might already know your MLA from previous constituency office visits, community connections, or perhaps through their support of the library (Summer Reading Club celebrations are great to invite MLAs to!) or this might be the first visit, either as a new trustee or with a new MLA. Either way, working as a team with the library director will ensure that your messages are strategic, evidence based (often information that the library director easily knows and has expertise about), and tell a story. While everyone says they want the numbers, they remember the story.

As well as sharing your library’s story with the MLA, please remember that there are province-wide key messages that we strongly encourage you use.

The 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.

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 (which also has the key messages with a bit more context) will strengthen your message.

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.

Prince George Public Library Trustees, Myta, Carolynne & Mike at the 2017 BCLTA conference.

Templates for the signs can be found here.

Reconciliation and Libraries

BCLTA encourages all library boards to share and discuss the recently released CFLA-FCAB Truth & Reconciliation Committee Report & Recommendations.

There are many reconciliation initiatives taking place in libraries across Canada and here in B.C. The BCLTA has decided to issue a special June (in time to acknowledge National Aboriginal Day) Bulletin on reconciliation and B.C. public library governance.

For this special issue we want:

  • Your reconciliation stories, plans, and activities.
  • Thoughts on how reconciliation may be informing your board recruitment, development, policy, process, advocacy and community partnerships.
  • Images such as photos or posters would be great!
  • Links to media coverage or reports.
  • Brief comments on how you think public library boards can support the CFLA report and the TRC Calls to Action.

Please have your submissions in by noon on June 1st.

Please email me (Babs) at execdir@bclta.ca with your brief submissions or any questions about the June Bulletin.

If you would prefer to discuss this by phone, send me an email and we’ll set up a time to chat.

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

A huge thanks to everyone who made the reception and conference a place for connecting, sharing ideas, and building community!

We look forward to being part of more events with you and appreciate hearing from you on what worked and could work better for your conference experience. The conference evaluation link (sent to all registrants – email Babs if you didn’t get it) will close on May 23rd. And of course, your feedback and ideas are appreciated any time.

Thank you to the following for being part of the BCLTA conference:

The Libraries Branch, Ministry of Education for their generous financial support of the conference. Without this support the conference would not be possible.

Our library partners, the BC Library Association, the BC Libraries Cooperative, and the Association of Public Library Directors for the variety of ways that you made the event better and stronger.

Elder Shane Pointe for providing words of welcome and acknowledgement of Coast Salish territory.

The conference planning advisory committee: Donna Curtis (Greater Victoria PL), Ron Shimoda (West Vancouver), Kyla Epstein (BCLTA & Vancouver) and Paul Tutsch (BCLTA & Whistler)

YAACS for the “Library in the future will be …” art work by young library patrons from all over B.C.

Lightning Talkers: John Schaub (Vancouver), Donna Macdonald (Nelson) Felicia Zhu and David Carter (West Vancouver)

Guest Speakers: Lisa Freeman (Redefining the Role of Public Libraries), Jenny Benedict (West Vancouver), Stephanie Hall (Okanagan), Tracey Therrien (Gibsons), Janet Marren (Prince George), Chris Ingles (Nelson), Catherine Lord (Okanagan) and Jerrilyn Schembri (Tumbler Ridge)

NewToBC Library Champions who provided an inspirational, thoughtful, and at times humourous closing panel on their experience with the public library and building community.

Jenny Schembri, BCLTA President and Jenny Benedict ABCPLD Chair.

NewtoBC Library Champions!

View more reception and conference photos in our conference Flickr photo album.

There were about 75 attendees over the Friday evening and all day Saturday event (April 21st and 22nd) and a lot of talk about the upcoming provincial election, advocacy, funding, and community partnerships.

The Trustee Roundtable, Influencing Today, Shaping Tomorrow, began with the following questions:

  1. What could we be doing to influence our stakeholders and funders that we aren’t already doing? What else?
  2. What existing relationships can we call upon to increase the influence of public libraries in BC? And who are the unlikely allies for public libraries in BC?

The transcription of the table notes can be found here.

The original sheets of table notes will be brought to the next trustee roundtable for a check-in on our advocacy work and for continuing the discussion.

Annual Awards

At the April 21st reception BCLTA was pleased to present trustee awards to:

Ann Mudrie, Greenwood Public Library Board

Ann received the Super Trustee award for being, as her nominators put it, a “rare gift”. Her commitment to the board was “fearless, determined, competent and effective” and included fundraising, securing grants, overhauling the board’s records and procedures, and learning Simply Accounting.

Congratulations Ann!

Dianne Harke, Nelson Public Library Board

Dianne received the Super Trustee award for being a “fierce advocate for libraries and the fundamental role they play in the health of community.” Her nominators noted her contribution to building the library’s reputation as “friendly and approachable for all people from all walks of life”. They also pointed out her “unique approach of lively and entertaining presentations to local government”. BCLTA is thinking that there might be a future conference workshop here!

Congratulations Dianne!

David Alexander, Greater Victoria Public Library Board

David received the Nancy Bennett Merit Award for his “ongoing commitment and vision for what is possible [which] has made him an exemplary library trustee and his influence has influenced the entire province.” The nomination letter goes on to note that David’s “passion for partnerships and possibilities extends far beyond the communities served by the Greater Victoria Public Library Board.”  Due to David’s efforts, an historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed in March of 2017 between the BC Museums Association, the BC Library Association, and the Archives Association of BC that “is a public commitment to share expertise, embark on collaborative research projects, explore public outreach opportunities and identify joint funding ventures to strengthen the sector”.

Congratulations David!

GVPLers celebrate with David Alexander (centre with award) at the BCLTA 40th Annual Anniversary Reception

2017 AGM

The 2017 BCLTA AGM took place at 8am, April 21st at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront, Vancouver B.C.


AGM Highlights

1. The membership unanimously supported the Resolution on the Rights of Transgender, Gender Variant, and Two-Spirited People .

The resolution can be found here.

2. Appreciation for departing board members:

  • Donna Macdonald (President) from the Nelson Public Library Board.
  • Susan Koch (Treasurer) from the Richmond Public Library Board.
  • Manjit Kang (Director) from the Gibsons and District Public Library Board.

3. BCLTA board election results:

Jerrilyn Schembri
President 2017 – 2019
Tumbler Ridge Public Library Board

Arseniy Shchedrinskiy
Treasurer 2017 – 2019
Richmond Public Library Board

Roberta Burris
Director (2nd term) 2017 – 2019
Greater Victoria Public Library Board

Melanie Wilke
Director 2017 – 2019
Terrance Public Library Board

The 10 member board of directors also includes:

David Carter, Vice President (West Vancouver Memorial Library Board), Paul Tutsch (Whistler Public Library Board), Erin Carslon (Okanagan Regional Library Board), Kyla Epstein (Vancouver Public Library Board), Mike Gagel (Prince George Public Library Board) and Ernie Ingles (Penticton Public Library Board).

Please visit BCLTA Board of Directors  for board photos and bios.

TOP and Chairing the Board

TOP is for everyone, 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! We look forward to coordinating your 2017 TOP sessions.

Upcoming TOP sessions:

  • May 27th at the Burnaby Public Library, Bob Prittie Metrotown branch
  • June 11th at the Beyond Hope Conference, Prince George


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

The BCLTA TOP Advisory Committee begins the work of rethinking/refreshing TOP later this month. This is an important BCLTA initiative that has been prompted by membership feedback and direction – thank you!

BCLTA will report back to the membership on the work of the TOP Advisory Committee. The following is a high-level overview of the board approved 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, size of library or community and when TOP was taken (as in recently or years ago).
  • 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/June 2017 and ending in November 2017 with four meetings in total.

Contact Babs at execdir@bclta.ca with any comments or questions about the TOP refresh/rethink.

Linking with your Library World

   The Library Values Issue

This special themed issue of BCLA Perspectives examines BCLA’s stated values, shared throughout the public library community, of:

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


Libraries obsolete? Not a chance.

Columnist Donna Macdonald says there is more than meets the eye in the library


Congratulations Ernie Ingles! 

Ernie Ingles, BCLTA board director and trustee with the Penticton Public Library, has won the 2017 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship. Read more here 


Beyond Hope 

BCLTA will be at Beyond Hope and we are looking forward to seeing many of you there!

Babs Kelly (BCLTA ED) and Jenny Benedict (ABCPLD Chair and WVML Director of Library Services) will be hosting the session, Boards and Library Directors: The relationship you really want, but are too busy to ask for.

This session is for all library directors and trustees. No matter how you feel about your board and library director relationship, we guarantee that you will enjoy the session and leave feeling more confident about your unique roles and value. 


Different By Design – Exploring Innovation for Rural Prosperity 

This 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.

Final Words and Thank you 

The BCLTA board of directors and staff are committed to connecting with you to build a strong association that represents your interests. While connecting can be a challenge for a BC provincial  association (big province, lots of mountains), we take every opportunity we can for in person meet-ups and we are available by phone, social media, email, or some other distance friendly method. Most importantly we want to hear from you.

Over the next month or so the BCLTA board directors will be contacting library board chairs to talk about BCLTA, trusteeship, community building, and advocacy. If you have not recently updated your BCLTA contact list, particularly for the board chair, please email Jan at office@bclta.ca.

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

If you wish to unsubscribe to the Bulletin please click here.

Posted in BCLTA Bulletin.