2019 BCLTA Board Nominees
Nominated for President by Austin Uzama, Surrey Libraries
About Mike Gagel
I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing at the University of British Columbia and worked as a nurse for almost 20 years at the BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Coastal Health, and as a sole proprietor consultant. In the second half of my nursing career I progressively focused on staff education through the use of technology. Next, I worked at the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) where I was responsible for all the Association’s technology needs and I also supported various trustee committees. I currently work for Northern Health as their Regional Manager, Communicable Disease.
As a volunteer, I serve as Chair of the Prince George Public Library Board and its Policy and Governance Commitee, and I sit on its Local History Committee. I am active in other areas in my community as well. I volunteered with Parent Advisory Councils at the school and district levels, and have been a Scouter with Scouts Canada since 2011. As a Scouter, I have been successful with grant applications totaling over $12,000 to support Scouting initiatives in and around Prince George.
As an avid reader, my interests include medieval European history, and science fiction and murder-mystery novels. I take full advantage of my library Hoopla and OverDrive accounts, and I have downloaded many, many audio and ebooks. Some of my other interests include Maker initiatives, birding, backyard astronomy, and travel.
As BCLTA President
If elected BCLTA President, I plan to leverage the experiences I gained as a BCSTA staff member to enhance the relationship of BCSTA and BCLTA. I have observed that school trustees view the public education system as the foundation of democracy, and that library trustees view public libraries as a key piece of the social infrastructure of a successful society. Representing over 1100 trustees, the two associations share similar viewpoints and could actively collaborate to advance matters of common interest.
A particular concern in “library world” is that provincial governments have cut or are in the process of cutting funds to public libraries. In response, several Ontario libraries recently demonstrated that for every dollar invested, they return an average of five dollars to the Ontario economy. BCLTA needs to continue its joint advocacy work with the BC Libraries Partners to ensure the BC government recognizes and supports the role of public libraries in achieving individual, community, and provincial goals.
Finally, when comparing our association with BCSTA, I notice that approximately 250 trustees participate at their AGM (there are 418 public school trustees). BCLTA can claim the participation of perhaps several dozen trustees at our AGM (there are over 700 public library trustees). As BCLTA president, I will work with our Executive Director and the rest of the board in representing, supporting and connecting with our membership to ensure the wants and needs of BC’s public library trustees will be met.