BCLTA Board and Staff

Please contact the Executive Director at execdir@bclta.ca with any membership questions including access to BCLTA Board Meeting Agendas and Reports or to connect with any member of the BCLTA Board of Directors.

2019 BCLTA Board Meeting Schedule

  • January 8
  • March 5
  • April 2
  • May 11 (to coincide with AGM)
  • June 4
  • September 10
  • September 27-28 (board retreat to coincide with UBCM Convention)
  • November 5

Board of Directors

The BCLTA held its Annual General Meeting on May 11th. This page is being updated with the names, photos, and bios of the 2019/2020 Board of Directors.

Photo of Mike Gagel

Mike Gagel

President 2019-2021
Board Chair, Prince George Public Library Board
On the BCLTA board since 2016

Mike earned his 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 his nursing career Mike progressively focused on staff education through the use of technology. Next, he worked at the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) where he was responsible for all of the Association’s technology needs and also supported various trustee committees. Mike currently works for Northern Health as their Regional Manager, Communicable Disease.

As a volunteer, Mike has been on the BCLTA board since 2016, and serves as Chair of the Prince George Public Library Board and its Policy and Governance Commitee, and sits on its Local History Committee. Mike is active in other areas of his community as well. He volunteered with Parent Advisory Councils at the school and district levels, and has been a Scouter with Scouts Canada since 2011. As a Scouter, Mike has been successful with grant applications totaling over $12,000 to support Scouting initiatives in and around Prince George.
As an avid reader, Mike’s interests include medieval European history, and science fiction and murder-mystery novels. He takes full advantage of his Hoopla and OverDrive accounts, and has downloaded many, many audio and ebooks. Some of his other interests include Maker initiatives, birding, backyard astronomy, and travel.

Photo of Rhonda Sherwood

Rhonda Sherwood

Treasurer and Vice President, 2018-2020
Vancouver Public Library Board
On the BCLTA board since 2018

Rhonda is a Certified Financial Planner® and licensed Investment Advisor and she brings 30 years of wealth advisement and passion to her financial advising practice.

Rhonda graduated from Simon Fraser University with her Liberal Arts diploma, and has additionally earned her Certified Financial Planner® Certificate and Financial Management Advisor Certificate. In addition, she is securities and insurance licensed.

Rhonda is a passionate advocate within her industry promoting professionalism and ethics. She sits on the board of an industry publication ‘Advisors Edge’ and is on a Financial Services Advisory Council at Douglas College. Rhonda also mentors young adults and women through many different associations.

Rhonda believes in the importance of giving back to her community. She is a trustee for the Vancouver Public Library,  Director & Treasurer for the BCLTA, and Chair for the City of Vancouver’s Women’s Advisory Committee. She also cares deeply about the rights and well-being of animals, practicing veganism and vegetarianism for 26 years and devoting her time and resources to many animal advocacy projects.

Deborah Begoray

Director 2019-2021
Greater Victoria Public Library Board
On the BCLTA board since 2019

Deborah is a Professor at the University of Victoria with extensive experience in administration, research and teaching in the Faculty of Education.

Deborah’s connection with libraries began with visits to a bookmobile in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. She currently serves as Chair of Board of Trustees for the Greater Victoria Public Library Board. In her spare time you can find Deborah reading murder mysteries!

Erin Carlson

Director 2019-2021
Okanagan Regional Library Board
On the BCLTA board since 2019


Dave Clark

Director 2019-2021
Cranbrook Public Library Board
On the BCLTA board since 2019

Dave brings a wealth of skills to his board work, is insurance and mutual funds licensed, and is a Certified Financial Planner®, with over 20 years experience with a national company.

Dave’s passion for public libraries began when he received his first library card for the Chilliwack Public Library at the age of six. As well as being the Chair of the Cranbrook Public Library Board, Dave is the board vice-chair for a local charitable thrift store.

Elysia Glover

Director 2019-2021
Greater Victoria Public Library Board
On the BCLTA board since 2019

Brenda Leigh

Director 2019-2021
Vancouver Island Regional Library Board
On the BCLTA board since 2019

Brenda is the current Chair of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Board, representing 38 library branches in BC, spread over a huge territory.   Brenda is also a Regional Director for Oyster Bay-Buttle Lake (Area D) of the Strathcona Regional District and serves on many other Boards and Commissions on behalf of her community.  A graduate of SFU, Brenda has always recognized that access to knowledge and education is one of life’s great equalizers. For more rural and remote communities their libraries are the link to the outside world and to literacy, social connections, and opportunities that may otherwise be beyond one’s reach.

Brenda was first elected in 1993 and is serving in her 26th year of local government.  She has been an enthusiastic VIRL Library Board member and has worked hard to ensure that library services throughout the Vancouver Island and BC Coastal regions are the very best they can be for all communities in the VIRL system.  She is very fortunate to be able to work with a very progressive library board and staff who know how to deliver optimum library services and literacy to all communities within the budget constraints that we face.

From Brenda:

Of all the services that are provided by local government, libraries are the heart and soul of our communities and library services are more popular than even our recreation centres and are in increasingly high demand. I have nothing but admiration for our Library Trustees who are protecting and maintaining our public library systems year-after-year and are so dedicated and passionate about our librarians. It is really very heartening to witness their effort and commitment as they volunteer their time to guarantee the future viability of this wonderful public service.

Caty Liu

Director 2019-2021
Richmond Public Library Board
On the BCLTA board since 2019

Caty is a Senior Operations Analyst with extensive experience and knowledge in the budgeting, financial analysis and business operations of the non-profit housing sector in BC. Caty has successfully completed the Chartered Professional Accountant program and a leadership program at the Justice Institute of BC. Most recently, Caty has been selected to participate the 2019 Women’s Executive Network Wisdom Mentoring Program.

Caty always looks for opportunities to develop new skills and find meaningful ways to give back. Caty has mentored students through her alma mater and the CPA Western School of Business.  In 2018, Caty began to serve as a Board Trustee at Richmond Public Library. In her spare time, Caty loves reading and testing recipes in the kitchen.

Photo of Austin Uzama

Austin Uzama

Director 2018-2020
Surrey Libraries Board
On the BCLTA board since 2018

Austin is a career teacher. He started his teaching career in Japan in 1994. Since then, he has taught K12 to post secondary students in different countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and now in Canada. Austin was born in Edo State Nigeria and left Nigeria at an early age for Japan and called Tokyo home until he left in 2011 after the March 11th earthquake, tsunami, & Fukushima Nuclear Plant radiation leak.  

Surrey is now his home and where is lives with his wife and 4 daughters. Austin work as part-time teacher with Abbotsford School District and with the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA). He is also a Sessional Lecturer and Researcher at UBC. As well, Austin volunteers as the Youth Director for the Knights of Columbus, Council #7015, where he mentors and organizes basketball workshops and free basket shooting in CISVA’s elementary schools. When he is not teaching or volunteering, Austin spends time with his wife and daughters travelling around B.C. and playing tennis.   



Photo of Barbara Kelly

Babs Kelly

Executive Director

Babs has successfully used a community engagement approach for supporting the development of organizations and boards for over 25 years. She has worked for a variety of non-governmental agencies, businesses, and for the public sector, including public libraries in Ontario, Saskatchewan and BC. She has extensive experience in communications, governance, facilitating community forums and dialogues, and with building community partnerships and involvement. Working part-time for BCLTA is ideal as it allows her to continue to work with public libraries while pursuing creative and artistic projects.

Photo of Jan Thomas

Jan Thomas

Administrative Assistant

Jan has served as the administrative assistant for Heritage BC for more than 25 years, ably supporting this not-for-profit organization to deliver annual and regional conferences, annual general meetings, newsletters, website, and government advocacy activities to a province-wide membership.  BCLTA is lucky to have her in-depth knowledge of association management at work for BC public libraries.