Mandate for Advocacy

Photo of Jerrilyn Schembri
BCLTA President, Jerrilyn Schembri talking public libraries and communities with local government and elected officials at UBCM 2017.

BCLTA has the unique mandate of representing BC public library boards and amplifying the voices of the over 700 community leaders and local government officials who set the strategic direction and govern public libraries across the province.

BCLTA has made a priority of provincial advocacy work with the Public Library Partners. The Public Library Partners are BCLTA, the Association of BC Public Library Directors (ABCPLD), the BC Library Association (BCLA), and the BC Libraries Cooperative (BCLC).  As well, we build opportunities to represent our membership and work with the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA), the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) and other organizations and individuals. Working with others, we are able to share our expertise and skills, build our collective capacity and impact, and influence decision makers.

Much has shifted in recent years about how and why we do advocacy at BCLTA. It is less about increasing library use and more about increasing sustainable and reliable library support.

Indeed, advocacy isn’t about “getting the message out”, but instead about aligning our messages with the priorities of decision-makers and influencers, on a solid foundation of relationships of credibility and trust. The bottom line is clear and instructive: no relationship, no advocacy.

Wendy Newman, “Libraries don’t need more advocacy, they need better advocacy”, March 4, 2015

We know that public libraries are used more than ever and that they contribute to community social and economic development. Public libraries are the only fee-free public spaces informed and guided by the values of accessibility, equity, intellectual freedom, and privacy. Public libraries are about individuals and communities connecting, learning and creating. This is a strong foundation on which to build meaningful relationships with community members and organizations, government, and other supporters.

To find out more about BCLTA and advocacy explore this section of the website or contact the Executive Director at