Trustee Orientation Program

The Trustee Orientation Program (TOP) is an overview of the roles and responsibilities of public library trustees in British Columbia. The program is delivered by a member of the TOP Facilitation Team who all have experience with public library governance and with facilitating adult learning. The team includes:

  • Mike Gagel (BCLTA Vice President and Prince George PL Board Chair)
  • Kyla Epstein (past Vancouver PL Board Chair)
  • Andy Ackerman (Fort St. John PL Board Chair)
  • Babs Kelly (BCLTA ED)

While designed with new trustees in mind, the broad content of the workshop makes it a useful experience for all trustees, whole boards, and library directors.

TOP is a membership service. If you wish to register and are not a trustee or a library director, please contact the BCLTA Executive Director.

There are different types of public libraries in BC and this makes a difference to how trustees come to be on a board and to the funding relationship with local, regional, and the provincial government. Additionally, public library boards may have differing local priorities across the province depending on local demographics, economies, and community needs. As with all BCLTA work, the TOP will focus on areas of common concern and issues while acknowledging these differences. TOP facilitators will encourage workshop discussions informed by and rooted in local needs and situations.

The information covered in a TOP session, based on participant goals and needs, may include:
• Role and responsibilities of the board
• Role of the chair and the library director
• Strategic planning
• Policy development
• Financial responsibilities
• Board development and succession planning
• Relationship building and advocacy
• Friends groups and volunteers
• Effective meetings

By the end of the day participants will understand the role of BC public library boards, the role of the individual trustee, and the ways in which trustees and boards can make a difference to public libraries and the communities they serve.

TOP Workbook  (February 2019)

TOP Evaluation Form

Register for a TOP session

Request a TOP Session
TOP sessions and fees are most effective with groups of 8-10 participants. We work with boards to find flexible solutions to making TOP as accessible as possible. For a full day facilitated TOP session we coordinate with the sponsoring library to arrange the meeting space, room and technical set-up, and catering

To arrange a local session please contact BCLTA.

With much thanks to the  Libraries Branch, Ministry of Education for providing  a one-time grant for the ongoing development and delivery of TOP which allows for us to offer the sessions at a reasonable fee.