Trustee Orientation Program

Upcoming Changes for 2020!

  1. Changing the name of BCLTA workshops from the Trustee Orientation Program (TOP) to BCLTA Governance Workshops. The change in name acknowledges the changes that the program has undergone in the past 18 months to focus on governance development while still providing an overview of provincial and legislative context and board mechanics. It signals to our membership and the broader community that the workshops are not just for new trustees, they are for the entire board and library director.
  2. Offering an on-demand and tailored-for-your-board BCLTA Governance Workshops. These workshops are based on the BCLTA Governance Workshop and are available as is possible to schedule and deliver by BCLTA staff. The fee for these workshops is $150 per participant with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 15 participants. The host library will be responsible for the venue and catering and BCLTA is responsible for the development and delivery of the workshop.
  3. Launching the BCLTA Governance Workshop Pilot Project in January 2020. This is a one year project that will require membership participation, workshop evaluation, outcomes assessment, and external funding for the association to continue the project beyond 2020. The BCLTA is able to fund one year of the pilot from board reserves.

While the BCLTA Executive Director is working on the pilot project launch details for January, the following can be expected:

    • The project will address the barriers of cost and access for attending a BCLTA Governance Workshop by reducing the current fee of $125 per participant to $50 per participant
    • Workshops will be scheduled by BCLTA in consultation with libraries and library federations and the host library or federation will be responsible for the venue and catering.
    • Workshops will take place in centrally located and accessible venues. Exceptions will be made for geographically isolated boards
    • In locations where highway conditions are a concern, workshops will be scheduled late April through June and September through October

The TOP Workbook is being updated to reflect these changes. You can expect the same important governance material to be covered, such as provincial context and accountability, public library trends and issues, working as a governance team with the library director, strategic planning, financial oversight and advocacy.

The BCLTA appreciates that In 2019 the reach and effectiveness of TOP was made possible with a one-time grant from the Libraries Branch, BC Ministry of Education. We look forward to continuing our work with the Libraries Branch to deliver BCLTA Governance Workshops throughout BC in 2020.

Please direct any questions about these changes and the pilot project to Babs at

Watch for BCLTA Governance Workshop updates on this page and in the BCLTA Monthly Bulletin. 

The BCLTA facilitation team includes:

  • Mike Gagel (BCLTA President and Prince George PL Board Chair)
  • Kyla Epstein (past Vancouver PL Board Chair)
  • Andy Ackerman (Fort St. John PL Board Chair)
  • Jim  Jenkinson (Invermere Public Library Trustee)
    • A bit about Jim.
  • Babs Kelly (BCLTA ED)

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 Governance Workshops will focus on areas of common concern and issues while acknowledging these differences. Facilitators will encourage workshop discussions informed by and rooted in local needs and situations.

The information covered in a BCLTA Governance Workshop, 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 as a governance team (trustees and the library director) and the ways in which trustees and boards can make a difference to public libraries and the communities they serve.

TOP Workbook  (February 2019) Will be updated as the BCLTA Governance Workbook for January 2020.

Workshop Evaluation Form

Register for a Governance Workshop

Request a Workshop

If you are interested in hosting a pilot project workshop or requesting an on-demand or tailored-for-your-board workshop, please contact Babs at

A host library or federation will be responsible for the venue and catering.

BCLTA will provide the facilitator and the workshop materials.

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