BCLTA Bulletin




You are receiving this Bulletin because you are either your library board chair or the chief librarian. BCLTA and your trustees rely on you to circulate the Bulletin to all of your trustees. Please forward it by email or print and include with your monthly board package correspondence. Thank you for your assistance in helping BCLTA serve all its members.



President's Message 

Hello everyone,

What a crazy summer this has been, with dramatic weather changes, fires and floods. It’s hard to know whether to carry sunblock or an umbrella, bathing suit or gumboots. I guess, like Scouts, we need to Be Prepared.

And that applies to BCLTA right now as we prepare for various upcoming events.

We continue to be involved on the steering committee that is helping to prepare a refresh of the Provincial Vision for public libraries. We have almost-weekly phone conferences, and on July 20 will meet face to face for a detailed review of the draft vision. You should have received recent communication from the Libraries Branch about the process, and the next opportunity for broad input on the draft, later in July. Please participate – from the beach, if necessary!

We’re also busy preparing for our major advocacy event of the year – the UBCM convention in Victoria at the end of September. Along with our partner associations, we’ll have a booth in the Exhibitor Showcase and are preparing some great messaging and ways to engage the delegates about their libraries.

As well, we have requested a meeting with the Minister of Education, Mike Bernier, to discuss issues, tell success stories, and generally continue to build awareness of the value of public libraries. This is a meeting that we carefully prepare for, with our partners.

Right after the UBCM, the BCLTA will have its annual retreat and planning session in Vancouver. We’re preparing a strong agenda for this gathering, to make sure we maximize the benefits of being together and have deeper conversation than is possible on the phone. Our goal is always to strengthen our organization so that we can be responsive and supportive to you, our members.

And after our retreat, well, then it’s Library Month in October. Just never a dull moment!

Wishing you a restful summer,

Donna Macdonald
President, BCLTA   


JULY 2016 














Executive Director's Message

Surveys and questions!

Have you noticed that everyone from the federal government to your local grocery store is asking you questions and wants your input? Your libraries do it, and we are doing it too. It’s a tried and true method for beginning conversations, opening doors for greater participation, and building a shared understanding for decision making.

It is also demanding, at times boring (especially when there are no prizes!), and can have the unintended result of disengagement. Too often, we are left wondering if we were heard or if our responses informed anything.

You’ve heard it before, and you will read it again in this Bulletin, BCLTA is committed to hearing from and understanding its members. If you are survey and question weary, then let’s find another way. If you want to know how your input is used, I will tell you (individually and in the resulting reports).

Your time, expertise, and perspectives are important. However connecting works for you, I will do my best to make it work for BCLTA. 

Babs Kelly







TOP and Chairing the Board

If you are looking to fill some summer hours with an orientation refresher or overview, don’t forget to check out the TOP workbook and webinars available in the Member section of the website!

TOP webinar part 1 covers areas such as trustee responsibilities and governance versus management. Part 2 then continues the orientation with core board responsibilities such as external relations, oversight of the library, and establishing practices for board development.

To find out more about TOP training and to register, please visit bclta.ca/trustee-education. If you would like a TOP session in your area, please click on the “Request a Training Session” link and Jan, our Administrative Assistant, will respond to your questions and ensure that everything is in place for a successful session. A minimum of 10 participants is required for the session to proceed. It’s affordable! It’s enjoyable! It’s valuable!











Annual Survey

The Annual Survey will stay open throughout July.

We are short on the desired 100% response rate and need more data for a credible report. 

Let me (Babs) know if you need help with completing this survey. As well, I will email library directors over the next couple of weeks to ask how I can help. We are also interested in any feedback on the purpose and value of the survey.

We think that the survey has value and that potential uses of the report include:

  • Telling a story of public libraries that have strong governance and planning in place to meet the needs of their communities.
  • Advocating for resources for equitable capacity building across the province.
  • Developing planning materials for boards.

Please contact me, at execdir@bclta.ca with any questions about the survey or if you would like a word document of the survey questions. 









Trustee Learning and Development Framework

This project needs you – your experience and opinions are important!

A very big thank you to all of those who filled out last month’s survey and to those of you who have generously agreed to have an interview (chat!) with me. Your input makes the project real because without you, there is no project. As well, your input will make the difference between a framework that I think is pretty good, and framework that you think is pretty good. Let’s build the one that you think is pretty good.

This month’s quick survey is focused on TOP. This survey will take about 5 minutes and includes the option of leaving your contact information to participate in an interview or focus group. The survey can be found at http://fluidsurveys.com/s/BCLTAJulyBulletin/

If you don’t want to fill out the survey, but you do want to chat with me, email me at execdir@bclta.ca.

What is this project?

Trustees have asked for greater support in their roles and in developing their boards. In response, and with project funding support from the Libraries Branch, the BCLTA is developing a Trustee Learning and Development Framework. The purpose of the project is to build a province wide approach to learning and development opportunities for trustees. The results of this project will be improved access to trustee learning opportunities and an evidence-strengthened and outcomes-based delivery of TOP.

Over the next few months, trustees, library directors, federation staff, Libraries Branch staff, and partner organizations (BCLC, BCLA and ABCPLD) will all have the opportunity to contribute to the framework development through quick surveys, focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Stakeholder representatives, such as local government, will also have the opportunity to let us know what is important to them about trustee and board development and how they might support this development.

The final report is due in December 2016 and will be shared with the membership in early 2017.

Your questions and input into this project are very welcome! Don’t wait for us to ask you, let me (Babs) know at execdir@bclta.ca if you have something to say about trustee learning and development.










Linking with your Library World

Seventeen projects funded in Northern and Western Canada - Library and Archives Canada announces $1.5 million in funding to help local communities preserve Canada's documentary heritage

This is a great opportunity to reach out to archives and privately funded libraries in your community to say “congrats and tell us more about this!”.  Preserving documentary heritage is important to all of us. BC communities with funded projects include Port Coquitlam, Terrace, Smithers, Bella Bella, Oliver, Burnaby and Vancouver.

Find out more at Library and Archive Canada.

Provincial Digital Library (PDL) Symposium May 10th report

This is such a great province-wide initiative and the public library sector has strong participation and leadership in the project.

More information regarding the PDL can be found here.

The full report from the May 10th Symposium can be found here. This excerpt from the report will inspire you to read more and share it!

Among all the aspirations identified for a BC PDL, participants prioritized the following:

1. Leverage government seed funding into a sustainable, diversified funding model which provides enough to sustain the project and to fund continued growth and development

2. Beautiful user experience

3. Local communities, contributing in ways that are meaningful to them

4. Self-sustaining relevant tool that can be used by everyone to increase understanding of BC’s rich heritage and its present

5. Rational approach to sharing and harvesting metadata

6. Community provided content that represents the diversity of BC memories

Tumbler Ridge

It’s so nice to be able to learn about the variety of public libraries across the province. Jerrilyn Schembri, one of the BCLTA Directors has sent this from her library – thank you Jerrilyn!

Tumbler Ridge Public Library is located in beautifully scenic northeast BC and serves about 2500.  In 2015, the Library provided nearly 400 program hours to its clients!  Since 2014, when the first of 3 mines closed, the Library has provided employment services including resume preparation and job searching.  In October 2015, we added a daily After School Snack Program in response to concerns that some children were not eating enough due to the economic situation in TR.  We continue to provide all traditional library services, including being a net lender for interlibrary loans.  Storytime, PJ Storytime, Lapsit, Lego Club, Adult Book Club, Itchy Feet, Meditation and TD Summer Reading Club and our 11 public computers add to our appeal.  Our board is actively involved in supporting the library activities.

Visit our Facebook page and our website.




Vancouver Public Library

VPL launches This Vancouver online 

From the June 27th news release, Vancouver’s library has launched the city’s newest digital destination for local history, This Vancouver, an online home for preserving and sharing stories of our city, its events and its people. Read more…












Reports and Plans

We all want to know what other library sector boards are up to and so each month we will bring you a few select links to board documents. BC is large, diverse, and has over 700 trustees – we have much to learn from each other!

Coquitlam Public Library

Strategic Plan 2016-2018

You might find their planning process on page 2 of interest and it is nicely laid out for your consideration!

Vanderhoof Public Library

Strategic Plan 2015 – 2019

This report is full of useful details from environmental context to the planning process. This would be of particular interest to similarly sized and resourced libraries.

Creston Valley Public Library

While exploring the board section of the library’s website, I ran across the following:

Open Data

The Creston Valley Public Library Board of Trustees is committed to accountability and transparency in dealings with the public, supporting open data and open governance through strong planning, and effective measurement and clear reporting of outcomes for library programs and services. 


And they have posted two strategic plans, one is the public version and one is the administrative version. Now that’s something different and worth peaking at!

Strategic Plan 2016-2020 - Administrative Version 

Strategic Plan 2016-2020 - Public Version 











Board Development Resources

We will regularly share a few resources to support your trustee and board development. For this month, given the amount of questions and surveys that have been sent your way, we will go with theme of questioning.

20 Questions Not-For-Profit Board Directors Should Ask About Overseeing Management of Risk

This downloadable booklet from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada is a great resource for that critical board responsibility of overseeing risk, assessment of risk, and establishing risk policies. It includes:

  • how the board can prepare itself to oversee risk and establish risk policies
  • what the board should expect from staff in terms of assessing risks and developing risk strategies
  • what information you should expect to get from staff on risk performance and what they’ve learned from crises
  • how the board should measure its own effectiveness in overseeing risk management.

Free downloadable copy available at the CPA website

10 Good Questions Board Members Should Ask

Joan Garry Consulting

This one is a quick read (10, not 20 questions) and focuses in on how questions are asked. We all know that the “how” can make all the difference to the response.

Joan Garry writes, Board members are ambassadors. Every question should be asked in the tone and spirit of someone who is deeply committed to the mission.  And the CEO / senior staff should feel that.

7 Questions That Make You the Smartest Person in The Meeting

And now we are down to 7 questions!

This post takes a bit of patience to get to as Forbes wants you to notice the ads first. But it is worth the few clicks. The end quote is spot on; Questions are powerful things. Thomas Berger may have summarized that power best when he said, “The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”








Final Words and Thank you

Pulling together this monthly Bulletin provides me with an opportunity to feel like I’m reaching out to all of you, and I hope that I am. Connecting BCLTA with trustees is critical to the association fulfilling its mission and being of value to you. Perhaps you have some ideas about how we can connect differently, or better? Please be in touch and inform the association of what is working and what can be strengthened.


Babs Kelly

If you have feedback about this Bulletin or would like to contribute an item to the Around BC news, please contact us at bulletin@bclta.ca.









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