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!

Well, it seems that summer has ended, although I’m still holding out hope for a return of warmth and sunshine. The rain here has been good, but more sun please!

Since the last Bulletin sent in early July, your BCLTA board and staff have been working hard. No extended summer holidays for us! One priority has been preparing for the UBCM Convention, where we’ll share a booth in the Exhibitor Showcase with our library partners. This is a downsized trade show format, and UBCM says we will “join an exclusive group of exhibitors and share your ideas face-to-face with local government influencers and decision-makers.” Sounds good!

As well, we will meet with the Minister of Education, and other ministry personnel. I think our presentation will be very impactful, as we’ve had some great minds from our library partners busy developing it. As always, we will reiterate and demonstrate our conviction that public libraries have significant strategic value for the provincial government, as well as for our communities!

Immediately following UBCM, the BCLTA board will meet for its annual planning session. We tend to call it a ‘retreat’ but someone suggested we should re-frame it as an ‘advance.’ Because that’s our direction! We have an excellent facilitator and your board is going to work hard, and come away stronger and more focused for our work on your behalf.

We continue, through board working groups, to do internal work like a board development plan, a plan to review our constitution, bylaws and policies, and a communications strategy. It’s not the most glamorous work, but it’s essential if we are to remain a vibrant and effective organization.

Barb Kelly, working as an independent contractor, is making splendid progress on the Trustee Learning & Development project. She’s learning so much about the trustee world, both in BC and across the country. I’m rather jealous, but I know she’ll be sharing her learning with the Board, the Libraries Branch, and with you.

And, of course, we have continued in our consultation role in the renewal of the provincial strategic plan for libraries. This is nearing the finish line, and we’re all anxious to see it in a more final form.

Finally, as you’ll read below, we’re beginning to plan for our conference next year in Vancouver. We’d love to have some of you join our planning committee. After all, it’s going to be BCLTA’s 40th birthday! See below for more details.

Oh, one more thing. At our recent meeting, the BCLTA board voted to join the CFLA (Canadian Federation of Library Associations). We think it’s important that the voice of BC trustees be heard in this new national organization, and that we support their efforts to complete their transition as a new entity.

Thank you for making time to read our Bulletin, and for participating with us as you can. And, for ensuring quality library service in your communities.

Best wishes,

Donna Macdonald
President, BCLTA   


















Your Libraries and Your Stories

We want to hear from you! Send us stories about your board and your library to Babs at execdir@bclta.ca

This month we have submissions from BCLTA Directors Kyla Epstein (Vancouver Public Library Trustee) and Manjit Kang (Gibsons & District Public Library Trustee).

Vancouver Public Library

VPL's new Sun Life Musical Instrument Lending Library launched on June 7th. Within two days of the launch, all of the 100 instruments in the collection were signed out with holds lists. The Library also launched a musical instrument donation drive at the same time and has now received over 100 donated instruments. Given the popularity of the collection and the generosity of the community in donating instruments, it would be feasible for smaller libraries to launch a smaller collection of 10-20 donated instruments and make a difference in music accessibility. VPL staff would be pleased to connect with any library in BC considering such a collection to share experiences and materials.





 Gibsons & District Public Library

On August 27th the Gibsons & District Public Library re-opened after a two-week closure to complete a space reconfiguration project. Planning for the project began in 2014 when the Library board commissioned a facilities study. As the Library continues to evolve, offering both traditional services and new programs, learning opportunities and digital resources, the study explored ways to optimize the efficiency of the existing building to accommodate these changes

The project consists of three phases. The first phase focused on operational changes and the second phase included repurposing the Library foyer into a Teen Area and opening up more flexible work space to better accommodate presentations, workshops and group use. The second phase changes took place during the Library closure in August and are now complete. The third phase focuses on updating the children’s area and replacing furniture in the Library and is planned for winter 2016/17. The goal of each phase is to optimize and adapt the existing layout to the changing needs of the community while maintaining the welcoming atmosphere of the Library so valued by its members.

The project was funded with a Library capital fund reserve, a donation from the Library Foundation and grants from local government and community agencies. To help complete phase three, the Library is participating in a community crowdsourcing project. Similar to other crowdsourcing platforms community members will be able to contribute to the Library project and other community projects through a shared community crowdsourcing platform.

As the final touches were being completed on August 27th members lined up outside the Library doors excited to view the changes.  Since that day, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and though the changes didn’t include expanding the existing Library footprint, many people comment on how much larger and spacious the Library now feels.

After the dust settles from the renovations and staff and volunteers get accustomed to the new space a re-opening celebration is planned to thank funders, and recognize the hard work of volunteers and staff who all came together to make the project a success. Thank you!













Join the 2017 Conference Planning Advisory Committee

We are looking for trustees to be part of a conference planning advisory committee. This is your opportunity to take part in developing the theme, sessions, and the over-all experience of the conference.

And to add a little extra awesomeness to the 2017 conference, it will also be a celebration of BCLTA’s 40th anniversary!

Here are a few details about the committee:

  • Duration will be October through May
  • There will be one meeting each month by teleconference
  • Meetings will be in the evening (most likely lasting one hour and never running past 9pm)
  • There will be some emails
  • You will be providing advisement to the BCLTA board on what makes a fabulous reception and conference – you are idea people, no arranging catering or doing clean up!
  • The BCLTA ED will take care of coordinating meetings, note taking, and the general carrying out of details and tasks.

It would be ideal to have representation on the committee from across the province, from various sized communities, and from the different types of library boards.

The 2017 BCLTA Conference will take place April 21st (evening reception) and April 22nd (full day conference) in downtown Vancouver at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront. The BCLA conference will be at the same hotel from April 19th through to the 21st and we extend a big thank you to our friends at BCLA for all their help with booking the venue.

If you are interested in joining the committee please email Babs at execdir@bclta.ca









Annual Survey

We still need more responses before we close the Annual Survey on September 14th and begin work on the report.

Whether you have already filled out the survey, or not, we want to hear from you with any questions or feedback regarding its design or purpose.

The BCLTA Board believes 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 Babs at execdir@bclta.ca with any questions or comments about the survey.  









Trustee Learning and Development Framework

Thank you!

I (Babs) have had the amazing experience of nearly 50 hours of interviews (good conversations!) that are informing the direction and recommendations of this project.  It’s worth repeating what I said in July about your input; it will make the difference between a framework that I think is pretty good, and a framework that you think is pretty good. With your interest and support, I think we are on the path to pretty good.

This month’s quick survey is one question – that’s right just one quick question. So quick, here it is:

What makes you feel pride in yourself as a trustee and/or your board?

Answer at http://fluidsurveys.com/s/BCLTASeptemberBulletin/     

The project will wrap up in December and a report will be shared with the membership in early 2017. Email me at execdir@bclta.ca if you would like to set up a time to chat about this project.









TOP and Chairing the Board

Find out more about upcoming TOP sessions, such as October 29th in Fort St. James, in the Trustee’s Education section of the website at bclta.ca.

If you would like a TOP session in your area, please click on the “Request a Training Session” link and Jan, BCLTA’s 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.

We also provide easy access to the TOP workbook and webinars 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. 










Linking with your Library World

Ontario Library Board Association

The OLBA has been working on a Leadership by Design program that is worth a quick peak.


Congratulations to the CFLA for going live with their website in August!

Canadian Federation of Library Associations

From the website

We are the national voice of Canada’s library associations. Our purpose is to:

  • advance library excellence in Canada;
  • champion library values and the value of libraries; and
  • influence national and international public policy impacting libraries and their communities.

Summer Reading Club

summertime and the readin’ is easy…

In this very readable piece from September 6, 2016, Jacqueline van Dyk (Library Director at North Vancouver District Public Library) shares some number crunching and SRC background. Some good stuff here for when your local MLA or councillor says, “hey, what about that summer reading club?”












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!

Public Library InterLINK Strategic Plan, 2016 – 2019

Here's a nice bit from the Executive Summary that speaks to commitment and mission. 

While public libraries remain a fundamental community institution, profound changes in the way those communities interact with their libraries make it imperative for Public Library InterLINK to regularly revisit the manner in which we support the work of those member libraries. InterLINK must continually evolve to ensure its relevancy and that it continues to best serve the needs of our unique communities. InterLINK provides leadership and encourages innovation by providing a forum for member libraries to share local successes and expertise as well as providing a conduit to developments in the broader library community both in BC and in other jurisdictions.

Vancouver Island Regional Library 2016 - 2020 Financial Plan, Meeting Our Service Standards

This plan, adopted September 19, 2015 by the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board of Trustees, uses a business case approach for funding proposals. There are three unique business cases, each well documented for boards interested in this approach.

Prince George Public Library, Strategic Plan 2016 – 2020

The Board, along with staff, is mentioned in the plan for having responsibility to “communicate and celebrate the library’s achievements and impacts”. Trustees hard at work! 










Board Development Resources

As we excitedly look forward to being part of the UBCM Exhibitor Showcase (Victoria, September 27th through the 29th) with our partners, ABCPLD, BCLC and BCLA, perhaps some resources on engagement, networking, and influencing would be beneficial for all of us!

Collective Impact

Tamarack Institute

If you haven’t already been to a meeting where collective impact is being discussed, you will soon. This is engagement, networking, and influencing at its best – collaboration that genuinely makes a difference. Read more or watch the video about what it takes to build alignment with results.


Public Library Advocacy: An Evidence-Based Perspective on Sustainable Funding

  • Public Libraries Online, September 14, 2015
  • Cheryl Stenstrom  and Ken Haycock

A very encouraging article with interesting insight on credibility, positive experiences, and influence.


Telling the library’s story is a powerful and proven method for engaging and influencing. Here are a few resources to inspire you.

7 Crucial Storytelling Tips to Improve Your Fundraising (video!)

From Impact to Story. How to Explain Your Organization’s Real Impact Through a Story

How to Tell Stories that Influence People and Inspire Action (IDEO)

Use Storytelling to Explain Your Company’s Purpose (HBR) 








Final Words and Thank you

You may have noticed that we changed things up, just a little, with this issue of the Bulletin. We want to highlight your stories, while still keeping you informed about BCLTA and providing you with a few resources to support your work. And most importantly, we want to figure out how to best connect with you. The Bulletin is one way, but it is a little … well, one way.

Let us know how we can better connect with you. You can find us on FB at http://tinyurl.com/zzn9dk6 and on Twitter. We also visit and have discussions! Whenever possible the BCLTA Directors enjoy meeting with trustees and I am always keen to hear from you (you may have noticed how often my email address appears in the Bulletin).

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

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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