Congratulations to the Editorial staff on the first edition of BCLA’s new publication, Perspectives! On behalf of the BCLA membership and Perspectives readers we thank you for the time, work, and consideration you gave to building an exceptional publication! We would especially like to thank Perspectives editor Leanna Jantz, who has led the evolution of the Browser to the new Perspectives.
In the past few months, BCLA has been exceptionally busy with meetings and new initiatives. The initiative that comes to mind first is the work we’ve doing to understand the Public Digital Library (PDL) project. As some of you recall, the Provincial Government announced plans to build a PDL in the spring of 2014. Emerging out of the Government of British Columbia’s Core Review, the proposed PDL is intended to expand public access to academic research and openly licensed library resources across academic, school, and public libraries. In response to this a small group of library representatives gathered at the BCLA office this summer to explore what the different sectors could bring to the vision of a provincial digital library. An expanded group of stakeholders is assembling in November to discuss the possibilities and challenges associated with building a Provincial Digital Library. Tackling a cross-sectorial, multi-layered initiative can be daunting to say the least but we continue to have confidence in the ingenuity of people that form the backbone of our libraries in British Columbia! We hope to report back to you on this in future issues of Perspectives.
Alongside the work on the PDL, BCLA met with the Minister of Education during the Union of BC Municipalities Conference. Members from the BC Libraries Cooperative, the BC Libraries Trustee Association, and the Association of BC Public Library Directors, met with Minister Mike Bernier, Deputy Minister Dave Byng, and Assistant Deputy Minister Paige MacFarlane for a 30 minute conversation about public libraries. Discussions were wide ranging and covered topics including our concern for expedited broadband expansion in rural BC and joint literacy initiatives. We were encouraged to hear that the Ministry would like to have ongoing discussions with the four attending library groups and is particularly interested in having us work collectively on a joint vision for public libraries in BC. At the same time Paige MacFarlane announced plans for a financial review of provincial library funding. She was quick to say that this was NOT a review to consider increasing the $14M currently allocated to libraries in the Province. Paige explained that the review does not mean that “the pie is getting bigger” but that the review would “look at different ways to slice the pie.” We look forward to meeting with the Ministry, to hearing more about their plans, and to contributing to a vision for public libraries.
The BCLA Board of Directors and staff are busy this year with a Strategic Plan Refresh. The objective of the Refresh is to deepen and better articulate the goals and priorities that were identified two years ago. BCLA had been without a Strategic Plan for several years when the last plan was written and thus considerable research, consultation, and consideration was given to it. Changes since the last plan include: better financial processes; three new websites; a more developed BC Library Conference; more clearly defined Board roles; a new BCLA publication; an expanded Summer Reading Club; and a host of more developed relationships and partnerships within the library community. What has not changed is BCLA’s commitment to Professional Development, to advocacy work, to improving communications with members and stakeholders, and to engaging with the overall library community. As you know Strategic Plans are essential to determine and clarify where an association is going and how it’s going to get there. As such it was time to refresh the Strategic Plan to determine a clear path to future goals and priorities. Once the Plan is complete, early in 2016, we will announce it and post it on the website.
Other work in recent months involves BCLA’s participation on the Canadian Library Association’s Working Group. This group is tasked with determining a viable and relevant future for the national association. Regular meetings with much analysis, discussion, critical debate, and deliberations have been ongoing. By the time this article is published the BC library community, as well as the national library community, should have had a chance to see the Working Group’s report and read their recommendations. This has been a challenging initiative which has allowed BCLA to develop stronger and deeper relationship with many of the country’s other library associations. It was also a remarkable opportunity to help refine the direction of a national organization that seeks to serve libraries across the country.
Caroline Daniels, BCLA President
Annette DeFaveri, BCLA Executive Director