Each year the British Columbia Library Association invites the library community, partners, and stakeholders to nominate individuals and organizations for awards recognizing outstanding work in libraries throughout the province. Winners receive a parchment certificate and BCLA makes a $100 donation in their name to the charity of their choice (any non-profit or charity, including their library).

This year the awards were presented during the 2024 BC Library Conference. Please join us in congratulating the winners!

BCLA Building Better Communities Award Winner: Salt Spring Island Public Library

This award is for an individual or organization responsible for increasing the relevancy and impact of library service through partnership, collaboration, and building trust where little had previously existed. This year’s recipient is Salt Spring Island Public Library for their Reconciliation work.

Salt Spring Island Public Library formally began doing Truth & Reconciliation work in 2018, with an UNDRIP series, Indigenous author readings and Indigenous displays, and expanded in 2019 with the formation of their Reconciliation Reading Circle, which continues to this day. Most recently, in January they opened ITOTELNEW̱ HÁUTW̱ Tatul’ utew’t-hw, their new Indigenous Learning Area.

The Awards Committee was impressed by the ongoing commitment and leadership Salt Spring Island Public Library has demonstrated to Truth & Reconciliation, and what they have been able to achieve as a relatively small library.

BCLA Eureka Award Winner: Samantha Wink

This award is given to an individual or organization that has created an innovative approach to address a barrier, solve a problem, provide a powerful new insight, or introduce an original idea in the library field. This is an award for thinkers, analysers, innovators, dreamers, and doers. This year’s recipient is Samantha Wink for her work advancing library communications, particularly crisis communications supporting libraries facing opposition to Drag Storytimes.

This work started in January 2023 when Coquitlam Public Library hosted a Drag Storytime that attracted a lot of attention and opposition. As an experienced marketing and communications professional, Sam quickly pivoted into crisis communications mode. Her coworkers said that they felt safe and supported as Sam dealt with communications and consistently conveyed a professional message of how public libraries support diversity, inclusion, and a love of learning. That led to many other libraries reaching out to her as they dealt with similar issues or started to plan for their own events and anticipate opposition, and Sam shared her toolkit and offered other communications support to them.

Most recently, Sam is working with Abigail Saxton and Michelle Collyer to start and cochair the new BCLA Library Communicators Interest Group, building communications capacity in all BC public libraries.

The Awards Committee was impressed by the reach of Sam’s work, and her commitment to supporting library workers throughout BC as they face unprecedented challenges.

BC Academic Libraries Section (BCALS) Outstanding Contribution Award: Jennifer Zerkee & Stephanie Savage

This award recognizes to an individual who works in an academic library (or team of academic library personnel) whose professional achievements have made a real difference to students, faculty, or colleagues in British Columbia. This year’s recipients are Jennifer Zerkee & Stephanie Savage.

BCCATS J. McRee Elrod Leadership Award: KPU Library Technical Services Team

This award recognizes an individual or unit working in technical services that has demonstrated excellence and/or made a difference to users and colleagues in British Columbia in the area of technical services. This year’s recipient is the KPU Library Technical Services Team.

Young Adult and Children’s Services Section Award: Ginny Dunnill

This award recognizes librarians, library technicians, teacher-librarians and others who have, as individuals or teams, demonstrated exceptional dedication and service in children’s or teen library services. This year’s recipient is Ginny Dunnill.

Congratulations to the award winners and all of the excellent nominees, whose collective contributions demonstrate the relevant, innovative, and impactful work libraries do in their communities.

More information about the BCLA Awards can be found on the BCLA Website.