BCLA President Daphne Wood and I had the pleasure of representing the Association at this year’s Union of BC Municipalities Conference in Victoria. As in past years we partnered with the BC Libraries Cooperative, the BC Library Trustees Association, and the Association of BC Public Library Directors to staff a table at the Trade Show and to meet with the Minister of Education, Mike Bernier. Few of you will be surprised to hear that conference delegates, representing municipalities from across the province, had positive and encouraging comments about libraries when they stopped at the Trade Show booth. We heard a plethora of personal and professional stories about people’s interactions with their local libraries, their reading preferences, and many anecdotes about local governments! Having the opportunity to meet so many local government representatives and talk about the value of libraries is an important part of BCLA’s commitment to advocating for libraries.
During the BCLA Strategic Plan Refresh earlier this year the Board talked about building the Association in new and creative ways. Board members were particularly interested in ways to build relationships and partnerships with organizations that share similar values and principles with BCLA. It’s exciting to report that BCLA is meeting with the BC Social Studies Teachers Association President, Dale Martelli, to discuss ways our associations can support each other and work together. We see many possibilities for collaboration in the future.
Work this fall is dominated by potential changes to the BCLA by-laws. This is due to new legislation governing societies and not-for-profits. While it is good opportunity for the BCLA Board Executive to review the by-laws, it is also a legal requirement to complete such a review by November 28, 2016. If you haven’t already heard, BCLA will hold a special AGM on Thursday, November 24, to introduce the changes to the by-laws to the membership.
Two significant national issues are important for BCLA advocacy work this fall. Canada’s Chief Statistician, Wayne Smith, has stepped down citing deep concerns about the independence of Statistics Canada. This is the second Chief Statistician to step down in less than 10 years. BCLA has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office expressing concerns about the need to trust the data collected by the government and the need to trust that the data will be independently managed. The Prime Minister campaigned, in part, on the idea of evidence-based decision making and we have suggested that an independent Statistics Canada should provide the arm’s-length statistical data needed for this.
At the same time, the federal government is collecting feedback on Bill C-51. OpenMedia, a Canadian non-partisan and non-profit advocating for open and innovative communication systems, has created an excellent opportunity for individuals to express opinions on this review via an online feedback form. The link to that form was sent to the BCLA list. One huge advantage to completing the OpenMedia feedback form is that the government receives a multitude of responses. The BCLA Board will also be sending a letter that expresses our collective concerns.
Regular activities this fall include the beginning of our conference planning activities. Please let me introduce our 2017 BC Library Conference Co-Chairs, Heidi Schiller and Leanna Jantzi.
Heidi is the Manager of InfoAction at Vancouver Public Library. Previously, she worked as a Readers’ Services and Customer Engagement Librarian at the North Vancouver City Library. She is the Co-Chair of the Public Libraries Interest Group, has been a member of the BCLA Board, was on the Perspectives Editorial Board, and is active in the Readers’ Advisory Interest Group. Heidi is also a founding member of Out of the Stacks, a social networking group for library and archives staff that is well worth checking out!
Leanna is Head, Fraser Library at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus. Prior to SFU, Leanna was a librarian at Okanagan College and Capilano University and worked several years as a journalist in Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. Leanna is an active member, in many capacities, in the BC Library Association, and is the former co-editor of BCLA Perspectives. Significantly for the Association, Leanna led the shift in editorial direction when the Browser changed to Perspectives.
And just in case you missed it, the theme for the 2017 BC Library Conference is Seek. Spark. Ignite. The call for proposals is open!!
While building the 2017 conference the BCLA office is working with members to develop workshops as part of the Professional Development
Institute (PDI). Our goal is to provide an opportunity for members to engage in in-depth, hands-on training in specific areas of interest. The conference itself will continue to focus on ideas, thinking, core values and principles, as well as learning from each other and from other organizations whose approaches intersect with ours. The PDI will focus on delivering relevant and timely training for members. We are still in the early stages of fully articulating the role of the PDI, but as well as a training focus the PDI is ultimately meant to generate income in order to build a financially sustainable Association.
Finally, I’d like to introduce Perspectives Co-Editor Cassie McFadden as BCLA’s new Office Manager. Cassie takes over from Allie Douglas, who has moved to Public Library InterLINK. We are all thrilled that Allie has a new career opportunity and equally excited to have Cassie join myself and Angie here at the BCLA office. We all look forward to hearing from you.
Annette DeFaveri is the Executive Director of the British Columbia Library Association.
*FVRL: Fraser Valley Regional Library, BCLTA: British Columbia Library Trustees Association, ABCPLD: Association of British Columbia Public Library Directors.