President’s Notes

Welcoming Address from Laura Ross-Giroux 

Download printable version here

After almost twenty five years volunteering in the library world, I am thrilled to step up and undertake this new adventure in my life. In the upcoming term I have set five goals for the ALTA Board that will continue to help us address our mandate, and that is to continue to advocate for public libraries and library service throughout Alberta and to help give Alberta library trustees the knowledge and tools they need to become more effective advocates for their libraries.

Funding continues to be a problem and we are actively exploring and pursuing grants and other sources of sustainable funding, including sponsorships, BUT we will not sell our soul to do so. We have been tightening our belts wherever we can. In the past, ALTA sent all of its directors to the AGM in Jasper but, unfortunately, this year, we were unable to do so and some were unable to attend. We also did not host a large ALTA reception, we simply cannot justify the cost at this time. Our meetings will continue to be held either by video or teleconferencing and I thank Ron Sheppard at PRL and other libraries throughout the province to allow us to use their facilities to do so. We are, once again, having a two day retreat this spring as it is our only opportunity to gather in person and spent hours planning and brainstorming as to best serve you and your libraries, our time at the ALC is just too busy and short to do so there. I am optimistic that we can address all this goal over the next two years as we have such an enthusiastic and determined board who are great at thinking outside of the box! We will continue to look for cost cutting measures without significantly affecting our obligations to you.

Our second priority will be on getting ALTA and its message out there. It always a surprise to me as to how many trustees in attendance at ALC in Jasper do NOT know what ALTA is or what it does. To that end, we printed bright yellow buttons proudly announcing that “I’m ALTA” and endeavoured to make sure that all library trustees were wearing them, there was no mistaking who we were and we had the opportunity to share our message and mandate with many; something so simple can accomplish so much!  We hope to make ALTA a bigger presence throughout the province and we will be in attendance at your regional library conferences. I hope that we can continue our partnership with the regional library systems in sharing an information table at both the AUMA and the AAMD&C. I hope that in getting our message out there about who we are and what we do, this will assist us in securing more sustainable funding in the future. I and my board members will continue to meet with the Minister, MLAs and other government officials to keep public libraries on their radar and the need for more up-to-date library funding. We will also continue to maintain our sound working relationships with the Public Library Services Branch and LAA.

Our third focus is you, our trustees! Many thanks to those of you that responded to the Trustee Engagement survey last year, we examined your responses and we have developed tools we hope will assist you – you wanted to know how to advocate for your library and Diane Osberg , former Area 4 rep, head of our Education committee, developed an Advocacy workshop which has been presented at three regional conferences and the ALC and is now available on our website. This year we are adding workshops on Trustee Orientation and Funding. Whenever possible, we will also come to you, if you would like an ALTA representative to come and do a workshop for your board or perhaps a gathering of a few boards, please contact Heather in our office and we will do our darndest to do it!  We gathered notes at the AGM and the ALC that you wrote to and for us and will read those over at our retreat and response to your concerns, we are listening. You also wanted an opportunity to exchange best practices and ideas, from now on, the Trustee Forum will be the place for that, we will be focusing on what works and doesn`t work for libraries and I`m hoping we`ll be able to share award winning ideas from libraries around the province.

The Trustee Handbook is desperately out of date and we will be making every effort to modernize it. A committee will be struck to and we will be asking the PLSB and the Regionals to assist us in this task.

Lastly, we are going to re-examine the ALTA awards and how they are adjudicated. We need to recognize that not all libraries are on an even playing field and that needs to be addressed.

I and the ALTA Board of Directors are taking on a lot this upcoming term but I have faith that we can handle it. We will be reaching out to you, our trustees, for assistance by asking you to help out with our committees, we will post upcoming opportunities right here on our website and the Trustee Voice. Many hands make less work.

I am honoured to head the Alberta Library Trustees Association and I love having the privilege of serving with like-minded people, library lovers like you. Lastly, I know that I speak for my fellow board members when I say that we are here for you. Please feel free to contact us with any of your concerns and I look forward to meeting more of you and traveling out to your libraries in my travels.

President’s Bulletin – January 2015

Happy New Year!

I hope that all of you had a warm holiday season, 2014 is now a memory and it is a time of reflection, what a year it was for ALTA. We have a re-energized Board of Directors and Alternates who have been very busy presenting at conferences and workshops and advocating on your behalf with local, municipal and provincial governments and we have a new focus for the future. We discovered that as much as we would like, with our numbers and our budget constraints, we cannot be everything for everybody, so we have decided to concentrate our efforts on what we do best – advocacy. Working with already existing materials, we will continue to assist you in learning the ins and outs of being a library trustee but a greater emphasis will be placed on teaching you how to be more effective advocates for your libraries. We will still be a presence at library conferences and workshops, promoting positive community engagement and networking with colleagues, encouraging creative conversations and collaborations, and pointing you to the resources you need to be effective Trustees.
The year ahead promises to be equally exciting in the library world, full of change and challenges, a few of which, are mentioned below. We are strengthening partnerships with colleagues from the Library Association of Alberta and the Alberta Library to promote increased and sustainable funding for all libraries in the province and working with the PLSB to support Trustee education and networking. I look forward to continuing to work with our dynamic board and staff and getting out and meeting more Trustees and library colleagues from around the province.

2015 ALTA Awards nominations are now open! 

This is your opportunity to nominate and recognize the outstanding Library Trustees in your community. We have made some exciting new changes; there are now two Awards of Excellence, one for libraries serving populations less than 20,000 and another for libraries serving populations greater than 20,000 and the Lois Hole Award has been repurposed to pay homage to the great lady herself. Take a look at the new awards and/or submit your nominations, please click here!

The ALTA Board is now accepting nominations for new area representatives for 2015-2017 for Areas 1, 3, 5, 7, and 8 (relating to the Peace, Parkland, Chinook, Metro Edmonton and Northern Lights areas). If you are interested in joining the ALTA Board, or serving as an alternate, please click here. Nominations close January 31st, 2015.
There is strength in numbers.
ALTA promotes, strengthens and sustains Library Trustees by developing and sharing resources, knowledge, giving voice to critical issues affecting libraries and celebrating the tremendous impact trustees have made across Alberta.
We thank you for your membership and continual support. If you are not already a member with ALTA, and are ready to join please click here!
ALTA is listening…
I would be delighted to hear any questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to send us an e-mail, follow us on Twitter, Linkedin, or ask us any questions you have on Facebook.
ALTA is once again co-hosting the Alberta Library Conference is April 30 – May 3, 2015 in Jasper and our Annual General Meeting will be there on Friday May 1st. For more information on this year`s ALC, please click here.
To close, I wish all of you the very best for a healthy and prosperous 2015!