You will have heard by now that CLA is shutting its doors. It is a time of great change. At the same time, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) is starting to come together, based on the work that the Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) has been involved in during the past year (I was, and continue for now to be, your representative on the National Federation Working Group).
In recent months, there have been some differing opinions in Saskatchewan and Manitoba about the board governance model for the Federation, where Manitoba and Saskatchewan would share a Prairie Provinces representative. In response to this unease, SLA and the Manitoba Library Association (MLA) co-hosted a telephone meeting on January 22, 2016, for association representatives from both provinces. It was a great meeting, resulting in a willingness to go forward together, and to build a structure for representation and communication that meets the needs of all of us.
As a result of that meeting, a small MLA-SLA working group was struck, with two members from each board, to flesh out scenarios for how this would work. This MLA-SLA (Prairie Provinces) Working Group is composed of MLA President Alix-Rae Stefanko, SLA President Gwen Schmidt, MLA Board Member Kyle Feenstra, and SLA Board Member Eleanor Crumblehulme. This working group has been tasked with considering:
- Communication (up, down, sideways, and with other library associations in both provinces)
- Succession and transition planning
- Selection and endorsement of candidates
This working group hopes to have something for each board to look at in April, and for each membership to consider in May.
In the meantime, the National Federation Working Group has concluded that the CFLA should come together as soon as possible with an interim board, and that the interim board should look as much like the proposed governance model as possible. This meant that we needed an interim Prairie Provinces representative right away, and had to move quickly. Further, it was deemed important that the interim representative should, if possible, be a member of the National Federation Working Group that has been focusing on this for the past year - for continuity and a shared vision.
I talked with the MLA President, Alix-Rae Stefanko, and we decided together for a number of reasons that she would put her name forward as the interim Prairie Provinces representative, if both boards were supportive. In the past week, both the MLA and SLA boards formally endorsed Alix-Rae as our interim Prairie Provinces representative.
I am very supportive of Alix-Rae in this role, and I think we are well-represented. One of our SLA board members, Alison Jantz, has offered in this interim period to assist Alix-Rae with communications in Saskatchewan. We are off to a great start with the new national federation!
I speak on behalf of the SLA Board when I say that we are very excited about the future, and about a closer relationship with Manitoba and all the other library association partners in Canada. I look forward to speaking to you further about this at the 2016 Saskatchewan Libraries Conference, as the details unfold.
SLA President, 2014-2016