Revised Proposal Published!

The revised proposal is finally published! The proposal, entitled Toward a Federation of Library Associations in Canada: Strengthening the national voice for Canadian libraries, is available in English and French at the CLA website, posted on October 8, 2015:

Link: Toward a Federation of Library Associations in Canada: Strengthening the national voice for Canadian libraries

I’d like to thank all of the Working Group members for their efforts over the past 7 months, getting us to this revised proposal. It has been a real honour and pleasure to work with such a dedicated and passionate group of colleagues and I look forward to the next phases in our work together.

In the coming weeks, library association members across the country will start to see surveys seeking opinions on the ideas proposed in this revision. Late November and early December will see the Working Group discuss the feedback and make any final revisions before issuing the final proposal. We hope to have a CLA member vote in late January 2015.



Update: CLA 2015 Conference Discussions and Status of Work

Background: As you know from reading everything on this site :), in early January 2015, CLA Executive Council published a concept paper that envisioned a new form and focus for our national library association. Since February 2015, CLA Executive Council has been working with representatives from various library associations across the country to further develop the proposal. The next version of the proposal is scheduled to be published in September 2015.

During the 2015 CLA conference held earlier this month in Ottawa, CLA members and delegates were invited to participate in the Town Hall on the Future of CLA as well as the CLA Annual General Meeting on June 4, 2015 in order to learn about the status of discussions regarding the concept for a future national library association in Canada and to provide their feedback on the concept presented thus far.

At the Town Hall, Vice-President Sandra Singh provided an overview of the work done to date by the association stakeholders and the Stakeholder Working Group. She reported that the stakeholder associations were in agreement that the community needs a strong, focused, and effective national voice that can speak with authority and confidence to the significant national and international issues and events that impact the provision of library services, Canadians’ access to information, and Canadians’ ability to engage with knowledge and information. As well, this group must promote and advocate for library services and continue to promote and advance library excellence in Canada.

Sandra stated that this strong, unified, and effective voice is what the Working Group is trying to build with the suggested Federation. She started by sharing the assumptions that informed the working group’s discussions:

  • the new organization needs to start relatively small and focussed with a view to expanding as needed over time and with an increasing federation membership.
  • There would need to be diverse revenue sources beyond membership fees.
  • That the organization would be a not-for-profit organization.

She then went through a two page partial summary of the draft elements for inclusion in the anticipated revised proposal (to be published in September). These elements include: a proposed purpose, proposed deliverables, proposed filters and lenses for evaluating which initiatives to undertake, and a proposed structure and governance model. She also highlighted the process and timeline. The draft summary can be read here:

The floor was then opened for discussion and comment. Many members and delegates shared both their concerns and praises, all of which were noted and will be considered by the Working Group as it prepares the next draft of the proposal for broader community consultation. We encourage you to follow the blog created by the Working Group for ongoing updates.

Sandra noted her appreciation for the working group members who came together of the preceding months in a collaborative process to discuss the draft elements for the next version of the proposal:

Atlantic Provinces Library Association (APLA) – Crystal Rose
Nova Scotia Library Association (NSLA) – Trecia Schell
L’Association des bibliothécaires du Québec (ABQLA) – Shannon Babcock
Yukon Library Association (YLA) – Sarah Gallagher
Ontario Library Association (OLA) – Shelagh Paterson
Manitoba Library Association (MLA) – Camille Callison
Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) – Gwen Schmidt
Library Association of Alberta (LAA) – Jason Openo
British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) – Annette DeFaveri
Canadian Association of Research Libraries(CARL) – Susan Haigh
Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) – Paul Takala
Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA) – Lee-Anne Ufholz
Canadian Library Association – Marie DeYoung
Canadian Library Association – Mike Ridley
Canadian Library Association – Valoree McKay

At the AGM, Sandra presented a truncated version of the material and there was further discussion of the proposed elements. The feedback from this discussion will also be considered by the Working Group over the summer as it continues its work on the revised proposal.

Working Group Conference Call 1: Meeting Notes

March 20, 2015
10:00 am – 11:30 am Pacific

Nova Scotia Library Association (NSLA) – Trecia Schell
L’Association des bibliothécaires du Québec (ABQLA) – Shannon Babcock
Ontario Library Association (OLA) – Shelagh Paterson
Manitoba Library Association (MLA) – Camille Callison
Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) – Gwen Schmidt
Library Association of Alberta (LAA) – Jason Openo
British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) – Annette DeFaveri
Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) – Susan Haigh
Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA) – Lee-Anne Ufholz
Canadian Library Association – Marie DeYoung
Canadian Library Association – Sandra Singh
Canadian Library Association – Mike Ridley
Canadian Library Association – Valoree Mckay

Atlantic Provinces Library Association (APLA) – Crystal Rose
Yukon Library Association (YLA) – Sarah Gallagher
Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) – Paul Takala

L’Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation (ASTED) – Elise Boucher



Sandra Singh, VP CLA, welcomed the group to the conference call and expressed appreciation to all the associations and volunteers for their participation in the working group. She called for additions to the agenda. There were no further additions.


Sandra noted that until this point, she has served as convener and project coordinator for the Working Group (WG) in order to get things going. She noted that while the group will be engaging a project coordinator, a convener for the WG is still necessary. She noted that while she could continue in this role, the group should discuss whether this is appropriate and if someone else should take this on. A number of WG members noted that it was fitting that someone from CLA serve as convener. The larger group agreed. Ms. Singh will continue as chair. She noted she will touch base with the group at various points in the process to confirm whether this remains appropriate.


  • It was agreed that Sandra Singh will continue as Chair / Convener of the Working Group.

The WG reviewed a draft Terms of Reference in detail and amendments were made.

The following amendments were agreed to:

Responsibility section

  • Mention “proposed model”.
  • Include the drafting of a purpose. Vision and Mission should wait for discussion with the larger Stakeholder Group as to process.
  • Include research and recommendation as an activity.

Frequency of meetings section

  • The group agreed that a meeting will move forward if 60% of the WG members are present, but that any decisions regarding items for inclusion in the proposal will be emailed out to the whole WG for review and comment by the members who could not be present before a decision is finalized.

Decision-making section

  • The group agreed that decision-making will be by consensus. If consensus is not reached, then the item in question will be presented as options within the proposal.

Record of meetings

  • It was agreed that in the interest of transparency and openness, meeting notes should be shared with the member association Boards and the larger library community by being posted to the CLA website.
  • CLA Office staff and project Coordinator will take notes for phone meetings and hopefully project coordinator for the April in-person meeting.


  • Sandra Singh will update the Terms of Reference based on the agreed upon amendments and circulate for confirmation by the WG. Once confirmed, the Draft Terms of Reference will be shared with the larger Stakeholder Group.

The WG discussed a draft timeline that presented a phased approach to achieving a final federated CLA proposal as well as some suggested stages around decision-making. Sandra Singh noted that the ideal situation would be for CLA to be at a point where it can make a decision about its future by its 2016 AGM. There was discussion about the various times for the WG member association AGMs and also the various ways the groups might make a decision regarding participation in a federated CLA governance and financial model.


  • the last two steps in the timeline would be noted as TBC until the stakeholders have confirmed their AGM schedules so that a decision on timing can be made that accommodates that majority if not all. The WG members are to send information to Sandra Singh regarding their AGM schedules.


  • Sandra Singh to update the draft Timeline and then share it with the Working Group Members
  • Working Group Members to email Sandra Singh their AGM dates.
  • Once AGM dates are received /confirmed, Working Group to make a decision on the timing of the final two steps in the Proposed Timeline.

Shannon Babcock left the meeting 11:01am Pacific Time


The date for the April meeting has been confirmed for Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 in Toronto. CLA will cover flights, ground travel in Toronto, and 2 nights of hotel for each WG member. WG members are asked to cover their own per diem expenses and any ground travel or expenses in their home cities.

Ryerson University and OLA have both generously offered free rooms for this meeting. There is also the option to meet in a meeting room in an airport hotel. The meeting room rental fees would offset the cost of taxis from the airport into downtown Toronto for a meeting. S. Singh noted she would set up a poll to see where folks prefer to hold the meeting.

Singh noted that CLA EC proposes engaging Rebecca Jones to serve as meeting facilitator for the April meeting. The WG agreed that R. Jones would be an effective facilitator for the April meeting. S. Singh noted that the larger Stakeholder Group would be consulted for the June meeting.


  • Sandra Singh to send poll to all working group members with the three options for meeting facilities.
  • CLA to confirm how to book travel (and rooms once meeting location is confirmed)
  • Sandra Singh to follow up confirming Rebecca Jones as facilitator.
  • Sandra Singh/ Valoree McKay will look into what time to end the meeting on Saturday based on travel requirements of WG members.

Singh asked members to send her ideas for potential project coordinators by the end of next week (March 27).


  • WG members to send names for potential project coordinators to Sandra Singh by March 27.

Singh noted that significant work could be accomplished before the April meeting, such as brainstorming, reviewing materials, etc. She suggested several options for next steps. Discussion ensued. It was noted that the paper that Shelagh Paterson from OLA shared entitled “A Framework for Success for Nonprofit Federations (Revised)” ( could be used as a toolkit for our discussion regarding a federated approach.


  • Conference Call 2 should be scheduled to discuss:
    • Articulation of a draft purpose for a new CLA, based on the concept paper and the discussion with the Stakeholder Group in January.
    • The use of the Framework document as a guide for discussions amongst the WG members.



The Working Group agreed to use Google Groups as a collaboration tool. Also, it was agreed that the Future CLA Working Group would have a website/blog as a place to post documents and updates. WordPress will be used because it is free. There was some discussion of project management tools that could be used, such as BaseCamp and Trello. S. Singh noted that once a project coordinator is in place, perhaps the WG could look at PM tools further at that point.


  • That the Working Group would use Google Groups as a collaboration tool.
  • That the Future CLA Working Group would have a website/blog as a place to post documents and updates and that WordPress would be used as it is free.


  • Sandra Singh to set up Google Group for the WG
  • Sandra Singh to set up WordPress Blog for the WG.

There was no other business for discussion.



  • WG to send their preferred email addresses for communication and for display to Sandra Singh.
  • Sandra Singh will send out revised documents from WG with the new contact information to be shared.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. Pacific.

Updated Key Documents and Update

Updated Key Docs:
We’ve added two new documents to the Key Docs list today:

  • Terms of Reference for the Working Group; and
  • Draft Timeline for revised proposal development (Timeline TBC in early June)

The Working Group has met by conference call twice since early/mid-March to to discuss process (e.g., to create the TOR and draft Timeline noted above) for our work and to start considering potential details for the next, more detailed version of the federated CLA proposal.  We are planning to meet in person later in April to spend concentrated time together and hope to have ideas ready to share in mid-May.

About this site

On January 22, 2015, CLA Executive Council Published a concept paper entitled: Canadian Library Association: A Proposed New Vision for Our National Association.

The paper was intended to start a discussion regarding the future structure of CLA with the intent of finding a more strategic and sustainable way forward.

On January, 31, 2015, CLA Executive Council hosted a meeting with representatives from the multi-sector provincial associations and the national sector associations. Meeting notes are available here.

Check this website regularly for updates on the work and discussions regarding the development of a more refined proposal for a federated structure for the Canadian Library Association.