Saturday, March 13, 2010

Canadian Library Association - State of the Association, February 2010

Message from the CLA Executive Council to all CLA members

We would like to share with you preliminary details of some exciting changes that are going to take place at the Canadian Library Association. We met on 27-28 February for a facilitated session on strategic budgeting. CLA is in a situation where our revenues are not sufficient to provide all of the activities and services which our members expect and deserve. We have determined that structural changes must be made to the association in order to allow us to re-direct our financial and human resources so that CLA can fulfill its mandate more effectively.

This message outlines the points of discussion arising from our meeting, as well as the texts of the motions that were passed. President John Teskey has been charged with forming a Task Force to develop proposals for members to consider for adoption at the upcoming Annual General Meeting at the CLA Conference in Edmonton in June.

Everyone associated with CLA will be aware that the association has been in a tenuous financial position for years. The following chart is a very graphic representation of our budget situation over the past decade. We have projected deficit budgets in each of the past 10 years. While we have always managed to finish each year with a better than predicted outcome, we only were able to realize actual profits in four of those years, most recently in 2006.

During our facilitated session, we engaged in a very positive discussion, and considered a variety of options for the structural changes required to address the chronic deficit budgets. We worked from the premise that the association’s finances should be spent on serving its members, specifically, on investing in the priorities and programs that fulfill the CLA mission to “build the Canadian library and information community and advance its information professionals.” It was agreed that, for this year and forward, we must create a budget that both serves the best interests of the members and indicates that CLA is re-defining itself.

It was further agreed that the main focus of CLA's activities should be to advocate for issues of cross-sectoral interest and national importance. In order to achieve this goal, we recognized that both the organizational structure and the budget need to be realigned to support the mission; maintaining the status quo is not an option. We need to build on our existing strengths, and concentrate our human and financial resources on those areas which CLA, as a national broad-based association, is uniquely positioned to advance.

At the meeting, Executive Council passed two motions:

Whereas the current organizational structure of the Canadian Library Association is no longer financially viable, and

Whereas, Executive Council of the Canadian Library Association is responsible for the financial viability of the association, and

Whereas, national issues faced by the Canadian library community are of critical importance,

Therefore be it resolved that Executive Council commit itself to recreate CLA as an organization that can more effectively advance national issues critical to the Canadian library community, and

That President John Teskey form and chair a task force charged with developing a proposed structure responsive to the association’s financial and strategic challenges, and

That the task force present its findings and recommendations to the 2010 CLA AGM.

Moved by Ken Roberts; Seconded by André Gagnon; passed unanimously.

To defer elections for CLA Executive positions and Division Executive positions until a decision is taken regarding the organization’s structure.

Moved by André Gagnon; Seconded by Pam Ryan; passed unanimously.

We are now taking steps on the actions stated in these motions. President Teskey is forming a Task Force; details of its composition will be made available as soon as all participants have confirmed. The elections for CLA Executive and Division Executive positions have been put on hold pending the presentation from the Task Force at the CLA AGM on 5 June.

Please note that CLA activities, including those of Divisions, Interest Groups, Committees, and other units, will be "business as usual" in as much as possible until June 30, 2010. The 2010 CLA National Conference in Edmonton will continue as planned, with a very strong professional program and some new innovations in the schedule of events.

We appreciate that members will have questions about the implications of these decisions; and we will address these as best we can. We ask for your patience while President Teskey's Task Force completes its work on a new budget and organizational structure, and thank you in advance for your support.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact any member of Executive Council. Further information will be posted to the CLA website in the coming weeks, so please keep checking the site for updates.

We look forward to your continued engagement in CLA, and in the process of developing these changes. We are very excited about the possibilities for a new direction.

We hope you will attend the AGM in Edmonton to vote on the future of your Canadian Library Association.

CLA Executive Council
John Teskey, President ~ jteskey @
Keith Walker, Vice-President ~ kwalker @
Ken Roberts, Past President ~ kroberts @
Ingrid Langhammer, Treasurer ~ ingridlanghammer @
Linda Shantz-Keresztes, CASL President ~ ljshantzkere @
Pam Ryan, CACUL President ~ pam.ryan @
André Gagnon, CAPL President ~ andre @
Robyn Stockand, CASLIS President ~ robyn.stockand @
Jan Harder, CLTA President ~ jan.harder @
Victoria Owen, Councillor-at-Large ~ owen @
Cheryl Stenström, Councillor-at-Large ~ cheryl.stenstron @
Catherine Steeves, Councillor-at-Large ~ csteeves @

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