VANCOUVER— CUPE BC was very pleased to once again provide support to the 2015 B.C. Library Association Conference. This year’s conference theme was Creative Communities, focusing on the power of creativity in both the library and the world around us. The conference certainly lived up to its theme, from opening keynote Vancouver musician and performer Veda Hille, to the closing by Wade Compton, local poet and writer, with many engaging and informative sessions in between.
Following Veda Hille’s opening speech CUPE BC sponsored the President’s Reception, and CUPE BC President Mark Hancock brought greetings from Secretary-Treasurer Paul Faoro, General Vice-President and Chair of CUPE BC’s Library Committee Karen Ranalletta, and the 85,000 CUPE members in B.C. Hancock talked about the critical role that libraries play in our communities, our schools and on post-secondary campuses. Saying the strong libraries are essential to strong communities, Hancock committed to continue to pressure the provincial and federal governments to restore proper funding for all libraries.
New this year was a workshop by CUPE BC’s Library Committee whose chair Karen Ranalletta presented on the topic of working in and for libraries, with a focus on activism. The workshop outlined CUPE’s work at the local, provincial and national levels to raise awareness of the work performed by library workers and to achieve increased financial support for libraries and library services. As part of the presentation, Ranalletta presented resolutions passed at CUPE and BC Federation of Labour conventions to include library issues in the strategic direction of the labour movement. Channelling the creative focus of the conference, workshop participants engaged in a mock convention, with the opportunity to speak on the resolutions and talk about what happens once a resolution is passed on convention floor. A copy of the presentation is available here.
Ranalletta was joined by Denise Parks, Chair of the Surrey Library Workers sub-local (CUPE 402-02) who shared insights and experiences from CUPE’s 2014 National Sector Council Conference library sessions. Sarah Bjorknas, CUPE 23 Library Chair in Burnaby, also spoke about CUPE’s National Literacy Working Group and the connection to libraries and library workers’ expertise in this area.
Another new development this year saw BCLA waive traditional speaker and presenter gifts in place of donations to identified organizations. As a result, donations went to PIVOT http://pivotlegal.org/ and PovNet http://www.povnet.org/ in the name of CUPE BC and other conference presenters.
Pictures from the conference can be seen in the photo gallery.