Letter from Our President

Dear CLA colleagues;
By now, you will have received the news that the CLA Executive Council’s motions related to dissolution of the Association passed at the Special Meeting on January 27, 2016.
Please forgive me the time it has taken me to write this letter to you. It took me a few days to work through the complex emotions that arose from the Special Meeting. For the past year, so many of us have been focused on creating a proposal for a federation that could succeed CLA as a united national voice for our library communities, that I hadn’t been prepared for the intense sadness I would feel when speaking to introduce the motion regarding dissolution at the Special Meeting. While I was gratified by the almost unanimous support for the motion, that appreciation did not lessen the grief that one experiences when saying good bye to something that has been a constant part of your life for so long. For me, it has been 20 years that I have been a CLA member. For others at the meeting, it was 36 years. 40 years. No matter the length, for many people CLA has played an important role as a national network and a platform for professional development and engagement.
As I did at the Special Meeting, I’d like to thank the Future Federation Working Group, CLA Executive Council, including those members who have sat on the Board since this process began in the summer of 2014. It has been a long journey, and the proposal is an important feat of collaboration, shared vision, and good will by all associations represented. For CLA Executive Council, we had to also come to a decision to recommend that CLA end with dignity as well as the intent of supporting the next stage in our communities’ evolution of our national voice for libraries. We thank the CLA membership for supporting the motion, as difficult and – at times heart wrenching – as it was. We chose a path forward that allows the new Federation to start with a truly clean slate.
So here we are looking forward to next steps.
The Future Federation Working Group has expressed a wish to incorporate the new Federation as soon as possible to get the new Federation going. I couldn’t be more delighted. This will take more than a handful of weeks, but, by early spring, you will likely start to see some communication from them.

As for CLA, we have a lot of work to do between now and June 1 – 3 when we all – hopefully – meet again at the last CLA national conference, this time called “Forum.” We need to determine – with the help of the Federation – what responsibilities of CLA fit within the scope of the Federation, which activities might better fit with another association or organization, and which activities will wrap with the final dissolution.
We know a few things right now:
  • We hope to see our Committees and Networks one last time in Ottawa – a whole morning will be put aside for your business meetings so you can conclude your operations as CLA entities and so that Executive Council can come by and thank you in person for your years of contribution to CLA. We will ask you to consider whether you will put your name forward through associations of which you are members for national level work with the new Federation.
  • We cannot start any new business. That means that we can only engage in activities that have already been underway, such as holding the conference and completing commitments such as the French translation of Leading Learning. In some cases, we may even pause those activities in order to transition them to their new home knowing that CLA should be winding down.
  • We will likely cease publishing Digest sometime in the coming weeks.
  • A number of questions arose at the Special Meeting related to IFLA, the CLA Archives, the CLA website content, etc. We will follow up on all of these items. Over the next few months, we will post updates on the CLA website regarding transition and dissolution. Please keep your eye on the home page for these updates and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email info@cla.ca. Your question will be directed to the appropriate person.
I’d like to conclude this brief letter by expressing my sincere appreciation for the staff at CLA. This is a time of great uncertainty for them. Their ongoing commitment to CLA and the graciousness and integrity with which they have offered staff support to these efforts have been inspiring. I cannot say enough about Executive Council’s respect for this extraordinary group of people.
Thank you all so much. Again, please keep your eye on the website for updates or email if you have specific questions.
Sincerely,
Sandra Singh
President
Canadian Library Association
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