Board of Directors – Biographies
David Christensen is Library Program and Policy Analyst, Public Library Services Branch, Sport, Culture and Heritage (Manitoba), where he has been helping public libraries understand the technology that was coming into their libraries and how to use it to meet the needs of their public. His role has been evolving as library staff and administration have become more comfortable with technology; he now spends much of his time working on co-operation and collaboration between libraries. David was instrumental in the development and growth of the Manitoba Spruce Libraries Co-operative and in building the strong, mutually beneficial relationship between BCLC and Spruce. He has served as chair of the Sitka Business Function Group and as a Co-op representative on the Evergreen Community Development Initiative.
Cari Lynn Gawletz has been the Library Director at the Grand Forks and District Public Library since 2015. She has previously worked at public libraries in Grande Prairie, Alberta and and Cranbrook, BC, had served as chair of the Library Directors Advisory Group for the Kootenay Library Federation from 2018-2021, and was on the board of the Grand Forks Art Gallery (Gallery 2) from 2016-2020. Cari is passionate about improving library services in rural areas, where libraries have high expectations and little funding. She sees the BC Libraries Co-op as one of the best providers to help raise the capacity of all libraries in the province as we look towards an uncertain future.
Beth Davies is Chief Librarian of Burnaby Public Library. Previous to taking on this role in October 2016, she was in leadership roles at Vancouver Public Library, including Neighbourhood Services Manager and Head of the Carnegie Branch. She has worked in public libraries since 1999. Beth has been a Board member of PovNet, an online resource for the anti-poverty community, since 2009, serving as Board Chair since 2011. She is passionate about the critical role that public libraries play in connecting with communities, in making our library spaces accessible to all community members, and in meaningfully engaging with communities outside our walls to provide relevant and responsive service.
Deb Hutchson Koep is the Chief Librarian at North Vancouver City Library. She has worked in leadership roles at West Vancouver Memorial Library, including seven years as deputy director with a portfolio that included finance, technology and communications. Deb enjoys problem-solving, project work, and process analysis and improvement. Working with committed, motivated, curious people keeps her on her toes. She believes in leading through others, and is passionate about working in service to the community. Deb welcomes this opportunity to contribute her skills and learning, challenge her thinking and expand her knowledge.
Shirley Lew is Dean, Learning Services at Vancouver Community College. She has a background in library technology and has taught library systems and automation at the iSchool at UBC. She has served on several Boards, most recently as President of BC Libraries Association, Secretary for Vancouver Writers Festival, and past-President of BC Book Prizes. Shirley is interested in the potential of technology to improve the quality of lives and communities, while also critically considering the ethical, political, and economic factors that drive and shape the digital landscape. Shirley is currently a doctoral student at UBC where her dissertation research will focus on cooperatives in the information sector.
Kevin Stranack has over thirty years of experience working in public and academic libraries, including more than 15 years with the Public Knowledge Project at Simon Fraser University, where he leads a team of researchers, software developers, community managers, and support experts in developing and supporting free, open source software for open access scholarly publishing, used by over 24,000 journals around the world, in more than 40 languages. He has a passion for cooperativism and the DIY ethos that plays a critical role in creating sustainable, effective, empowering alternatives to the narrow oligopolies of corporate technical service providers.
Anna Babluck is the Director of the Northwest Library Federation. Her previous positions include Director of the Mackenzie Public Library and the Redwater Public Library (AB), and Library Coordinator (volunteer) at Qmunity: Vancouver’s Queer Resource Centre. She values building community and nurturing relationships and has been active in governance roles including Treasurer for the Mackenzie Community Market Society, Co-President of the Mackenzie Rotary Club, and member of the Mackenzie Accessibility Advisory Committee. Anna is passionate about breaking down barriers to provide truly accessible and equitable service for diverse populations across the province, particularly in rural and remote locations. Her history with the BC Libraries Cooperative includes participation in the Provincial Connectivity and Digital Resources Working Groups.
Mari Martin (MLIS) is the Director, Public Libraries Branch within the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Since 2015, she has been responsible for administering the Library Act for public libraries and implementing provincial strategic priorities. She is dedicated to helping public libraries and government work together to better meet the needs of B.C.’s diverse communities.