Burns Lake Public Library in need of help


Relations between the Burns Lake Public Library’s board of trustees and its employees have deteriorated to the point where two of the library’s three remaining senior staff members have resigned, and the third has found the situation so untenable that she has taken stress leave.

I served several terms as a library trustee here. It was an easy gig; the library basically ran itself. Monthly board meetings generally lasted less than an hour, and there were no human resource issues. The board had a great relationship with the library director and staff members, and everyone worked as a team.

The Burns Lake Public Library has been a successful organization for more than 50 years. It has enjoyed a stable workforce, and as recently as a year ago, its board of directors and staff members worked well together. The Burns Lake Public Library won an award for its community service, and one of the resigning employees was recognized for her excellent customer service. The library was a happy place to work (and play), and staff members did not indicate any desire to seek alternative employment.

Clearly, something has changed at the Burns Lake Public Library, and not for the better.

As a strong supporter of the library, I am concerned that without the services of experienced staff members, the institution will be unable to meet its mandate or provide the level of service members of the public have come to expect – at least in the short-term. Neither the board chair nor the vice-chair has been able to assure me they have a plan in place to deal with this crisis.

I call upon the association’s board of trustees to immediately convene a special meeting of the members to address these concerns. It’s too late to rectify past mistakes, but it’s imperative that we avoid making any more.


Michael Riis-Christianson