You'll never really know how fast a year can go by until you've been elected president of an organization with only twelve short months to accomplish everything you've planned. I find myself at the halfway mark of the VLA year and can hardly believe it. Where has it gone? Can I yell stop? I'd like to enjoy it some more! So far, I can honestly say that it's a super year with lots of accomplishments either completed or underway to improve the organization and its service to you, the members, and to the broader library audience in Virginia. I want to share with you a mid-term snapshot of our work to date.Accomplishments to note :
- The awards and recognition process has been streamlined, featuring a new awards brochure with concise information about each of the several awards given by VLA and containing a tear-off mail-in form to request the nomination forms you desire (new forms too!). The process for administering the awards and recognition program has also been streamlined and should make the 2001 process easier and more understandable for all. A note here—please consider nominating someone or some organization for one of these awards. It is truly important to honor the folks who are excelling in Virginia libraries.
- The scholarship program has been streamlined to include a common due date and recognition of winners of VLA, VLA Paraprofessional Forum, and company-sponsored awards at each of our annual conferences. The program also features a new brochure outlining the scholarships, including qualifications, application procedures, and a mail-in request for application forms.
- An advertising plan for VLA publications has been completed by the Publications Committee. It has been referred to the Finance Committee for review and further decisions.
- Successful advocacy has achieved full funding for state aid to public libraries and increased funding for the Infopowering initiative. This event had a cast of thousands and the combined voices were heard loud and clear by our legislators.
- We have developed the 2001 legislative agenda and finalized the legislative liaison contract for 2001.
- The Conference Committee is planning a wonderful annual conference, Celebrate Virginia's Libraries , scheduled for October 19-20 in Norfolk. Sixty-six concurrent proposals were received and the selections are varied and designed to pique your interest, enhance your skills, and expand your horizons. Featured speakers include Virginia Secretary of Education Wilbert Bryant, Dr. Dale Henry, Jefferson Cup winner Katherine Paterson, and—best of all—William Styron, through a partnership with the Virginia Center for the Book. Mark your calendars now for this not-to-be-missed event!
- The Membership Committee is working on a mentoring plan to strengthen our services to new VLA members. They are also working on a list of "VLA Friendly Libraries."
- The Finance Committee is developing a sustained giving program as well as a sponsorship program in order to help the organization grow financially now that we have stabilized our finances.
- The Continuing Education Committee is identifying partners and venues for continuing education.
- The Administration and Management Forum and the Paraprofessional Forum are developing recommendations for entry-level salaries for Virginia.
- The Publications Committee is establishing a VLA photo archive.
If that isn't enough, VLA has appointed Ruth Kifer to be our representative on the UCITA Study Group formed by JCOTS, Caroline Parr has been appointed to represent VLA on the Read Aloud Virginia Board, and VLA is beginning to take an active role in providing information to JLARC for its State Aid study. Given that the year is speeding by, I think VLA Council members have done an absolutely wonderful job in accomplishing all this work. While we celebrate Virginia's libraries, let's also celebrate the dedicated and innovative work of our colleagues in VLA!