I am sitting here in my office overlooking the scenic James River. It's a beautiful day, nice and sunny with temperatures in the upper 50's. All very wonderful but my thoughts are not on the scene outside my windows but on the many tasks we have set ourselves for 2002. It's a full agenda, but if you have been reading/seeing all the reports about Virginia's budget woes, it is even more imperative that we have a strong Virginia Library Association working for us in Richmond and Washington.
The designated agenda represents our vision for the year and the full agenda can be found on the Association's web page. What follows are a few highlights of what we hope to accomplish this year.
As always at this time of year, legislative activities are at the forefront. Library advocacy is a role in which we all need to be active. This year is no exception. The legislative committee plays the leadership role for the Association. They develop the agenda and, with the approval and support of the Executive Committee and Council, implement it. Their work entails contacts with our state and federal legislators, responding to legislative initiatives, and partnering with many organizations to accomplish the goals of the Association. Examples of partnerships include VPLDA, VEMA, and VEA. This year we hope to expand those partnerships to include the Virginia Municipal League and VACO. Broadening the base of our support should strengthen our abilities to accomplish our legislative goals. You can find the full legislative agenda on our website www.vla.org. Specific activities include the annual Virginia Library Legislative Day on January 24 and Federal Legislative Day on May 7. This year we again plan to sponsor a bus to Federal Legislative Day in Washington, DC and a luncheon, to which we would invite our federal legislators.
Related to our legislative activities is the need to develop a stable funding process for the legislative liaison. The finance and legislative committees will partner with VPLDA to develop this. The work of the legislative liaison is to monitor the legislative initiatives introduced by the General Assembly, assist in the development of legislative strategy, and act as the Association's watchdog in Richmond. Past activities have included work on UCITA, the fight for full funding of the state aid formula for public libraries, working with JLARC on the state aid report, tax exemption for Friends of Libraries groups, and acceptable Internet-use legislation. The services provided by the liaison have been instrumental in achieving our legislative goals.
The finance committee will have a full agenda, too. The work of the committee is to continue to strengthen the financial framework of the Association. Their work will focus on developing and implementing a planned giving program, reviewing the dues-structure report developed last year and making recommendations regarding it, developing a sponsorship plan to identify corporate donors, especially for scholarships and ongoing operating expenses.
Participation in Association conferences, workshops, events, and the work of the organization develops new leaders for our profession. The many programs presented by the forums, sections, regions, and committees offer many opportunities to our membership for leadership development. The work of the paraprofessional forum not only includes their excellent annual conference, but also includes their assistance in developing a speakers' bureau that can be accessed by all members. This speakers' bureau will have a double benefit for us. It will provide us with continuing education partners that will enable us to develop programs that help "grow" our staff, and it will also broaden the leadership opportunities available to our membership by offering them the opportunity to highlight their skills and knowledge by sharing them with others. The continuing education committee will partner in this effort to develop the speakers' bureau. p
As you can see, it takes a great many to accomplish the work of the Association, and what we have to remember is that it will not be accomplished without the full support and commitment of the membership-and that includes active participation by all our members. If you are interested in helping achieve our goals, please do not hesitate to participate we can always find a spot for you!