Once a year, we in the information business across Virginia gather to share our stories. When we meet in Williamsburg, October 27-28, we again will be reminded what an exciting, dynamic time it is to be in the library world.

Our 2004 VLA Conference, "Defining Moments," is an opportunity to experience an array of workshops, panel discussions, and keynote addresses by peers and experts. As I've mentioned before in this column, I am interested in defining moments. We experience them as individuals, but libraries experience such moments each day. Libraries as we know them are changing. Technology, scarce funding, and new demographics have all altered the way we do business.

This year we've designed a conference that fosters conversation about what libraries are and what they want to be. We will begin with our Graphic Novels pre-conference on October 27 that features Michele Gorman. The regular conference opens with FUNdamentals of Humor, presented by Ron Culberson, a consultant who specializes in balancing serious issues with a light touch. It closes with Dr. Carla Hayden, past president of ALA and recently named one of ten Ms. Women of the Year honorees. Throughout each day, however, we will have additional speakers, including Nancy Tessman, Director of the Salt Lake City Library, on the "Unquiet Library" and Seattle's irrepressible Nancy Pearl, the model for the Librarian action figure as well as the force behind the One

…let's meet and greet
old friends and enjoy
ourselves, but also talk
about our defining

Community/One Book initiative. Don't miss our "Nancy Pearl LookAlike Contest" at the Thursday evening wine-tasting event hosted by the Williamsburg Winery.

"VLA Conference 2004, Defining Moments" also continues a tradition of creative programs developed by VLA members to share ideas and encourage dialogue among us all. Thanks to the fine efforts of Conference Chair Fran Millhouser and her planning committee, there is definitely something for everyone whether you work in an academic, public, or special library. You can choose among numerous subject tracks, ranging from Academic and Facilities to Marketing, Staff Development, and Youth Services. Workshop titles include "Wireless Crazy?" and "Aged to Perfection — The Secrets of Marketing Library Services to Seniors" to "Ah Ha! Moments for Library Trustees," "When Did You Realize Your E-Mail Was Not Private?" and more than 60 other topics.

As we gather at the Williamsburg Marriott in October, let's meet and greet old friends and enjoy ourselves, but also talk about our defining moments. Let's share the stories of how we impact our customers' lives. Let's talk about our challenges, such as the mass exodus of our Baby Boomer staff. Let's talk about balancing private funding with ethical issues. Let's explore our virtual services and how they coexist with brick and mortar. Then, let's return home and act!

For registration and accommodation information about the 2004 VLA Conference, "Defining Moments," visit our website at www.vla.org . VL