Cochairs Mary Fran Bell-Johnson (below) and Marcia Cramer opened the conference with words of welcome.
Marcia Cramer

VLA President Ruth Arnold welcomed conference attendees on behalf of the association.
Mary Fran Bell-Johnson

Ruth Arnold

"Bridging the Information Gap: Preserving Yesterday’s Lessons, Anticipating Tomorrow’s Demands” was the theme of the 2006 Virginia Library Association Paraprofessional Forum Conference held May 21–23 at the Holiday Inn Select/Koger South Conference Center in Chesterfield County. Mary Fran Bell-Johnson of Longwood University and Marcia Cramer of Pamunkey Regional Library in Mechanicsville cochaired the conference that hosted 391 library personnel from across Virginia and neighboring states. It was a successful event that featured storyteller Donald Davis and Listen to Life’s Joey Faucette as keynote speakers. This year’s offerings included forty educational sessions on a variety of topics, presenting attendees with many continuing education opportunities.

Lydia C. Williams , Janet D. Greenwood Library, Longwood University

Sunday’s Author Banquet

Donald Davis may be billed as a storyteller from North Carolina, but those fortunate enough to attend the Sunday author banquet would tell you that he is a magic tour guide. Davis took the audience on a trip back in time and space. He began by telling the audience about his hometown and the “first place of true magic” he encountered as a youngster — the Haywood North Carolina Public Library. The library was in an old bank building, and Davis impressed upon us that the children’s department in the library was located in the old vault. As a child he felt that because the children’s department was in the vault, it was the most valuable part of the library. After all, weren’t all the valuable things in the bank held in the vault? B“

Incoming cochairs Marie Carter and Carole Lohman facilitated Tuesday’s closing session.

From the public library, we traveled with Davis to his fifth-grade classroom, where we were introduced to Miss Daisy Boyd, an “antique” teacher in her forty-second year of teaching who could strike terror in the hearts of her new students. There we joined the class on an extraordinary, imaginary trip around the world, led by Miss Daisy. It was a school year the likes of which none of us have probably experienced. No textbooks, just an amazing adventure that taught Miss Daisy’s students more than they could ever imagine. Thanks to the magic of Davis’s gift, we traveled with those students, and like those children in the past, we were sad when our time with Miss Daisy Boyd ended; but we were so glad to be fortunate enough to have that time with her. We could have listened all night, but had to settle for expressing our thanks for the trip with a standing ovation.

Carole Lohman , Education Library, University of Virginia

Monday’s Opening Session

Cochairs Mary Fran Bell-Johnson and Marcia Cramer welcomed everyone with thanks, noting the distance that some had traveled to be part of the conference. Along with VLA President Ruth Arnold, they commended the group on the strong support of the VLAPF, including the funding of the VLAPF scholarship. Particularly mentioned were those who donated time and skills in creating the “Reaching for the Stars” quilt in memory of Clara Stanley. Bell- Johnson and Cramer went on to encourage everyone to consider VLA membership or renewal and support of the VLA Foundation, explaining the support for advocacy work and continuing education that each provides. Arnold reminded everyone to save the date (Nov. 9–10) for VLA’s 2006 Annual Conference, “Read, Think, Speak: The Power of Libraries.”

Julie Short of Lonesome Pine Regional Library was recognized as this year’s recipient of the Clara Stanley VLAPF Scholarship and as the Outstanding Paraprofessional of the Year.

Bell-Johnson then explained the new VLAPF initiative to contribute to the community. To this end, the 2006 conference included a food drive to support the Central Virginia Food Bank (CVFB). Bell- Johnson introduced Fay Lohr, chief executive officer of CVFB. Lohr extended her sincere gratitude for the support by VLAPF. She explained that the network of more than 500 partner agencies serves 31 counties and 6 cities in the Central Virginia region. Serving as many as 4,000 daily meals — approximately 50 percent of which are to children — CVFB strives to meet the mission “…that none shall go hungry.” Lohr encouraged the group to participate in making a difference in their communities, and, with thanks, invited everyone to the CVFB warehouse office in Richmond for a tour of the facility.

Next, Bell-Johnson introduced Donald Davis, keynote speaker and masterful storyteller. After thanking VLAPF for its hospitality and easily connecting with his audience, Davis shared two stories. With topics of childhood mischief, he made clear his theme of sharing our stories to connect with each other. His childhood tribulations with dinner vegetables and reminiscences of his first solo trip to the corner store had the audience laughing, smiling, connecting, and sharing. Davis encouraged the fostering of this connection and the success of patron service therewith.

Alex Reczkowski , Eggleston Library, Hampden-Sydney College

Author, teacher, and storyteller Donald Davis spoke at the Sunday evening banquet and at Monday’s opening session.

Mary Fran Bell-Johnson presented Donald Davis with a gift from the forum.

Tuesday’s Closing Session

Tuesday’s closing session included a speaker luncheon, awards, and the drawing for the scholarship raffle. Incoming cochairs Marie Carter and Carole Lohman opened the session with words of welcome on behalf of the forum. During this session, recipients of special awards were recognized. Julie Short, who is employed at Lonesome Pine Regional Library in Wise County, was recognized as this year’s recipient of the Clara Stanley VLAPF Scholarship sponsored by the VLA Paraprofessional Forum Board. This year was the first time the same individual received two awards. Julie Short was also recognized as the recipient of the Outstanding Paraprofessional Award for 2006.

Charles Edwin Engle of the J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library in St. Paul, Virginia, was the recipient of the VLA Paraprofessional Award for 2006, and this award gave Engles the opportunity to attend the conference because it waived his conference registration fee.

Lydia C. Williams , Janet D. Greenwood Library, Longwood University

Tuesday’s Keynote Address

Joey Faucette, LIFE Motivational Speaker and LIFE Seminar Leader, was the keynote speaker for this event. After a few tales of the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Social, Faucette began his presentation to help the audience “move from stress to success.” First, he instructed the audience to stand and stretch up, taking deep breaths. Then he had everyone take note of the newly relaxed state, and encouraged everyone to remember to repeat this technique for stressful moments throughout the day. “Relax” was his first key. The second key was “remind yourself you’re not in control.” Faucette related a story about a flower that bloomed long past the first frost, highlighting key number three: “resolve to persevere.” The inspired audience was invited to join Faucette’s LIFE Coach podcast, and joined him in discussion and book-signing afterward.

Alex Reczkowski , Eggleston Library, Hampden- Sydney College

People were compelled to stop and look at the variety of raffle prizes spread out over several tables.

This year’s raffle featured a beautiful quilt made by women from Virginia Tech in memory of their friend and coworker Clara Stanley.

Below, E. A. Mayo, Marion Eaton, Mona Farrow, and Carole Ray sold raffle tickets.

Scholarship Raffle

The scholarship raffle was an exciting conclusion to the conference. The members of the VLAPF Executive Board generously donated some unique and attractive baskets for the scholarship raffle. Once again, the Moss Society generously donated a print for the raffle, and Chris Mason of Christopher’s Fine Art and Framing in Farmville provided his time and talent to frame the print. Special this year was the inclusion of a memorial “Reaching for the Stars” quilt handmade by thirteen women associated with the University Libraries of Virginia Tech. The official VLAPF yellow and blue dominated the color scheme, and the two star patterns — the Lemoyne star and the Martha Washington star — were Clara Stanley’s favorites. This year’s raffle was a great success, earning $2,200 for the Clara Stanley Scholarship Fund.

Alex Reczkowski , Eggleston Library, Hampden-Sydney College

Listen to Life ’s Dr. Joey Faucette presented the keynote address during Tuesday’s closing session and got his audience up and moving. Later, he took time to sign books.

Highlights of the Conference Sessions

Building Staff Morale through Fun and Games (and Physical Intimidation)
Dan Connole, Arlington County
Department of Libraries

Although Dan Connole acknowledges that “staff morale is really based on compensation, safety, and a sense of purpose and community,” he sure does a great job finding other ways to make the workday just a bit more fun! Some of the staff-building exercises he described are familiar ones such as “Hawaiian Shirt Day,” when all staff members are invited to wear their Hawaiian shirts to work. However, the majority of events he talked about are behind the scenes. During a major closet clean-out, someone happened upon a box filled with pictures of fish that were intended for a children’s program. Rather than recycling them, they had a staff coloring contest, and the results were displayed around the staff room, which brightened things up for a couple of weeks. He also described an evening event that he had advertised ahead of time offering “free alcohol” to any staff member who volunteered to show up. Of course, he didn’t explain that the “free alcohol” was rubbing alcohol, or that they would be using it to clean books! But pizza and drinks were offered to all; and not only did they get many books cleaned, they had fun doing it.

This excellent presentation featured lots of great information complemented by an interesting PowerPoint presentation. Connole showed us the Arlington County Library intranet page that’s used regularly to share jokes, announce contests, and generally brighten staff members’ moods. He offered many more examples of exercises and events, some that went well and some that didn’t, and had the group laughing through the entire presentation. He was back by popular demand this year — and those who attended this session could certainly understand why!

Willow Gale , Jefferson Madison Regional Library

Kathy Carter and Pat Muller presented a session sponsored by the Youth Services Forum.

Below, Author/Educator Rennie Quible discussed her experiences as a volunteer at the National Archives.

Why Should I Buy This Book?
Pat Muller, Library of Virginia, and Kathy Carter, Roanoke City Library

When we entered the room for this session, the first thing we noticed was the great display of books on the table at the front of the room. Some were children’s books that we used later in breakout sessions to practice with the evaluation checklist Pat Muller distributed. Others were resource materials that could be used while building a collection. Kathy Carter also supplied a list of websites that can be used in the same way. The presenters provided extensive handouts with criteria for evaluating children’s and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and picture books. Pat Muller also addressed the issue of censorship and how to handle a book challenge. The importance of creating multicultural collections was discussed, and a list of the “50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know” was included in the handouts. This was a very informative session.

Willow Gale , Jefferson Madison Regional Library

Avoiding a Painful Desk Job… and Other Library Mishaps
Karen Allen, Office of Environmental Health and Safety, University of Virginia

Karen Allen, ergonomics coordinator, delivered a thought-provoking presentation. She began the session with an icebreaker by asking, “How do you put a giraffe in the refrigerator?” The next question was, “How do you put an elephant in the refrigerator?” She then told us that statistics show forty-four percent of our waking time is spent at work, and that we sleep twenty-eight percent of the time. So, for a large part of the day, our bodies are sitting in uncomfortable positions and doing repetitive tasks while not being in proper alignment. Karen asked us to think about how we take care of ourselves. The complaints heard most often are about the back, neck, and eyes. The body sends out signals when things are not going right. Having the right equipment is not necessarily the answer to our problems — but knowing how to use the equipment we do have is the key. Learning how to make the equipment work for and with us is the solution to avoiding the pain that often accompanies a desk job.

Marie Carter , Alderman Library, University of Virginia

Warren Graham shared information to help us create a safe and secure workplace.

Below, Sam Clay shared ways employees can market themselves.

Programming at the Pamunkey Regional Library
Patty Franz and Linda Gosnell, Pamunkey Regional Library

This stimulating afternoon session, which highlighted successful programming ideas used by the staff of the Pamunkey Regional Library, drew a large crowd. Supplementing the Pamunkey representatives’ insightful presentation (which focused on poetry contests, adult summer reading programs, Dr. Seuss programming, teen game nights, and the best books program) were beneficial handouts including a standardized form to help streamline program planning efforts, an in-depth bibliography of programming resources, and lots of great samples of bookmarks, flyers, and brochures that have been used successfully to advertise programs. Those present could certainly not have come away from this fine session without a solid list of valuable programming ideas for their own libraries.

Kim Blaylock , Washington County Public Library

OCLC Connexion Hot Topics: What’s New and Improved
SOLINET representatives Elisha Strong and Jim Washburn

During this well-attended session, representatives from SOLINET offered up informative coverage of the latest services available on OCLC Connexion. They described upcoming billing changes as well as the bountiful selection of additional complimentary services. Attendees were encouraged to contact the SOLINET support desk for help, and had their immediate questions courteously answered by the knowledgeable representatives. Cute desk supply freebies and chocolate candy helped to conclude this presentation on a high note.

Kim Blaylock , Washington County Public Library

Tom Camden, director of special collections at the Library of Virginia, discussed issues related to working with special collections.

Below, Audrey Johnson, rare book librarian at the Library of Virginia, was copresenter of the session The Daily Challenges of Special Collections Librarianship

The Jamestown Adventure: Surviving in Early Virginia
Ed Southern, author

Did you know that Indians attacked the colonists when they first landed? Did you know that the “seasoning” (climate) caused a large number of the colonists to die? Did you know that there was drought in Virginia between 1607 and 1610, causing many colonists to starve because the Indians did not want to trade their corn, and that the years from 1609 to 1610 were known as the “starving time?” These are just a few of the interesting facts found in The Jamestown Adventure: Surviving in Early Virginia , edited by Ed Southern. Southern shared these facts and also informed the group that instead of building sturdy houses or planting crops, many of the colonists began their lives in the new world by searching for gold or looking for get-rich-quick schemes. Another interesting fact he shared was that John Smith wrote three different versions of his rescue by Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas. In the first two accounts, there was no mention of a romance between John Smith and Pocahontas. The romance story did not appear until Smith’s third version. Southern told the group of Pocahontas being kidnapped, and that her ransom payment was corn. Her father, Chief Powhatan, refused to pay the ransom, and so Pocahontas remained with the colonists and was baptized, educated, and given the name of Rebecca. Southern also told us that there were two documentations of cannibalism in the Jamestown colony.

The Virginia Company appointed John Smith as one of the council members to lead the colony. He was the most active member of the colony, and if he had not made the effort to seek out and trade with the Indians, there would have been no survivors. This is a very good book for those interested in what the colonists at Jamestown experienced, and it would appeal to all who love history, whether young or old. With all the excitement surrounding the upcoming celebration of Jamestown’s 400th anniversary, it’s the perfect time to read this book in order to learn more about the colony and its survivors.

Mona Farrow , Perry Library, Old Dominion University

Fire, Water, or Worse: Developing a Disaster Preparedness Plan

Holly Robertson, University of Virginia

Here is something to think about: in 1977, there were over one hundred tremors recorded in Virginia, and only sixteen percent of these tremors were actually felt. During her presentation, Holly Robertson informed the group that every library in Virginia should be on the alert and prepared for any type of disaster. Recent events should cause us to consider whether or not we are prepared. Natural disasters, an act of terrorism, a hurricane, a tsunami, an earthquake, a flood, or a destructive crime are just a few of the reasons why all libraries should develop a disaster response plan. During this session, Robertson allowed attendees an opportunity to view firsthand some of the damage done to libraries due to the wind and water damage resulting from Hurricane Katrina. The images she shared highlighted the fact that every library should have a disaster response plan in place and be ready for action.

The presenter informed the group of some very good resources one should always have on hand in case of a disaster. Robertson stressed that having a disaster response plan would allow the library staff to promote safety, to function and provide some type of service, to reduce or minimize damage, and to decrease the amount of time in determining what should be done. The elements of a good disaster plan are prevention, planning, response, and recovery. Therefore, a library should have a quick instruction/ emergency/information sheet; a call chain list; a floor plan showing all fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and water shutoff valves; and a staff that has been trained to handle disasters at all levels.

Mona Farrow , Perry Library, Old Dominion University

Ed Southern, editor of the book The Jamestown Adventure: Surviving in Early America , reads a passage from his book to an attentive crowd.

Hi-Tech Access for Patrons with Disabilities
Kristine Neuber, George Mason University

Kristine Neuber, assistive technology and web accessibility coordinator for George Mason University, has returned to the VLA Paraprofessional Forum as requested by attendees who have heard her sessions in past years. As in the past, she shared her wealth of experience, provided helpful information, brought equipment for hands-on demonstrations, and helped us to develop a new understanding of how to assist patrons with disabilities. Neuber demonstrated technology that can be used to assist patrons with library services and materials. Her presentation covered helping those with visual impairments, physical disabilities, hearing impairments, and learning disabilities. Everyone received handouts for future reference. The equipment she brought with her was passed around the room for all to see and touch. She talked about the importance of having adequate equipment and shared information about the maintenance of this equipment. Neuber also pointed out some helpful Internet resources. Did you know that a “guide horse” can be used as a seeing guide for blind patrons? Yes, it’s true. Go to and read about it. The group was amazed by all the information Neuber shared, and they asked many questions during her presentation. Neuber seemed to enjoy sharing her wealth of knowledge and expertise with everyone.

Cynthia Bentley , Johnson Center Library, George Mason University

A Recent Translation of ILLIAD
Tammy Hines, Longwood University

Tammy Hines, reader services librarian at Longwood University, presented this informative session that covered all that is involved in getting a new interlibrary loan system up and running. Acquiring a new ILL system is a process that takes some research regarding the system you wish to purchase and the documentation of statistics related to one’s current system. In Hines’s case, her presentation and documentation led, in relatively short order, to the purchase of a new system, ILLIAD. She shared information about the setup, templates, training, testing, and troubleshooting that had to be done to make ILLIAD a functioning interlibrary loan system. The attendees were shocked at the amount of work involved in changing systems and the obstacles encountered during this transition. Hines’s question and answer period covered concerns that spanned the process from conversion to tracking daily technical problems. Hines is very much on top of ILL issues and concerns, and is excited that Longwood can now handle the growing traffic for ILL services with this new system.

Cynthia Bentley , Johnson Center Library, George Mason University

Bill Fiege

Bill Fiege shared ways to bring humor into the workplace.

Stacks Maintenance at Virginia Tech
Christopher Peters, Virginia Tech

On this clear, sunny, warm afternoon, Peters shared an innovative process for planning new stacks in the Newman Library at Virginia Tech. Peters is stacks manager there, but he works with a full-time staff and many students that help make it all happen. He discussed the practical aspects of book maintenance in libraries and explained the importance of accuracy, appearance, regular stack pickups, and adding new stacks to expand shelving. Each aspect was a project in itself. Peters uses an accuracy checking system to maintain accuracy in the stacks. Time is an important factor in maintaining the appearance of the stacks. He stressed the importance of purchasing equipment that is of a good quality and will hold up over a long period of time. He suggested purchasing sturdy and strong bookends and book trucks that can hold the books securely. He emphasized having pickups done regularly in order to cut down on lost, missing, and incorrectly shelved materials. Evaluating the current conditions of the stacks should lead to shifting that maintains at least eighty percent load capacity per shelf. Inventories should be used to effectively survey the stacks. When additional stacks are needed, purchasing and assembling them has to be a very well-planned project. In spite of the fear factor, Peters spearheaded this huge project, and it was successful. The group was amazed at how he made it all happen.

Cynthia Bentley , Johnson Center Library, George Mason University

Don’t Be Afraid To Weed!
Kathy Carter, Roanoke City Library, and Pat Muller, Library of Virginia

Carter and Muller discussed the importance of weeding library collections, stressing the need for systematic, ongoing efforts to maintain library selections that are relevant to library patrons and to dutifully ensure that only accurate, current information is available. The facilitators identified barriers that halt weeding initiatives, reasons that weeding is so important, those who should be responsible for weeding tasks, processes, and overcoming public objections to “trashing knowledge and public funds.” Significant time was spent discussing the importance of policy documents that inform weeding personnel, especially in circumstances of multiple-location library systems, in order to ensure effective complementary efforts across entire collections. Successful weeding helps not only to ease space restrictions by removing materials little used, but also to provide strong, effective collections that facilitate patron access.

Chris Dixon , George Mason University

Former paraprofessionals Ophelia Payne, Carole Lohman, Tammy Hines, Ginger Peterman, and Susie Pitts discuss their careers since earning their MLS degrees.

Right, Ruth Turner and Ona Turner Dowdy enjoy some time away from the registration and sales tables.

What’s Up with Government Documents?
Renée Bosman, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Mary Clark, Library of Virginia

This session provided participants the “latest and greatest” of the government information resources. The Government Printing Office represents the largest publisher in the world, providing access to the collective resources of the United States government. The information produced by the GPO can provide broad demographic data and trends or highly specialized information from agency reports. Did you know teachers can access lesson plans and other resources on the Department of Education website? Did you ever look at the travel tips and warnings from the Department of State before going overseas? With a system so large and with multiple access points, patrons often have little idea what information exists, let alone where it resides. The presenters spent considerable time explaining the GPO’s move, which continues to this day, to electronic format largely accessed via agency websites. Other developments we could see down the road include a catalog of government publications, future digital systems, and digitization of paper collections. The session concluded with an update on what the Library of Virginia, as the state depository library, is managing in regard to state information.

Chris Dixon , George Mason University

Marie Carter presents photographer Pierre Courtois with a certificate of thanks from the forum.

The Imperfect Image: Caring for Historic Photographs
Dale Neighbors, Library of Virginia

This interactive session described the historic evolution of photographs. By tracing the methods of photo publishing, participants learned not only how to correctly identify the type of photographs they might have, but also how to care for them based upon how they were produced. Neighbors stressed that there is no cure-all for photographs, and to be extremely careful. Dale introduced popular photographic methods — including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, glass plate negatives, and film negatives, among others — giving examples along the way. With each example, participants were shown the deterioration that had occurred and learned about the likely causes. Some of the most interesting examples were those photographs damaged by misguided conservation efforts. The session concluded with a question and answer session in which Neighbors offered free advice to participants on their unique circumstances.

Chris Dixon , George Mason University

The Daily Challenges of Special Collections Librarianship
Tom Camden and Audrey Johnson, Library of Virginia

This session described special collections librarianship specifically within the context of the Library of Virginia and the experience of the presenters. They had plenty of credibility — the Library of Virginia Special Collections holds over 1.5 million volumes and 97 million documents, and is essentially a “library within a library.” Topics included the rare book collection, picture collection, effects of temperature and relative humidity on collections, and patron use and handling of collections. The presenters gave participants a glimpse of the daily life in special collections, listing tasks of staff as well as the usual duties of Tom Camden, who is in charge of special collections. Security concerns at the Library of Virginia, with its proximity to the capitol, figured prominently in the discussion. Participants who attended the session to explore special collections as a career direction were given a basic overview of the field. They were also given many examples of how exciting the field can be, as evidenced by Tom’s overwhelming enthusiasm for what he does.

Chris Dixon , George Mason University

Google — Its Impact on the Library
Sharon Albert and Benjamin Norris, Radford University

The Google session gave a crash course on the popular search engine, including how it’s designed (as far as publicly known), how to make sense of the web interface, and Google’s component parts. Norris explained the algorithmic style Google uses to pull results from a user’s search quickly. He also explained that while the results are instantaneous, they are often not completely relevant, are mixed with paid advertisements, and may not rank the results appropriately for users. He went on to explain the parts of the Google Grid including Google Earth and Google Scholar. Participant questions mainly focused on the best ways to get at information through Google and suggested alternatives to the search engine.

Chris Dixon , George Mason University

Basic First Aid for Libraries
Nancy Bell, retired from Longwood University

Nancy Bell and her two helpers, Weston Hall and Dennis Stroll, gave an interesting and helpful presentation on basic first aid — good not only for libraries, but for everyone. She stressed the importance of assembling a first aid kit for the workplace and keeping it stocked with the necessities, of keeping an up-to-date list of persons qualified to administer first aid and/or CPR, and of instructing personnel on how to react in case of an emergency. There was also audience participation in a demonstration of two methods of helping a person who is choking and unable to breathe.

Jean Quibble , retired from Virginia Tech University Libraries

Tracey Bowry of Norfolk won the framed P. Buckley Moss print.

Volunteering at the National Archives and Footprints across America
Rennie Quible, author/educator

Rennie Quible presented two sessions during the 2006 conference. In her first session, “Volunteering at the National Archives,” Quible told the audience about some of her experiences at the National Archives. She had been able to “put on the white gloves” and touch some of our country’s very old and historical documents. In answer to an attendee’s question of how one would go about volunteering, her short, but not sarcastic, answer was to just walk in the front door and volunteer! She also brought several examples of items available from the archives store or the online store. The examples were very realistic copies of documents that are in the National Archives. There is a wealth of information in our National Archives; to get started online, just go to www.archives. gov.

Quible’s second session was about her book, Walking-Talking: A Navajo Code Talker Story. She told how she got the idea for the book while volunteering at the National Archives. She traveled to Gallup, New Mexico, and Window Rock, Arizona, where she met and talked with former Navajo Marine Code Talkers and people who were family or friends of the former Code Talkers. Her book had two objectives: “First, to honor great Americans; second, to help young Americans meet and appreciate individuals who may not have been included in their history books, but who have touched our lives and have left giant footprints across America’s history.”

Jean Quibble , retired from Virginia Tech University Libraries

Enhancing Work-Study Student Productivity in the Library
Linda Lemery, Mary B. Blount

Library, Averett University Linda Lemery, a medical technologist, was hired as circulation coordinator of Mary B. Blount Library at Averett University. She had some workplace problems to resolve, some of which seemed to relate to the work-study program: books were incorrectly shelved, shelf-reading wasn’t being done, shelving was behind on a regular basis, work-study students were regularly late or were not showing up for work, a criterion-based evaluation system was not in place, the library was open extended hours without a sufficient number of students to fill the open slots, and there was no work-study student help in the summer. These issues seemed to be symptoms of larger problems whose resolution would require enhanced communication and relationship building among work-study students and library personnel.

Lemery decided to restructure the library’s work-study program around developing participating students into future responsible citizens and leaders, because doing so would make them more marketable to prospective employers in the post-graduation workplace. She also believed that the library’s problems would be resolved as a byproduct of this program. She developed a list of work behaviors that would benefit participating students, modalities to measure how well participating students were acquiring those work behaviors, and an evaluation rating system incorporating both the work behaviors and the measurement modalities, and based on the financial aid form. She also documented processes, developed forms, and developed other tools loosely categorized under affirmation of value and worth (hiring, training), reaffirmation (interim and final evaluation), and communication. All tools contained percolating themes of enhancing workplace communication and building relationships.

Lemery also started a community volunteer program with a target population of local high school students who needed volunteer hours as part of their high school requirements. Having the help of these community volunteers during the summer alleviated the need for more (paid) help in the library. Since these high school students came from a technology- immersion high school and were highly skilled in computer software manipulation and hardware networking, they were able to accomplish as much, if not more in some cases, than some of the college- age student assistants who worked for her. Lemery highly recommended volunteer programs as viable additions to any library’s student workforce, if the library is able to get the proper permission to implement such a plan.

Sharon Albert , Radford University

The Monday evening social was filled with music, dancing, and fun.

Writing That Great Resume
Lori Nicolaysen, career consultant

“There is no one way to do a resume.” So began Lori Nicolaysen’s seminar, “Writing That Great Resume.” Nicolaysen advised the participants to think of a resume as your advertisement. The master copy can be changed based on the requirements of each particular job.

Using an overhead projector, Nicolaysen then showed several examples, each for about ten seconds. Flaws in format and organization soon became quite obvious. Though some resume examples looked odd, Nicolaysen suggested that these types could be used for advertising or creative/artistic positions. Still, there are some rules that remain consistent:

  • All dates should read in the same format.
  • Dates usually work better on the resume’s right side.
  • Items relevant to the position should be on the resume.
  • A readable font should be used.
  • Note what the main point is — what should be noticed first.

Handouts included a list of action verbs for use on resumes, along with a list describing functional skills. Also included were suggestions in design and editing from the book Resumes, Resumes, Resumes. In conclusion, Nicolaysen presented a very timely and informative seminar. At a time when a candidate may have less than a minute to impress a recruiter, a well-written resume might make the difference between rejection and an interview.

Marcia Cramer , Pamunkey Regional Library in Mechanicsville

Electronic Genealogical Resources
Jean Cooper, University of Virginia

Jean Cooper demonstrated the use of, Heritage Quest , and other resources to help find census records, military documents, and other sources that may assist in genealogical research. Utilizing a PowerPoint presentation, Cooper guided participants through some of these sites, demonstrating how to access primary sources such as census records; birth, marriage, and death records; newspapers; court records; and more. She provided information on major websites containing genealogical information, such as Cyndi’s List, , and Family Search. Cooper cited great moments in genealogy dating back to the early seventeenth century, when the Virginia General Assembly required ministers to keep and report vital records. The difference between then and now was illustrated when Cyndi Howells set up her webpage linked to genealogical websites.

Cooper gave each participant in the seminar excellent handouts, along with a CD. The seminar gave all in attendance a good working knowledge of online genealogical sources.

Marcia Cramer , Pamunkey Regional Library in Mechanicsville VL