Patricia Howe

As I begin my tenure as president of the Virginia Library Association, I’m reminded of VLA’s accomplishments under the leadership of my predecessor, Ruth Arnold. In 2006, VLA partnered with America’s 400th Anniversary at Jamestown 2007; the VLA website received a new design, making it more accessible for council members to contribute to its content; the Finance Committee reviewed membership dues and reported its recommendations; the association conducted a finance audit that resulted in a good financial standing report; VLA donated funds to the Louisiana and Mississippi library associations in response to ALA’s Hurricane Katrina Library Relief Fund; VLA had a commendable representation at ALA Legislative Day in Washington; and the revised bylaws and manual completed in 2005 were approved. On the continuing education front, programs that were offered include the Association of College and Research Libraries’ “Improving the Library as Place: Assessing Us, Assessing Them”; the Paraprofessional Forum’s annual conference, “Bridging the Information Gap: Preserving Yesterday’s Lessons, Anticipating Tomorrow’s Demands”; the Public Documents Forum’s “An Introduction to Patent Searching for Librarians”; Region II’s “Growing a Donor Garden: Raising Money in Your Own Backyard”; Region III’s “Advising the Nonfiction Reader”; Region V’s “Making Contact: Connecting with Our Community of Users”; and the VLA Annual Conference. With the conference’s theme of “Read, Think, Speak: The Power of Libraries,” we heard about the future of libraries; Web 2.0; wikis, blogs, and podcasts; genealogy research; serials updates from the Library of Congress; Jamestown 2007; surviving on shoestring budgets; and readers’ advisories, as well as enjoying the Jefferson Cup Luncheon. It was quite a productive year for VLA.

It was quite a productive year for VLA.

So, what’s on the horizon for the association in 2007? We must work to maintain a viable presence in the commonwealth and focus resources on VLA’s primary mission by advocating the support of library causes and funding, providing continuing education opportunities, promoting membership, and enhancing visibility through expansion of our chapter’s relationship with ALA divisions.

Just three days after receiving the gavel from Ruth, I attended the November meeting of the Library of Virginia Board, which included three new members. On behalf of VLA, I stated that the association is represented by all libraries and library advocates, and that VLA has a long, mutual relationship with the Library of Virginia. I plan to attend future functions, where I hope to interact with members of the Library of Virginia Board.

Legislative Committee cochairs Jerry McKenna and Bette Dillehay have encouraged association members to speak with their elected representatives to seek support for VLA’s 2007 Legislative Agenda. I’ve spoken to Delegate Watkins Abbitt, urging him to support VLA’s agenda to fund Find It Virginia in FY2008; to provide full funding for state aid in the 2008 General Assembly session; and to support funding requests from the Library of Virginia, VIVA, and VEMA. I hope that other VLA members have spoken with their elected state officials. There is still an opportunity to ask your representatives for library funding and support during ALA’s National Library Legislative Day on May 2, 2007.

The Executive Committee met in late November for their retreat. Linda Hahne presented an update on the conference; a full report will be given during the February council meeting. During the retreat, the 2007 designated agenda was developed and will be brought before the council in February for approval. The main points include:

  • VLA will provide leadership for legislative and advocacy activities that support libraries and library staff in the commonwealth.
  • VLA will enhance and update its presence to constituencies, both internal and external to the association.
  • VLA will maintain its support for members who are seeking continuing education or degree programs in library and information science.
  • VLA will continue to grow and develop as the only library association serving the needs of all types of libraries in the commonwealth.
  • VLA will continue to manage its finances prudently and maintain a fiscally strong organization.
  • VLA will continue to promote and provide support for the efforts of the VLA Foundation.

The 2007 Conference Committee met during the summer of 2006 and has been busy planning the conference. This year’s conference is a partnership with the Virginia Association of Law Libraries; the cochairs are Lisa Lee Broughman and Libby Blanton. Representatives from academic, public, school, and law libraries are serving on the committee. The theme is “Reflect, Retool, Recharge: Building Skills and Partnerships for Successful Libraries.” We’re excited that David Baldacci and Roy Tennant will be our keynote speakers. As we plan for the conference, we hope to develop programs and sessions around our main themes: to “reflect" on where libraries have been, where they are, and where they want to be; “retool” by gaining new skills and ideas, discovering what colleagues are doing in their libraries and how to meet future challenges; and “recharge,” returning to your libraries revitalized from what you’ve observed and learned at the conference, ready to create new successes and partnerships. The conference will be held November 1–2 at the Homestead. Nestled in the mountains, the resort provides the perfect environment for reflection and reinvigoration. If you are concerned about the cost of the conference at the Homestead, it may be more affordable this year. For the first time, the Homestead will be offering two lodging plans, one with meals and one without. Start saving your pennies and plan to join us at the 2007 Annual Conference.

VLA is a voice for people both involved with and interested in libraries and librarianship in Virginia.

I look forward to working with the VLA Council and Conference Committee this year. I also want to emphasize to each of you that VLA is a voice for people both involved with and interested in libraries and librarianship in Virginia. It is an effective organization to address issues or concerns revolving around libraries and the profession in the commonwealth. Each member is a valuable contributor to the association, and during this year, I hope you become actively involved with VLA and contact your representatives on council so we can effectively represent the interests of our members. VL