VALib v56n4 - President's Column

By the time this issue of Virginia Libraries arrives at your door or desk, I will be the past-president of the Virginia Library Association. The association presidency will continue in the good hands of Matthew Todd. I have worked with Matt the past two years as a member of the VLA Executive Committee and have the highest respect for his abilities and informed judgment.

What can I say about my year as your elected leader?

First, heartfelt thanks for the opportunity members of the Virginia Library Association gave me to be the association's official voice for the past year. It is the greatest honor that I have received in my career and I will treasure the experience for the rest of my life.

Second, with the assistance of the VLA Executive Committee and Council, much was accomplished. The VLA Manual was updated, including changing the duties of the past-president and others to reflect the current needs of the association. The VLA Foundation was disbanded, and its funds are now an endowment account of the association, under the guidance of the Professional Development Endowment Committee. A new logo was designed with the assistance of the staff of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. The VLA Newsletter began its transition to a web-based publication that can be updated on a regular basis. The association’s web presence continues to be upgraded as a part of ongoing efforts to provide better communication with all our members. The Legislative Committee, under the leadership of Bette Dillehay and John Halliday, kept us informed and up-to-date on legislative matters. The committee produced a legislative agenda in time for its adoption at the June executive committee and council meetings.

… this was a year of great
change for the association.

Third, this was a year of great change for the association. During the year, the process of changing executive directors was initiated. Early in the year, Linda Hahne, our executive director, indicated to the Executive Committee that it was time for her to retire. Linda has been the personal face of the association for the past thirteen years. Coming in at a time when the association’s existence was in question, Linda has done an outstanding job of guiding the association throughout her tenure as executive director. She leaves VLA in good financial and organizational shape. After considerable discussion and examination of several highly qualified candidates, the VLA Executive Committee approved a contract with Lisa Varga to become the new VLA Executive Director on March 1, 2011. This fall, Lisa will be working with Linda during a period of executive leadership transition.

Fourth, the year was a time to forge new partnerships. In July 2010, I met with the leadership of the Virginia Educational Media Association (VEMA) and the Library of Virginia to begin the process of enhancing communication and cooperation as we work together on projects such as Find It Virginia. Since that meeting, I have contacted the leadership of the Virginia Society for Technology in Education to expand our cooperative effort on behalf of Find It Virginia. I was a part of a meeting with the new Virginia Secretary of Education in July in which we outlined the value of Find It Virginia and the role that libraries of all types play in the educational process.

Fifth, I delighted in meeting new people and in attending events that I normally would not. For the second year in a row, I gave welcoming remarks at the VLA Paraprofessional Forum Annual Conference and heard the conference’s opening speaker. I came away wishing that I had the eloquence of Satia Orange and Sam Clay. I attended one of the two summer institutes sponsored by VLA/CRL. While it has been thirty-five years since I left the academic library realm, the meeting brought back memories of past work experiences. I also heard good presentations and a discussion on issues of concern to our academic library members.

Anyone's time as an association president is short, and that is for the best. I hope that I have left the Virginia Library Association in no worse shape that I found it. With a leadership change underway and new technology providing different ways to communicate with each other, the association confidently faces a future that is both challenging and full of opportunities.

As I indicated when I took office, membership participation and input is vital to the success of the Virginia Library Association. Without an active and informed membership, VLA cannot effectively represent your concerns and needs. Thus, join if you are not a member. If you are a current member, make your membership an active one by joining a committee, preparing a workshop or program, responding to a call for action from our legislative committee, or volunteering for an office in the association. Your association needs you!

Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president for the past year. I have learned much and have grown both personally and professionally as a result of this experience. VL