The Editorial Board is pleased to present volume sixty-five (Vol. 65) of Virginia Libraries. This volume reflects a wide range of articles, in terms of both topic and article type, and the Editorial Board is grateful to all the authors who worked with us this year. Amidst the uncertainty of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, change and adaptation is a theme that runs through this volume. From career changes, to changing services in response to the pandemic, to reflections on the challenges of making institutional changes, the authors in this volume offer practical suggestions, examples, and best practices for those engaging with change in many forms.
Volume sixty-five opens with Jennifer Resor-Whicker’s 2021 President’s Letter: “A Year Unlike Any Other: A Letter to VLA’s Membership.” In her letter, Resor-Whicker reflects on the challenges of 2020 and the efforts of library workers across Virginia to find new ways to address patron needs while “dealing with the mental and emotional toll of a global pandemic and the extent of systemic racism exposed by the Black Lives Matter movement.” She also highlights work behind the scenes in VLA, including the approval of a new VLA logo, VLA becoming an affiliate of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and the approval of a new Library of the Year Award.
In “Making the Switch: Changing Careers in Librarianship,” Christine Woods shares advice for those seeking to work in a different kind of library or library role than they have previously. Reflecting on her own experiences with becoming an academic librarian after many years as a school librarian, Woods shares strategies for identifying goals, building a resume or CV, pursuing new experiences, and submitting applications. While making a career change is often challenging, readers will find both hope and action items in this Essay/Commentary.
Changes brought on by the ongoing pandemic are reflected in “Serving Our Communities: Virginia Libraries Respond to COVID-19.” In this column, editors Barbara Ferrara and Susan La Paro curated responses from seven different libraries to reflect the many ways in which “library workers and libraries in Virginia quickly adapted to restrictions imposed as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread.” Contributing authors describe change management training, disaster planning, and changes in library services including virtual programs, curbside pickup, circulation of Wi-Fi hotspots and other technologies, and supporting lecture capture and online teaching at colleges and universities. Authors include those from Mary Riley Styles Public Library in Falls Church, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Beach Public Library, Virginia Tech, Newport News Public Library, Chesapeake Public Library, and Chesterfield County Public Library.
Joy Lucille Yaeger, Charles Jones, and Hannah G. Covington’s Case Study, “Open Solutions: Creating an OER Writing Lab,” discusses their process for creating and implementing an open learning platform to meet graduate student needs for flexible writing support at Regent University. After discussing the challenges with a previous writing resource, the authors describe steps they took to design the new online writing lab, select tools, integrate the lab into the Foundations for Graduate Success course, and seek student feedback. This Case Study serves as a useful model for anyone creating collaborative, open educational resources.
In “Collecting for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Best Practices for Virginia Libraries,” Nan Carmack shares recommendations from a working group with representation from Virginia school librarians, academic librarians, public librarians, faculty members from Longwood University and Old Dominion University, as well as the Virginia Library Association’s Librarians of Color Forum and LGBTQIA+ Forum. This Best Practice article provides guidance for building more diverse, equitable, and inclusive collections, from cataloging and collection development, to policy review, to auditing existing collections and communicating with stakeholders. Readers will find multiple appendices with resources and examples.
Often, attempts to make changes are met with unexpected barriers. In “Recommendations Without Results: What We Learned About Our Organization Through Subject Guide Usability Studies,” Sarah Gardner, Hillary Ostermiller, Elizabeth Price, David Vess, and Alyssa Young reflect on the challenges they encountered when recommending changes to their library’s online subject guides. After completing usability studies on the current guides, the authors hoped to make broad changes to the way their library’s subject guides were created and accessed at James Madison University. However, they found that lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities, as well as organizational structure, was a barrier to these changes. The authors close with a set of thoughtful discussion questions.
As always, we, the Virginia Libraries Editorial Board members, thank you, our readers, for supporting our publication, and we also invite you to help our journal grow stronger. We always want to hear your ideas, questions, suggestions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org, your submissions via our journal site, and your follows and retweets via @VALibJournal!
Virginia Pannabecker, Susan La Paro and Sophie Rondeau were editors during 2020 and contributed to preparation or review activities related to this volume.
The 2021 Virginia Libraries Editorial Board:
Julia Feerrar, Editor in Chief
Tracey Berning, Assistant Editor
Emily Correa, Editor
Barbara Ferrara, Editor
Stephen Leist, Editor
Erin White, Editor
Lynda Wright, Editor (through August 2021).
The authors have no competing interests to declare.