It has been seven months since I assumed the presidency of the Virginia Library Association.
What has happen during these seven months as far as the Virginia Library Association is concerned? Not a great deal, but then most president’s really have little or no impact in the long run on the Association or its activities. This is probably for the best! The Association has changed it meeting location for Executive Board and Council Meetings from Charlottesville to Henrico County. We will see how that works. So far after one meeting it has been well received. However, if more members from Western Virginia become active in Association activities this could change. As one who has set up Council meetings over the years the tables at the Twin Hickory Branch of the Henrico County Public Library are substantially lighter than the ones at the Northside Branch Library in Charlottesville. These old bones definitely notice the difference!
The Association now has a new logo, thanks to the work of staff of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. It is clean and reflects the historic heritage of Virginia. We are working on revising parts of the Association’s manual. This is a never-ending task as one change leads to another. An important change is removing the responsibility of chairing the Nominating Committee from the duties of the past-president. Now the past-president only appoints the chair and its membership. Not that I did not want these duties next year, but this will enable the Nomination Committee chair, in our schedule of office rotation, to have a better knowledge of those eligible for Association leadership.
One of the fun parts of the job is the ability to recognize individuals in new ways. While I would like to take credit for thinking up the idea, the concept of issuing presidential citations at each meeting of VLA Council came to me when a colleague asked if an individual could have some recognition at our Annual Conference in October of last year. My concept for the presidential citation is to recognize individuals who have contributed substantially to librarianship in Virginia over the years but who have not received much, if any, formal recognition. Library directors such as myself are eliminated immediately! It has been fun to recognize Libby Lewis, Gene Damon and Susan Thorniley for their wide and varied service to the libraries and library users of our Commonwealth. I have several more recognitions to come. Whether this continues is up to my successor Matt Todd. Knowing him, he will probably come up with a new and even better way of honoring those who toil in the vineyards of librarianship.
The Association continues on a sound financial footing. I am hopeful that the recently completed VLA Para-Professional Forum Annual Conference is a financial success. While attendance dropped considerably this year the program schedule was a good one and I was delighted to participate in the opening session.
The first VLA Library Leadership Academy was held in Charlottesville in April. This several day event brought over 20 selected individuals together with consultant Robert Bergin to learn about leadership and prepare themselves for future leadership opportunities. I was honored to participate in a panel discussion on the last day of the Academy and will be serving as a mentor for three of the participants as they work on their final project.
Another fun aspect of being VLA president is that I get to inflict my thoughts on the membership through four issues of Virginia Libraries. So far one issue has been sent out into the world. Three of these columns are already completed and I hope will be relevant when they appear months after they have been sent to the editors. The last one will appear when I am no longer Association president. This is a project for the summer.
It has been a fast seven months. I am sure that the remaining five will go just as fast. I look forward to an exciting Annual Conference in Portsmouth on October 21 and 22 as I close out my year as VLA president and return to normal obscurity.
So long for now!