I have tried to have at least one blog post per month. January 2010 did not make it. Did anyone miss me? Probably not.

But here I am again, like that rusty windmill that continues to spin with the wind. Hopefully, as with the rusty windmill, I am bringing something to the surface that will be beneficial.

January 2010 saw my return to the American Library Association Council for a three year term as the representative of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. For one year in the mid 1990’s I had served on Council as the Illinois Chapter Councilor. I remember that year as one in which Council meetings were long and contentious. This time at the Association’s Mid-Winter meeting in Boston, Council meetings were quick, routine and without major controversy. The third session of Council actually ended several hours before its scheduled time. I am sure that by Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. in June there will be enough issues to keep us fully occupied.

January also saw the quarterly meeting of the Virginia Library Association Executive Committee and Council. The Executive Committee meeting was held in Richmond and the Council meeting at the Twin Hickory Branch of the Henrico County Public Library.  This was different than our normal meeting location of Charlottesville. This change in venue enabled participants to attend the annual Legislative Reception held by the Library of Virginia on Thursday, January 28th. While I was disappointed at the number of legislators in attendance at the reception I am reminded that  it is always difficult to catch these busy individuals. However, good contacts were made and important information on the value of libraries shared with legislators and their staffs. The Executive Committee meeting was held in the Richmond Public Library’s main library. Harriet Coalter, Richmond Public  library director, has done a wonderful job in restoring majestic beauty to this historic structure. I am enjoying my year as president of VLA and am delighted to see individuals enthusiastically responding to the challenges facing our profession.

Budget matters took up considerable time in January. In December 2009, in recognition of the fiscal constraints facing our contractual funding bodies the Library’s Board of Trustees took a proactive position by approving a resolution reducing funding from these localities for the FY10 budget year. At its January 2010 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a funding request to these bodies  for FY11 that is a further reduction in funding for library operations.  If approved, these reductions will mean a loss of approximately 10% of our funded positions as well as less funds for operating budget items. Our challenge in this time of fiscal stress is to continue to provide the excellent service that has garnered the Library two 5 star library recognitions from Library Journal in the past year. I do not underestimate the difficulty of this task but look forward to working with staff, board, and the community as we employ our knowledge and skills in the provision of  quality service to all our users.

On a brighter note the Rita Welsh Adult Literacy Program, on whose Board of Directors I will serve as President until this coming July, is looking forward to occupying space in the new William and Mary School of Education facility. The building’s completion is scheduled for late spring or early summer. Furniture has been ordered and staff are excited about having quarters that will be more accessible to both learners and tutors. New cooperative ventures with the School of Education will be possible in our new location. As a part of this move the Program will be changing its name to Literacy For Life. On March 13, in cooperation with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program, there will be a Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars fund raising event held at Phi Beta Kappa Hall on the campus of the College of William and Mary. This will be an interesting and enjoyable evening. Tickets for the event are on sale through the College’s ticket office. In a moment of insanity (of which I seem to have many), I agreed to be a judge for this event. At least you can be thankful that I am not one of the dancers!

As I advance in age I tolerate even the normally mild Virginia winters less well each year. This past week’s snow storm has tested my tolerance more than I would care to comment on. Hopefully, by my March blog post spring will have begun to stretch its tendrils over the land.

So long for now!

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