We are racing into the new millennium. New technologies such as hand-held computers and electronic shopping carts are now here. Along with these new technologies come new legal and licensing implications for libraries. Our 2000 VLA Conference covered many of these issues and more.
The conference was held at the Scope Convention Center and Radisson Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia. Conference organizers did a terrific job of overcoming last minute space cancellations as the Scope unexpectedly closed down for renovations after the preliminary conference program had been printed. It was one of our most successful conferences in recent years despite some of the inconveniences: 623 people were registered, and there were 104 exhibitors.
The conference began with the grand opening of the exhibit hall and registration area on Thursday morning.A jazz band provided lively music, free raffle tickets were given away, and early arrivals were rewarded with prizes.The grand prizes were two electronic book readers donated by Softbook and Rocket Book. Jean Carideo from Chesapeake Public Library helped organize the morning raffle. "The Norfolk Convention Bureau was really wonderful," she said. "They gave us a sweatshirt, they gave us etched drinking glasses with a big clipper ship on them. The biggest prizes that we got, and I was thrilled to get them, were the Rocket e-book and the Softbook . I was hoping that someone who had a lot of questions about [electronic books] would win one [of the readers] . I'd be curious to hear the winners six months from now to hear if they've played with them and if they like them and if it's changed their opinion of them." One great advantage is that the downloaded books can be set to disappear on their own. "I was in another talk about this at PLA and there were public librarians and university librarians in the audience and the speaker said, 'You can check the book out for two weeks and instead of returning it, when two weeks are up, the book disappears,' and someone in the audience raised their hand and said, 'Can it make a sucking noise?' and we laughed and she said no."
Five prizes were awarded that morning, and fifteen more prizes were given out at the Thursday evening social. All prizes were donated by the Norfolk Convention Bureau, Softbook, The Virginia Center for the Book, MacArthur Mall, King's Florist of Virginia Beach, Tidewater Area Minority Librarians Network,Holiday Inn at Kroger, Krispy Kreme, Rocket Book, and the Library of Virginia. Everyone who preregistered for the conference was given a free box lunch courtesy of DRA and plenty of time to wander through the exhibit hall, take part in a table talk, or enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
This year's scholarships were made available through generous corporate donations from Blackwell North America and the Information Access Company, substantial donations from the Friends of the George Mason Regional Library and the friends of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library, private donations, and proceeds from the annual raffle. The VLA Paraprofessional Scholarship is entirely funded by the annual raffle held during the Paraprofessional Forum Conference. This year's recipients were Christina Anderson, Sandra Shell, and Claudia Covert (VLA Paraprofessional Scholarship). VLA also honored Nelson Worley (George Mason Award), Friends of the George Mason Regional Library(Friends of the Library Award), George M. Van Sant (Trustee Library Award),and Mary Ann Harmon (Special Volunteer Recognition Award).
Dr. Dale Henry was the guest speaker at the Thursday evening social event. With his unique sense of humor, Dr.Henry urged the audience to break away from the predictable, to think from other people's perspectives, and to remember that the most important part of life is to laugh.
What does the future hold for Virginia's libraries? Read on