VLA Paraprofessional Forum's Ninth Annual Conference Report
The Paraprofessional Forum of the Virginia Library Association held its ninth annual two-day conference on May 20-22, 2001, at the University of Richmond. Four hundred and forty-three library personnel from four states and the District of Columbia attended the conference.
This year's theme was Challenge Yourself: Expand Your Horizons, with Susan Paddock of Virginia Beach Central Library chairing the event. Three keynote speakers, twenty-four sessions, and ten discussion groups were offered to this year's conference participants.
The conference opened with a welcome reception on Sunday evening that provided everyone with an opportunity to sit back and enjoy good food, friends, and the lovely piano music provided by Jason Brannan who works at the Ashland Branch of the Pamunkey Regional Library. The Monday night social, which everyone always looks forward to attending, was a huge success. With the help of DJ Ronnie Gilder from Richmond, and with the hard work and enthusiasm of Mary Fran Nash, who headed up the event, attendees enjoyed this evening filled with music and dancing. Door prizes and special gifts highlighted the social that centered on the Mardi Gras theme. In lieu of the social, some attendees attended the Ukrainian Egg Painting session or one of the two Imaging Parties provided during the evening.
Monday-Step Out with Attitude
The Monday morning general session opened with words of welcome from the VLAPF Chair, Susan Paddock, and two special guests. James R. Rettig, director of The University of Richmond's Boatwright Library, and Cy Dillon, VLA President, offered their greetings to conference attendees.
Anita Bunkley, author of several books including Steppin' Out With Attitude and The Yellow Rose of Texas, was the keynote speaker on Monday morning. Using some of her own experiences as examples, she shared how she had turned her dream of being a successful writer into a reality. Ms. Bunkley challenged those in the audience to believe in their dreams and to seize those opportunities that will help in meeting desired goals. She stated that with the right attitude and persistence it is possible to beat the odds. Her advice is to never give up-"Winners fall down, but this does not signal the end of the race; what is important is how quickly you get up."Üï Conference attendees were inspired by Ms. Bunkley's message which encouraged each of us to "step out with attitude."
Tuesday-Reed on Intellectual Freedom
Sally Gardner Reed, Director of Libraries for the Norfolk Public Library, was the keynote speaker on Tuesday morning. Ms. Reed has authored several books and written countless articles on library-related topics. Her most recent publications are Making the Case for Your Library and Library Volunteers: Worth the Effort. Ms. Reed's keynote address focused on the issue of intellectual freedom in the United States. Ms. Reed reviewed some of the milestones in history that have impacted intellectual freedom. She then reminded us that censorship is still an issue that must be dealt with, especially with the new challenges that have arisen due to the Internet. She encouraged us to be aware of issues that threaten the rights afforded us by the First Amendment and to be champions for intellectual freedom.
Tuesday-Isn't Life FUN!!!
Bill Fiege, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at Longwood College, closed out the conference in good form. He won the hearts of one and all when he tossed candy bars into the audience and opened his message, Isn't Life FUN!!!, with a brief juggling act. Combining humor with observations based on personal and professional experiences, Mr. Fiege encouraged us to incorporate fun into our busy lives where we juggle work, family, a social life, and extra curricula activities. He suggested that we focus on the positive and that we not allow ourselves to become consumed with the people and situations that make us unhappy. In order to be a good juggler of all that life throws our way, Mr. Fiege said that we must learn to get the pace just right, and in so doing, we will find peace and happiness.
For the grand finale, Susan Paddock and Bill Fiege joined forces in giving away the raffle baskets and the Moss print. Once again, the VLAPF board members generously donated some unique and eye-catching baskets for the scholarship raffle. The print, which was the most popular prize, was donated by the P. Buckley Moss Society of Staunton, Virginia, and was framed compliments of Christopher's Fine Arts and Framing of Farmville, Virginia. Virginia Carver of Alexandria, Virginia, was the lucky winner of the print. The variety of outstanding raffle prizes and the generosity of conference attendees who purchased tickets resulted in another successful scholarship raffle.
The Paraprofessional Forum presented several awards during this year's conference. Jason Brannon of the Ashland branch of the Pamunkey Regional Library received the VLAPF Award. The award provided Jason with the opportunity of attending the conference by providing funds that paid all conference expenses. He received a special framed commemorative certificate during the Monday opening session. Lydia Williams, Archives Manager at the Longwood College Library, was named Outstanding Paraprofessional of the Year. She was recognized during the Monday opening session and awarded a framed certificate and an engraved pewter box in honor of her accomplishments as a library paraprofessional.
On Tuesday morning, the VLA educational scholarship sponsored by the Paraprofessional Forum was awarded to Iris Taylor who works at The Library of Virginia. The recognition of Iris as recipient of this award was a memorable event for the VLAPF board members who have all worked diligently to earn money in order to sponsor this scholarship.
Two very special ladies were recognized during the Tuesday morning session. E. A. Mayo, a recent retiree of Hampden-Sydney College, and Susan McFaden, a recent retiree of the Fairfax County Library System, were recognized for all the years of service they have given to the Virginia Library Association and for their outstanding leadership within the Paraprofessional Forum. VLA President Cy Dillon presented each of them with a special inscribed plate on behalf of VLA and the Paraprofessional Forum.
2002 Conference-Tomorrow's Libraries-Are We Ready?
The 2002 conference theme is Tomorrow's Libraries-Are We Ready? Mark your calendars for May 19-22, and make plans to join your friends and colleagues at the University of Richmond for the VLA Paraprofessional Forum's tenth annual conference. The co-chairs for the 2002 conference will be Mary Buckley of the George Mason University and Mari-Jana Phelps of the Dumfries Neighborhood Library.
Building Staff Morale
The task of building staff morale has been addressed and expressed in many ways, but Dan Connole of the Arlington County Department of Libraries has developed a creative and fresh look at the traditional staff morale building tactics. On May 21, 2001, during the VLAPF Conference at the University of Richmond, Dan presented the outcome of his successful staff building endeavors.
The Dan Connole recipe for staff morale calls for a pinch of work, a dash of obligation, a tablespoon of backlogged tasks, and a cup of humor. With his mixture of essential ingredients, Connole has managed to cook up some great morale boosting, work-related projects! One such project entailed a contest to see who had the oldest piece of worthless information. And the winner was: A computer cheat-sheet that was over ten years old. Not only was the cheat-sheet outdated-it was for a system that was no longer in use!n'Dan Connole presented an informative, humorous, and practical session. His ideas and suggestions were inspiring for anyone looking for new and exciting ways to enhance morale in the workplace.-Bridget Clark
Adding Pizzazz to StorytimeDiane Daniels and Ann Lawson, who are both involved with children's and youth services at the Lynchburg Public Library, presented 90 minutes of non-stop ideas that may be used to entice children to fall in love with books and reading. Using props, music, drama, and movement, they demonstrated how to take a story or poem and bring it to life in the heart and mind of the child. Whether it is an old standby, such as a Mother Goose rhyme, or something newer such as a pop-up book, Ms. Daniels and Ms. Lawson convinced us that it is possible to magically transform a book into more than just words and pictures on a page-it can become a catalyst for expanding the imagination of a child.-Lydia Williams
The Basics of DigitizingFelicia Johnson, Assistant Director of the Special Collections Digital Center at the University of Virginia, shared the basics of digitizing. She began her presentation by reviewing the reasons for digitizing a collection. She stated that prior to plunging into a project it is important to write up the immediate and long-term goals and to consider the audience and usage of the digitized data. Ms. Johnson discussed equipment, software, and file formats. She covered issues related to resolution, quality control, and manageability. By covering all the basics, Ms. Johnson made her audience aware of just what is involved in the planning, scanning, and archiving of digitized materials.-Lydia Williams
Grant$ for ParaprofessionalsPat Howe, Head of Technical Services at Longwood College, presented a session that included all the essential information needed by an individual seeking a grant. She covered information on developing an idea for a grant, getting organized for action, establishing contact with a funding source, and writing a proposal. She also provided information on the processes of budgeting and administering the grant money, and on evaluating the project. She provided a list of funding resources and some other tools that will be useful in launching a proposal. Ms. Howe provided information that will be invaluable to anyone planning to write a grant to help finance professional and educational needs.-Lydia Williams
Basic Records Management and Disaster Planning for Records
John Breeden, Manager of the Records Analysis Section, a part of the Records Management and Imaging Services Division of the Library of Virginia, discussed the basics of records management and disaster planning for records. Mr. Breeden talked about the services provided by The Library of Virginia to State institutions in regard to public records. He discussed the objectives of a records management program, which are to support the administrative needs of public officials and citizens, to ensure that records of historical value are preserved and that nonessential records are disposed of in a manner and within a time-frame that is systematic throughout the state, and to protect your institution from possible litigation.Prior to discussing disaster preparedness, we took a look at some records disasters in Virginia. These pictures reinforced the message that each institution should have a disaster plan in place. Mr. Breeden provided some tips on what to include in such a plan. He stated that it is important to be prepared for emergencies, but that it is just as important to assess the vulnerabilities in your building and to take steps that may prevent a disaster or reduce the impact of a disaster.-Lydia Williams
Copyright: What Is Fair Use?
On Monday, May 21, Rosemary Chase facilitated one of several afternoon sessions titled "Copyright: What is fair use?" She talked about how important it is to obtain copyright permissions for electronic and print reserves. There were 45 active participants who stressed an interest in having the workshop offered again next year. The workshop was a huge success and Rosemary was well received.
Rosemary A. Chase, Copyright Officer, George Mason University, has been active in the field of obtaining permissions for the use of out-of-print books and other materials for the classroom since 1988. She was instrumental in establishing George Mason's Copyright Assistance Program, which was one of the first full-service copyright clearance centers in higher education. In 1993, she designed and administered a national survey to track copyright clearance practices in higher education. She was also active in the early stages of the implementation of the electronic reserves initiative on her campus.Currently, Rosemary is a member of the Copyright Policy Task Force and the Web Steering Committee at George Mason University. Her latest mission is to provide a tutorial for students to outline their rights and responsibilities as students and citizens.-Cynthia Bentleyc