Summer and Harvest
by Barbie Selby and Earlene Viano
In the words of a song popular this time of year, it's Summertime and the livin' is easy. Certainly, warmth and vacation leisure encourage reminiscence and reflection. Having taught Virginia's (and the whole nation's) librarians for decades, Dr. Haynes McMullen, currently of Hampton, thinks back over more than fifty years of librarianship and shares some of his life experiences and professional insights in an exclusive "confession" for Virginia Libraries.
Caroline Parr of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in Fredericksburg remembers her time as chair of the Newbery Award Committee, and from her we find out everything we ever wanted to know and never got the chance to ask about the inner workings and selection processes that were used to choose the 1986 and 2001 winners of the most prestigious prize in children's literature.
Again this year, from May 19 to May 21, at the 10th Annual VLAPF Conference on the campus of the University of Richmond, the state's paraprofessional staff had the opportunity to reassess the vital contributions they make to their respective libraries and generally reinvigorate one another. Joan Kenyon Woods, an inspirational speaker, and Francis Wood, a writer, shared the role libraries played in their professional development. And the participants, from several states, networked to their heart's content, reaping a harvest of new, why-didn't-we-think-of-that ideas and planting the seeds of promising, new projects.
Fish are jumpin', the song continues. These are the many thoughts and inspired ideas that keep popping up in libraries all over the state. We, the editors of Virginia Libraries, hope that those who are able to catch them will consider at least partially dissecting their finds on paper and sharing them with their VLA colleagues by submitting them to us.
The song's next line-And the cotton is high-refers to a ripe and ready harvest. Besides the gleanings the paraprofessionals gathered from their yearly conference, the somewhat isolated staff of the ALICE (Appalachian Library Information Cooperative Endeavors) group, formed in 1997, is already seeing the fruit of its collaborative effort to provide library instructional materials for the ACA (Appalachian College Association). Its Toolbox has become a paradigm of information strength, gained by combining the expertise of 33 "-value--centered" institutions (four in Virginia-Bluefield College, Emory and Henry College, Ferrum College, and Virginia Intermont College) to facilitate the research capabilities of more remote students and professors in the schools of Appalachia and other institutions handicapped by their distance from urban centers.
Virginia's GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is more "high cotton," ready to be pulled and used. In the last ten years, several Commonwealth libraries, led by UVA and VA Tech, have begun offering this combination of software and human support that allows users to "manipulate and model geographic and statistical data to perform analyses, solve problems, and make decisions." Reference Librarian Stuart Frazer presents the background and an overview of this exciting undertaking and even includes a list (with URLs) of each Virginia academic library involved, briefly sketching the level of its involvement. His article will be one to keep on hand as a quick, ready--reference.
Finally, the book reviews in this particular issue become suggestions for fascinating, meaty, home-state, vacation reading. Drop one in your straw tote with swimsuit and towel, and head for the beach.