by Izabela M. Cieszynski
Summer has arrived with full force...it's hot, humid, and lots of folks are coming into libraries. Activities abound-children's and adult summer reading programs, computer classes, book discussions, and concerts. It seems to me that libraries are especially vibrant during the summer months, perhaps because we try to do so much in a relatively short period of time. Summer is also an opportunity to reflect on the past year's work and to evaluate what we have done and to think about the impact we have had on our libraries-hopefully a positive one-that will bring back that one library user time and again. The strong roles library advocates play is a measure of the library community's commitment to library services. Today we all need to take on that role in some measure. Access to information is a basic tenet of librarianship, but it is not something we always manage to teach staff successfully. The July 8, 2002 edition of the Daily Press noted the increasing shortage of librarians and the proactive work the American Library Association has pledged to do, including an emphasis on recruiting. The need for librarians is so great that President Bush has proposed spending $10 million to help recruit and train librarians.
While ALA and the President are willing to make this commitment, perhaps we need to look at the continuing education opportunities that we make available to all our library employees. There are examples within our own state of successful training programs for library personnel. Roanoke County has instituted an award--winning, -computer-training program for its staff in order to ensure that they are knowledgeable, willing, and able to assist library patrons. Chesterfield County government has founded the Chesterfield County University, specifically to educate county employees in management and related topics. The Library of Virginia makes available a variety of training programs to public library staff that cover topics related to youth services, databases, and computer applications. Public libraries have the ability to use part of their state aid to help fund library degrees. Many library consortia offer training for their regions-SWING has programs on time management, along with other management topics. The Virginia Association of Law Libraries presents programs annually that provide training in legal research. And the number of programs that VLA provides its membership is almost limitless-the annual conference, the wonderful Paraprofessional Conference described in this issue, and the many educational opportunities sponsored by VLA sections and forums.
We are truly fortunate to have so many opportunities. Let's take advantage of them and build a workforce that will keep libraries on the cutting edge!
In Memory of Christie Vernon
We received some sad news late May with the announcement that Christie Vernon had died. Christie was the former Director of the Thomas Nelson Community College Library and had been president of the Virginia Library Association in 1984-85. She had worked tirelessly for VLA, most notably as the Government Relations Coordinator and as a member of the Legislative Committee. She was also active in the American Library Association and served several terms on ALA's Committee on Legislation. While serving as chair of the committee, she coordinated ALA's response to the FBI Library-Awareness Campaign in 1986. Her activism as a library advocate will be missed.