Year in Review
by Iza Cieszynski
As promised at the VLA Conference's closing session, a review of the prior year's designated agenda is here for your review. I've divided the agenda into different sections for the review process and hope you will find it informative.
The past year saw a significant increase in the need to be legislatively active, both as VLA members and as citizens of the Commonwealth. It took a strong, coordinated approach to keep the cuts in state aid to public libraries proportionate to cuts experienced by other state agencies and programs. This will undoubtedly continue into the new year as academic, public, school, and special libraries fight to maintain funding levels in order to succeed in the role they all play in the educational process. Forging partnerships with other groups, such as the Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties, will help increase the awareness of libraries' roles in education and quality-of-life issues. We have begun building these partnerships, and as they grow stronger, hope to have our legislative concerns included with theirs.
Legislative activity also included Virginia Legislative Day on January 24, 2002, as well as ALA's Federal Legislative Day on May 7, 2002. Representation at both was high and continues to illustrate the need to maintain regular contact with our legislators in order to educate them about the roles libraries play. We can't afford to see and speak with our legislators only on those particular days and then expect them to step forward on our behalf. The December 2001 legislative workshop introduced new VLA members into the world of Virginia politics and the legislative process.
At the same time we establish and maintain contact with our legislators, keeping track of everything happening in Richmond falls on the shoulders of VLA's legislative liaison, Phil Abraham. His vigilance keeps us on track to catch the nuances of legislation that might or might not support the legislative agenda. Addressing the issue of funding legislative activities was initiated by VLA and the Virginia Public Library Directors' Association, and hopefully will be completed this year.
The Finance Committee spearheaded the development of a plannedgiving program for VLA members, as well as the 501 status of VLA. The focus of the program will emphasize underwriting VLA's scholarships. A dues review was done at the beginning of the year and the decision made to hold dues at the current level for 2002. The work of the Finance Committee also included the issue of stable funding for the legislative liaison that was addressed above. VLA itself, as an organization, continues to have sound funding and is building a healthy reserve fund.
The Publications and the Intellectual Freedom Committees grappled with issues dealing with job-listing announcements and the continued attempt to limit access to information via the Internet. Web-page development and how to present VLA's information to the membership was also reviewed and discussed. The calendar of events on the Web page along with training announcements has significantly enhanced members' ability to stay abreast of Association activities and be aware of continuing education opportunities. The use of the VLA Membership listserv has also improved communication among and between members.
I would like to thank everyone for his or her support and help over the prior year. Your continued commitment to the Association makes it a strong one, of which I am proud to be a member.
Keep checking the Web site, www.vla.org, for up-to-date information. The site contains the designated agenda for 2003 as well as the legislative agenda, continuing education opportunities, and much more.