A Defining Year
by Edwin S. Clay III
The final year in our organization's first century is coming to a close. If for no other reason, 2004 has been a defining year. But there are many other accomplishments to celebrate this year as well. From a tough but productive legislative season in Richmond to our new Foundation and our recent gathering in Williamsburg, sharing stories and successes at the 2004 VLA Conference, "Defining Moments," everyone in VLA has worked hard for the future of the libraries in the Commonwealth.
One of VLA's vital roles is to represent libraries in the political process. This year, the Legislative Committee, under the leadership of co-chairs Ann Friedman, director of the Arlington Public Library, and John Moorman, director of the Williamsburg Regional Library, performed admirably. The Legislative Committee organized an effective VLA Legislative Day in Richmond in January, as well as a rewarding ALA Legislative Day in Washington in May. As a result of our efforts in the state capital, we were an important presence during the General Assembly's session. Budget hearings allowed us the opportunity to applaud Governor Warner for not recommending further cuts to state aid to public libraries in FY 2005 or FY 2006. We impressed on our state representatives the consequences of any further cuts that might affect hours of operation, cuts in personnel, and a drastic reduction of new materials. I would like to believe that the three bills introduced to require public libraries to filter failed due to our efforts. Many thanks to all VLA members who took the time to call and write state legislators on behalf of our legislative agenda.
...everyone in VLA has
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But the work is far from over. The filtering bills will be reintroduced in the 2005 legislative session, and the budget is always in the forefront. Keep your keyboards and email ready and stay tuned for VLA's 2005 legislative agenda.
A Century's Foundation
The Virginia Library Association Foundation, Inc., is now a reality. During our 100th anniversary year in 2005, it will begin efforts to raise $1 million with 100 percent participation from VLA's members. Thanks in part to the efforts of former VLA treasurer Andrew Morton and other organizers, the Foundation now has a 12-member Founding Board of Trustees, as well as its first Honorary Board Trustee—Rita Mae Brown! Bylaws have been drafted, an investment policy statement and board manual has been created, and the Foundation has submitted its 501(c)3 designation as a charitable foundation separate from the Virginia Library -Association.
Funds raised will support VLA's scholarship programs, as well as our activities on behalf of libraries throughout the Commonwealth. The Foundation will promote Virginia libraries as vital community resources; nurture professional growth and leadership; and support library access for all.
Our Education Continues
Throughout 2004, VLA offered opportunities for growth through its forums, Paraprofessional Conference, seminars, and workshops.
We are also supporting the Library of Virginia's review and development of a newly mandated certification process for librarians. The Library of Virginia's Board approved an American Library Association model that recognizes the M.L.S. degree and includes renewable certification based on participation in seminars and other training. Hearings will be held throughout the state once various legal requirements in the process have been met.
Thanks to Fran Millhouser and her committee for designing a creative 2004 VLA Conference that included tracks with more than 60 programs and multiple keynote speakers. We laughed with Ron Culberson and at our Nancy Pearl Look-Alike Contest. We learned how to design and run "The -Unquiet Library" from Nancy Tessman, director of the Salt Lake City Libraries; saw how to create the library of the future with Cate McNeely, deputy chief librarian at the Richmond Public Library in Vancouver, Canada; and listened to American Library Association President Dr. Karla Hayden share her perspective on libraries and library professionals. We celebrated our Jefferson Cup Award Winner, Kristine L. Franklin, author of Grape Thief, and our scholarship recipients, Julie Short, Heather Blicher, and Susan Larson. We recognized Arlington's Ann Friedman with our annual George Mason Award for her efforts on the Legislative Committee and Richard "Dick" M. Hamrick, Jr., a Staunton Public Library Trustee, with our Trustees Award.
It's been a great year—and I hope a defining year for many of you. It has been a year when we tried to foster creative dialogue and conversations with each other. We celebrated our defining moments—everything libraries have been and can be in the future!
Our centennial year should be even better! If you've got some great ideas on how to honor our 100 years, let new VLA President Ruth Kifer know.
Thanks to all for a good year!