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Virginia Libraries

Current editors:
Beth DeFrancis defrancb@georgetown.edu, Editor
John Connolly jpconnolly@crimson.ua.edu, Assistant Editor

October-December, 2006
Volume 52, Number 4

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President's Column

by Ruth Arnold

I've come to that place in my term when as outgoing VLA president I get to write my Year in Review column. It's my time to tout my achievements and exit in triumph. However, I realize that what I really want to do with this space is thank all the people who helped me during my presidential year. I know I am taking a risk naming names because I am sure that there will be some people I fail to mention. I hope that, whoever they are, they will also accept my apologies and my thanks.

Legislative activities, as usual, were a main focus of the year. I am grateful for the efforts of the Legislative Committee, cochaired by John Moorman and Jerry McKenna, and the work of Legislative Liaison Phil Abraham. Although we advanced very little toward our goal of full funding of state aid to public libraries, we did manage to stave off mandatory Internet filtering for one more year, with great assistance from Senator John Chichester. Our biggest success was with a bill that restored language requiring certification to the code section on qualifications for librarians and also with a bill confirming that libraries can pass their discarded materials to groups such as the Friends for resale.

On the federal side, VLA had a significant presence at ALA Legislative Day in Washington, D.C. Our VLA cochairs, Jessica Schwab and Lucinda Munger, had everything very well organized for our delegation, which included public and academic librarians, as well as two school librarians representing VEMA. Attending ALA Legislative Day was certainly one of the highlights of my year. Imagine my surprise when, instead of meeting with an aide as expected, we were ushered into the office to meet with my congressman himself.

Another high spot for me was attending the VLA Paraprofessional Forum Annual Conference. All VLA can be proud of our Paraprofessional Forum. Not only are they nationally recognized and award-winning, but they also put on a really good conference. I recommend it to all VLA members.

One of our goals was to improve our website and add some online services. Input from the task force chaired by Past President Sam Clay and many hours of work by Steve Helm, our webmaster, allowed our executive director to be able to process credit card payments online, both a cost- and time-saving measure. Online registration debuted in October, just in time for the fall conference. The revamped www. vla.org is still in process, but we are very excited about its new look and the planned use of blogs to facilitate more participation from the membership.

A special thanks goes to Laura Speer, who, in addition to her regular duties as chair of the Awards Committee, took on the task of scheduling the VLA centennial exhibit, which is still available for display in your library.

As I write this, our fall conference is just around the corner. I have no doubt that it will be successful, but since I don't want to jinx anything, I won't brag. I do want to let Mary McMahon and John Halliday, cochairs, and the Conference Committee know how much I appreciate all their hard work and the many phone calls they had to make to line up speakers and sponsors.

I am pleased that we were able to add some extra content to our VLA Council meetings. After a discussion of membership issues, Second Vice President Libby Lewis agreed to chair an ad hoc committee on the subject. As with many VLA undertakings, this is one that will cover more than one year.

On my personal checklist, I enjoyed being VLA president. I would recommend the position to others. Although on occasion I felt overwhelmed with extra work, this was usually only in spurts, not continuously. I did learn something about myself and organization and time management (more to accomplish here, too).

I would have liked to have more opportunity to get to know individual members of the VLA Council. Maybe that can happen in the coming year now that I am past president. And of course I need to thank the members of Executive Council: Sam Clay, Pat Howe, Lydia Williams, Sue Burton, and Libby Lewis. We have been a good team and I have enjoyed our camaraderie.

Last, but not least, I will always be grateful to Linda Hahne. As our executive director, she is the keystone of the Virginia Library Association. Her productivity and quality of work never fail to amaze me. I wish her many more happy years with VLA.

So that was my year as VLA president. I think it was a pretty good year, but I am very happy to have passed the gavel to my successor. Good luck, Pat. May you have a good year, too. VL


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