Back when I was a newly minted college undergraduate, I nervously attended a freshman orientation forum during which one of the college staff members asked us to consider one simple question: “Now that you’re here, where are you going?” Many of us snickered, since it was the type of question that begged for a response full of sarcasm. However, once the initial laughter died down and I began to think more about it, I realized that the facilitator had made a very good point. It is a thought-provoking proposition that applies to every activity in which we choose to participate, and a question that I’ve asked myself often throughout my life. Now that I have decided to do something, where will I go with it?
Fast-forwarding twenty-some odd years, as I sat down to write this column for Virginia Libraries, I began to think about the changes I have witnessed since becoming a member of the Virginia Library Association (VLA), and how much the association has evolved during that time. So many new initiatives have been introduced: a revitalized College and Research Libraries Forum reinforced the need for our organization to support programming for academic libraries; the Leadership Development Forum created the Virginia Library Leadership Academy as an intensive two-day program to develop substantial leadership and management skills for participants working in Virginia libraries; and the New Members Round Table Forum exploded with new activities that not only attracted new members but also nourished and encouraged them to become involved in the organization. These are just a handful of the ideas and enterprises that were brought forth by members just like you — innovators who, after becoming a member of the organization, saw opportunities for growth and change.
Of course these new initiatives were all built upon a solid foundation formed by longstanding programs such as the annual VLA and VLAPF Conferences, through which our peers never fail to provide top-notch continuing education opportunities. The Legislative Committee tirelessly seeks to promote libraries to the legislature, participates in ALA’s National Library Legislative Day, and informs association members of important governmental matters relevant to our libraries’ needs. On a quarterly basis, Virginia Libraries publishes book reviews, conference summaries, and important articles of interest to our association.
I wish to point out these committees and activities as mere examples of the varied and diverse opportunities for involvement that remain open to members of VLA. In fact, I invite you to examine the inside back cover of this issue to further explore the 2013 VLA Council list, which will give you a better idea of the committees and forums on which you could participate. No matter where your interests lie, there is a committee or forum for you. Or, if you see a void that should be filled, come work with us. Professional associations grow and thrive as the result of new ideas, and we will always welcome them!
Whether you are a new or seasoned member of VLA, whether this is your first year in the Association or your thirtieth — or perhaps you participated in the past and you needed to take a break — there is a place for you in the Virginia Library Association and I invite you to join us. However, I must also ask you to consider the question: Now that you’re here, where are you going?