Letter from VLA President Todd Elliott: April 2018

Greetings VLA Colleagues!

I write this little piece on National Library Workers Day (April 10) which means two things. First, this article is coming out much later than you deserve (my apologies), but this was also a day that we in Portsmouth were able to celebrate the important work we do. Our children’s librarian, Rachel Enrich, makes sure that we have goodies, incentives, and a handwritten “thank you” to each staff member from the director.

I am experiencing a touch of writer’s cramp – we have 40 staff receiving them – but it has become a tradition that means something to my coworkers and it makes me feel good to do this.

What do you do to celebrate each other? NLWD is a point on the calendar but we can share something positive anytime.

Behind the scenes at VLA, we continue to advocate for libraries across the Commonwealth such as “Dear Appropriator” letters to Senator Warner and Senator Kaine asking for them to support federal library funding, including funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). As an independent grant-making agency, IMLS provides more than $210 million for libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and its Grants to States program. In just the past five years, libraries in Virginia have received a total of $18.5 million through this program. That’s an average of $3.7 million annually. VLA believes that Virginia officials, not the federal government, decide how best to use LSTA funds to promote innovation, lifelong learning, research and access to information for patrons across the Commonwealth. In addition, Virginia is required to provide a 1/3 match for LSTA funding, which means that a cut in federal support likely means a cut in state support for libraries.

Ensuring that libraries have a voice is another reason to support your state library association – if you haven’t renewed your membership yet, now is as good a time as any. 2018 VLA Professional Associates Forum (VLAPAF) Conference is happening at Newport News Marriott May 21. The theme is "Other Duties as Assigned" which is something that ALL of us can relate to, and keynote speakers will be Mauricio Velasquez of the Diversity Training Group and local author Lydia Netzer! Here is an excellent opportunity for professional associates across the Commonwealth to come together to network and learn and a great opportunity for managers to show their support. For more information and online registration, scurry over to www.vla.org.

Thank you for taking the time to peruse the newsletter. Questions? Comments? Rude remarks? Feel free to give me a shout at elliottt@portsmouthva.gov.

Cheers,
Todd