2020 VLA Election of Officers:
Candidate Statements & Biographies

The election of the 2020 Virginia Library Association (VLA) Officers opens August 1, 2019, and will close on September 6, 2019.

Remember, in order to vote in the election you MUST BE A MEMBER OF VLA (Affiliate, Individual or Life Member.) You are always welcome to become a member or renew your membership.

Good luck to all of our candidates! The winners of the election will join the following previously-elected members of the VLA Executive Committee.


2020 VLA Candidate Biographical Information & Candidate Statements

Candidates for Vice President/President Elect (3-year position):

Joslyn Bowling Dixon (Prince William Public Library System)

Joslyn Bowling Dixon’s Biographical Information

Joslyn Dixon is running for 2020 VLA Vice President/President-electJoslyn Bowling Dixon is the Assistant Director for the Prince William Library System, serving Prince William County, Virginia, Manassas, and Manassas Park, VA. Joslyn has a wealth and depth of public library knowledge that spans 22 years of public library experience that includes supervising service to children and young adults, branch management, and experience at the administrative level in urban and suburban public library systems In Illinois, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. Joslyn has been an active member of ALA serving on the Coretta Scott King Awards Executive Committee as the chair of the Marketing Committee from 2015-2017 and has presented multiple times at ALA annual about spaces, places and literature for teens. Currently, Joslyn is an active ALA, PLA and LITA (Library and Information Technology Association) member, serving as a national advisor for ALA’s Great Stories Club, which is a reading and discussion program that gives underserved youth the opportunity to read, reflect, and share ideas on topics that resonate with them. Since 2006, the Great Stories Club has reached more than 700 libraries and 30,000 young adults, using the public library as an effective catalyst and platform for change. Joslyn also serves on LITA’s AvramCamp Scholarship Committee, which this year awarded 5 scholarships to attend this ALA pre-conference free of charge. The AvramCamp Pre-Conference Workshop takes place at the ALA Annual Conference and the objective of the day long workshop is to create a support network and increase participation from underrepresented groups, especially within technology corridors of librarianship to ensure equitable access to information.

Joslyn is a member of the Public Libraries Program Advisory Committee for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), Southeastern/Atlantic Region (SEA). Members of this committee were selected for their expert knowledge of public libraries and commitment to act as conduits of information within their home institution and to support health information outreach to the community.

Since crossing over the Potomac from DC Public Library in 2016 to the Virginia side, Joslyn has been an active member of VLA, presenting a Lightning Talk on the concept of 10 Foot Pole Conversations, which are important hot topics that no one wants to touch with a 10 foot pole, but should. This talk became the catalyst of creating a 10 Foot Pole Conversation system-wide workgroup at PWPLS that includes staff from all service areas of the library and six other workgroups in which staff at all levels come together to collaborate on collection development, staff development, programming, and outreach in a strategic way and include, the Economically Challenged, Services to Seniors, Girls Who Code, and Lifelong Learning, Equity and Diversity, Health Matters @ PWPLS, and Adulting 101.

At the 2018 Virginia Library Association Conference, Joslyn presented two sessions: “Virginia’s Hidden History on Film” and “Racial Healing Through Diverse Stories: Who’s Doing This?” The 2018 VLA Conference also marked the beginning of the VLA Librarians of Color Meetup, which Joslyn spearheaded and organized.  From that small seed and by collaborating with the attendees at the conference meetup, Joslyn was able to facilitate VLA Librarians of Color Mentorship Meetups in Region 3, 5 and 6, has established a VLA Librarians of Color Facebook page, and is currently working on submitting a proposal to form an official VLA Forum for Librarians of Color. Additionally, Joslyn is an active member of the New Member Roundtable and serves as a mentor in the NMRT Mentor/Mentee Program and is an active member of the Deputy Director COG for Maryland. DC, and Virginia.

Joslyn has a B.A. in English from Hampton University and earned her MLIS in 2008 at Dominican University.

Joslyn Bowling Dixon’s Candidate Statement:

Platform

I am running for the office of Vice President for VLA because I would like to continue being active within the organization and I have a vision for new initiatives that would positively impact the organization at all levels. VLA has provided me with a supportive and welcoming professional environment, and I’d like to pay that forward by actively ensuring everyone has a seat at the table and has the same experience I have had thus far.

Goals:

  • Establish Librarians of Color and Library Technology in Action Forums: With the population of the librarian field currently at 80 percent white female, there is a real need for support, visibility, mentorship, encouragement, fellowship and leadership for and by librarians of color that this group would provide.
  • Technology: Technology is near and dear to my heart, and to remain relevant, librarians must understand and be comfortable with the latest and greatest in electronic resources, voice enabled technology, robotics, coding, virtual reality, smart phone apps and more. This forum would provide training, technology petting zoos, and grant and technology funding opportunities for all corners of the state.
  • “Everything You Never Learned in Library School” Bootcamps:  How do you a do a story time? Do after a natural disaster? Manage a collection budget? Manage a staff? React in an emergency? Negotiate your salary? Create staff schedules? Prepare to present to the county board? There are so many things that many of us have had to learn the hard knocks way or have never learn at all once we start working in a library post-graduation. The programs in this series would be available remotely and in person and serve as the library “cheat code” to a better, well trained and prepared workforce.
  • In State MLS Programs: Collaborate and coordinate with current pending in state library and information science program and create satellite sites in at least 3 VLA regions to help grow and retain new library professionals.

Tom Shepley (Pamunkey Regional Library System)

Tom Shepley’s Biographical Information:

Tom Shepley is running for 2020 VLA Vice President/President-electTom Shepley is the director of the Pamunkey Regional Library (PRL), the public library serving Goochland, Hanover, King and Queen, and King William counties, with 135 great employees provide great library services through 10 branches. His library career began with cutting the lawn and shoveling the sidewalk at the public library in his hometown of Charles City, IA. In addition to PRL and Chesterfield County Public Library in Virginia, he has also worked at libraries in Iowa, North Carolina and South Carolina, serving as reference, government documents, and technology librarian, webmaster, library consultant, and library director. His wife, Jen Shepley, is a librarian with the Chesterfield County Public Library and they have 3 children. Tom’s mother, father and sister all are former library employees.

A member of Virginia Library Association (VLA) since 2005, Tom has been a member of Legislative Committee for the past 10 years, administering the email contact tools or serving as Co-Chair or Chair nearly the entire time. If you have been a member of VLA during this time, you have probably received email from him asking for your assistance with advocacy for libraries.

He has assisted with nearly every political or legislative issue that has faced VLA during his membership on Legislative Committee, including censorship, intellectual freedom, threats to library jobs and of course State Aid to Public Libraries. The Legislative Committee team has had numerous successes over this period, defeating unfavorable legislation, minimizing or defeating threats to State Aid, and working to increase State Aid by almost $2 million dollars since the end of the Great Recession. As an advocate for public libraries, Tom contributes personal funds and coordinates the contributions of other library supporters on behalf of Virginia’s libraries.

Tom is a past member of state library associations in Iowa, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and held posts including Chair of the Government Documents Round Table, and Secretary and Vice-President of the South Carolina Library Association. He is a long-time member of the American Library Association (ALA) and the Public Library Association (PLA), where he served PLA Partners Committee as a member and Chair. Tom currently serves as Treasurer for the Virginia Public Library Directors Association, and is a past member of the North Carolina Library Directors Association and its Legislative Committee.

He is also active in his community, teaching middle school religious education and participating in the Knights of Columbus at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Bon Air. He currently serves as Treasurer of the C. E. Curtis Elementary School PTA.

Tom Shepley’s Candidate Statement

It is an honor to be nominated for Vice-President/President-Elect of our Association, and I thank you for this opportunity.  I also thank the other candidates that are standing for election for their willingness to serve.

I believe our united strength as members of the library profession and the Virginia Library Association is great. As a long-time active member of VLA, I am well prepared to fulfill the duties as Vice-President/President-Elect of VLA. I will leverage the relationships, knowledge, and skills I have developed as a library advocate into a new role as a member of VLA’s Executive Council. In addition, my goal is to further improve the support that VLA provides to all of us, and this includes fully funding State Aid for Public Libraries, an effort that will reach every corner of Virginia and give library staff new opportunities to serve and improve their communities with more than $11 million in additional funding for public libraries. The only limits to what we can do are those which we define. You, the members of this Association, are doing great things, and it would be my honor to serve as your Vice-President/President-Elect as together we advance our public libraries. our communities, and our Association.


Candidates for VLA 2nd Vice President (2-year position):

Regina S. Carter (University of Virginia)

Regina S. Carter’s Biographical Information

Regina Carter is running for 2020 VLA 2nd Vice PresidentRegina Sierra Carter is a 2019 American Library Association Emerging Leader and a Teaching and Learning Librarian at the University of Virginia (UVA).

Carter strives to ensure that the UVA Library is a place where all are welcome and receive the information, tools, and support that they need to succeed at UVA and in life.

Carter earned her B.A. in English from the University of South Carolina-Columbia, an Ed.M. in Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from UIUC.

She is a former Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Indonesia and her research interests include the following: diversity, inclusion and accessibility, multicultural children's literature, and storytelling.

Regina S. Carter's Candidate Statement:

Commitment. Compassion. Community.

These attributes epitomize the essence of my existence.

For the past two years, I have served as Program Coordinator for the UVA Library’s High School Internship Program where I work with a committee of deeply dedicated, talented library staff to provide local youth from underrepresented backgrounds with an opportunity to engage in a paid week-long internship within the UVA Library. Serving in this capacity necessitates that I create detailed records of program successes, challenges (which I lovingly refer to as opportunities) and develop recommendations for improvement. 

I am also a co-organizer for VLA’s Librarians of Color Meet-Up in Charlottesville. In this role, I help organize gatherings where library staff of color (from academic, public, school and special libraries) within the area can convene, support one another, and share professional development opportunities.

Since 2018, I have served as the UVA Library Staff Council (LSC) Vice-Chair. Serving in this capacity has provided me with invaluable preparation to become the Virginia Library Association’s (VLA) Second Vice-Chair. In my current role as the LSC’s Vice-Chair, I collaborate with LSC members as well as the Executive Committee to thoughtfully examine and recommend revisions to our bylaws. In addition to carefully reviewing bylaws, I prioritize connecting with my colleagues at all levels to learn about their interests and aspirations as well as encourage them to run for open seats on library staff council.

I am humbled and honored to be nominated for Virginia Library Association’s Second Vice President position. If elected to serve as VLA’s Second Vice President, I will utilize my time, talents, energy and enthusiasm to ensure thatVLA’s bylaws and manuals are accessible and up-to-date while working to ensure that an inclusive, diverse “clearinghouse” of interested VLA candidates is maintained. Thank you very for your time, attention and for considering my candidacy.  


Angela K. W. Harvey (University of Virginia-Wise)

Angie Harvey’s Biographical Information

Angela Harvey is running for 2020 VLA 2nd Vice PresidentAngie Harvey is currently the Assistant Director for Public Services at the Library at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Angie began her career in Wise as a reference librarian in 2006. Later that year she took the Assistant Director for Public Services position.

At UVA’s College at Wise, Angie works with the campus community as the advisor for two student groups, Spirit Haven and the LGBTA. Before coming to Wise, Angie was the Head of Circulation at the Paul Meek Library at the University of Tennessee at Martin and an adjunct for the English and Modern Foreign Languages Department (2002-2004). Angie also worked as an Instructor of English while at UTM (2004-2006).

Angie holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, as well as a Master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Alabama, and a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in American Studies from the University of Virginia. Angie has been involved with VLA since her return to the Commonwealth in 2002, particularly in conferences and programs that involve education and diversity.

Angie Harvey’s Candidate Statement:

VLA is an important organization because it connects libraries not only from across the state but also the often-distant worlds of academic and public libraries. This is a connection that is frequently neglected, and not something that we can afford in a regionally isolated area like Wise. We need to work statewide to make sure that partnerships are being built between the two types of institutions. As a small rural college, our challenges are different from those of many of the schools in Virginia. VLA has continually supported programing for understanding diversity in libraries, both public and academic, and how to better educate people from all different backgrounds. Librarians coming from Southwest Virginia often talk of how little attention our area gets, and I would like to help shed light on our area and our specific challenges as well as serve the larger part of the State. I am honored to be nominated for position of Second Vice-President, and would use my skills and knowledge to further the VLA in all of their goals and ensure the continued success of the organization.


Candice Benjes-Small (William & Mary Libraries)

Candice Benjes-Small’s Biographical Information

Candice Benjes-Small is running for 2020 VLA 2nd Vice PresidentCandice Benjes-Small is Head of Research for William & Mary Libraries. Previously, she was Head of Information Literacy & Outreach at Radford University, where she worked for 17 years.

A member of VLA since 2001, she became chair of the College and Research Libraries section in 2004. In that role, she expanded and rebranded the section, now called VLACRL. She has served as an officer of VLACRL multiple times, most recently as Past-Chair in 2016-2017.  With assistance from other officers, she organized the first VLACRL conference-within-a-conference, which led to a great increase in VLA attendance by academic librarians.  She has served on the VLA Conference Committee three times.  She created the VLACRL summer regional meetings, established bylaws and documentation for the VLACRL forum, and has organized numerous spring programs. She is co-founder and co-chair of The Innovative Library Classroom (TILC), a very popular regional conference co-sponsored by VLA and VLACRL.  With other academic and public librarians in the state, she launched VLA’s first Presentation Academy. She currently serves as a mentor through the VLA NMRT program. Candice received the VLA Presidential Citation in 2013 and the VLA Academic Library Innovator Award in 2017.

She holds a BA in history from Haverford College and an MLIS from University of Texas at Austin.

Candice Benjes-Small’s Candidate Statement:

When I moved to Virginia in 2001, my new library director recommended I join VLA.  It was one of the best pieces of professional advice I’ve received, and I’ve made the same suggestion to many other librarians.  VLA is a vibrant, active state association with many opportunities for its members.  As my biography reflects, I’ve had a lot of professional development ideas, and VLA has provided the structure to help me to make my visions become reality.  I would love to give back to the Virginia Library Association as Second Vice President and am honored to be nominated for the position.

I believe my experience would serve me well as Second Vice President.  Having lived and worked on both sides of the Commonwealth, I have built an extensive professional network encompassing both public and academic librarians; these connections would help me fill open VLA positions, one of the main responsibilities of the Second Vice President.  I am also very familiar with maintaining and updating bylaws and manuals. When I became chair of the then-College and Research Libraries section, I was interested in learning more about its connection to ACRL. Upon learning that the section serves as both the academic arm of VLA and the Virginia chapter of ACRL, I investigated the expectations and guidelines of each organization, reconciled differences, and captured the final forum bylaws in written form.  In addition to having the skills to fulfill the obligations of Second Vice President, I would also bring an interest in and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in libraries. I would welcome the opportunity to find ways to further DEI initiatives through my seat on VLA Council.

I have been a proud and enthusiastic member of VLA for nearly 20 years.  I promise to bring my strong project management skills and efficient organizational abilities to the Second Vice Presidency and appreciate your consideration.


Candidate for VLA Treasurer (2-year position):

Bill Edwards-Bodmer (Suffolk Public Library)

Bill Edwards-Bodmer’s Biographical Information

Bill Edwards-Bodmer is running for 2020 VLA TreasurerBill Edwards-Bodmer holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University; a Master of Arts in History from Old Dominion University; and a Master of Science in Information from Florida State University. His library career has spanned all types of libraries from The Mariners’ Museum Library to Old Dominion University Libraries to Norfolk Public Library. He currently works at Suffolk Public Library as Collection Strategy Senior Librarian.

His main interests include access to information and striving to ensure all citizens of Suffolk have easy and equitable access to the library’s information and services. Through over ten years of library experience at academic, special, and public libraries, he has witnessed first-hand the positive impact that innovative and forward-thinking library policies and programming can have on a community.

He has brought this experience and passion for service to VLA through service on the Annual Conference Committee, Jefferson Cup Committee, and currently as Chair of the New Members Roundtable Forum.

Bill Edwards-Bodmer’s Candidate Statement:

The Virginia Library Association has been instrumental in my growth as a professional librarian. I feel I wouldn’t be where I am now without the connections, support, and experience I’ve gained by being involved with VLA. Being connected with VLA has only further confirmed my decision to pursue professional librarianship as a career. As librarian, I am dedicated to service and supporting those that walk through my library’s doors. VLA performs that same role for the librarians and staff that walk through its doors. It would be a great honor for me to continue to serve VLA and all of Virginia’s library folk as Treasurer.

I believe my skills and background would serve me well in the role of Treasurer. I am detail-oriented and would be a mindful steward of VLA’s funds to ensure VLA remains financially strong and able to continue its role in supporting Virginia’s libraries. I have budgeting experience through my current position as Collection Strategy Senior Librarian at Suffolk Public Library, as well as past positions, and understand the importance of maintaining sound financial records. Through my service on two Annual Conference Committees, the Jefferson Cup Committee, and the New Member’s Roundtable Forum, I have witnessed first-hand the active and enthusiastic support the Executive Committee provides in supporting and promoting Virginia’s libraries and information services. I would love the opportunity to continue my service in VLA as your next Treasurer.


Diane Marion Rebertus (Gloucester Public Library)

Diane Rebertus is running for 2020 VLA Treasurer

Diane Marion Reburtus’s Biographical Information

Diane Marion Rebertus was born and raised in North Carolina. She married and moved north for several years.  During this time, she found a part-time job in a Maryland library system.She worked hard, found full-time library employment, climbed the ladder, earned her MLIS and the rest is history!

In 2010 she accepted a director position for the Gloucester County Public Library in Gloucester County, Virginia. Diane has immensely enjoyed all aspects of the job — staff, Friends of the Library, Trustees, and the public.

Diane Marion Reburtus’s Candidate Statement:

It is an honor to be nominated for the position of Treasurer for the Virginia Library Association.

The Association is vital to the profession of librarianship in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I welcome the opportunity to serve with my colleagues to promote and advance literacy and learning. I will be diligent in my responsibilities and will support initiatives for growth and development. I look forward to being able to give back to my library community by serving on the board.


Candidate for ALA Councilor (3-year position):

Maryska Connolly-Brown (Hampden-Sydney College)

Maryska Connolly-Brown’s Biographical Information:

Maryska Connolly-Brown is running for 2020 ALA CouncilorMaryska joined the Bortz Library at Hampden-Sydney College in 2015 as Technical Services Librarian. Before that she served as Electronic Resources Librarian and a library liaison to the College of Allied Health Sciences at the Medical College of Georgia. She obtained her MLIS at Valdosta State University in 2013. As Technical Services Librarian, she manages two full-time staff, and her department oversees acquisitions, cataloging, electronic resources, library systems, and the archive. She also advises incoming freshman and runs a variety of library programming for students including annual murder mystery nights, a permanent escape room, and regular Dungeons & Dragons games.

As a faculty librarian, Maryska has published in the Journal of Academic Librarianship, Journal of the Medical Library Association, The Reference Librarian, and Medical Reference Services Quarterly. She’s also published book reviews for the Georgia Library Quarterly and Farmville Magazine.

Maryska has been a member of VLA since moving to Virginia in 2015. She’s served as the chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Forum, and as both a judge and chair for the VLA Graphic Novel Diversity Award. In 2017, she was part of planning efforts for the first Path to Librarianship: VLA Diversity Career Night at the University of Richmond. Maryska has attended every VLA Annual Conference since joining, and has presented on a variety of topics from selecting an Integrated Library System to running a library escape room.

Maryska Connolly-Brown’s Candidate Statement:

When I was nine years old, I was fortunate to live within a couple of blocks of a small public library. I could be found there every afternoon after school (and most of the summer) curled up with a book or attending one of the many wonderful events. I spent so much time at Nancy Carson Library that the librarians allowed me to help pack up the stacks when they moved to the new building several miles across town. I cried into each and every one of those boxes knowing that my days of easy access to the library were over. Coming from a poor family, I knew firsthand how valuable the public library was and continues to be. Libraries — be they public, academic, or otherwise — are a great equalizer freely offering knowledge, entertainment, internet access, information experts, and a sense of community. That nine-year-old girl grew up to be a first generation college student who tapped the resources of her college library extensively and used the public library to job hunt before she had a computer at home. It should come as no surprise that I was drawn to a career that would allow me to provide those services to others.

Since entering the library profession, I’ve worn many hats — from circulation to library systems. Today I am the Technical Services Librarian at Hampden-Sydney College. In addition to my library work, I advise freshman, am a faculty advisor for the Chess and Strategy Game Club, run library programming (including murder mysteries, Dungeons & Dragons, and an escape room), and occasionally teach. During the last four years with the VLA, I chaired the Diversity and Inclusion Forum, and served as a judge and later chair of the Graphic Novel Diversity Award. Chairing the Diversity Award required strong networking and social media skills, attention to detail, and the ability to promote the award and solicit nominations from publishers. I think many of these skills translate well to the position of ALA Councilor. If elected, I would put my passion for libraries as a critical tool for democracy, equality, and knowledge to work. Now, more than ever, our voices should be heard.


Lucinda Rush Wittkower (Old Dominion University Libraries)

Lucinda Rush Wittkower is running for 2020 ALA Councilor

Lucinda Rush Wittkower’s Biographical Information

Lucy Wittkower is currently the Head of Teaching & Learning Initiatives at the Old Dominion University Libraries. She began her career in libraries at Coastal Carolina University in 2009 and was the Education Librarian at ODU from 2012-2017. Lucy is a current member of VLA and ALA/ACRL. She has served in VLA as a member of the Scholarship Committee, Scholarship Committee chair and co-chair, and most recently as chair and past-chair of VLACRL. She was also a member of the conference planning committee in 2017.

She was a middle school music teacher for ten years prior to becoming a librarian and is currently a Ph.D. student in ODU’s Educational Psychology & Program Evaluation program.

Lucy Rush Wittkower’s Candidate Statement

I have been a member of VLA since I started working as a librarian in Virginia in 2012. My first experience with VLA was attending the annual conference in Williamsburg in 2012. Since then, the numerous networking opportunities that VLA has provided have resulted in professional collaborations and lasting working relationships with librarians that I would not have met if it were not for VLA programs. Early on during my time with VLA I participated in the Presentation Academy, which gave me the opportunity to be mentored by colleagues and gave me the confidence and skills to begin presenting at regional and national conferences. I then participated in the Virginia Library Leadership Academy (VALLA) which helped me to develop more leadership skills and to meet and learn more about public libraries and their work in Virginia. As co-chair and chair of the Scholarship Committee I organized our application review process and fundraiser. As chair of VLACRL my primary duty was to plan and implement our Spring Program. As past chair I coordinated the peer-review process and the planning for VLACRL’s track at the 2018 conference in Williamsburg. I have attended VLA Council meetings and learned about the massive amount of behind the scenes work of the organization. While much of my professional service has been focused at the state level, I have also served at the national level as a member of the ALA New Members Round Table EndNotes Committee as well as in ACRL as a member of the EBBS ERIC Users Committee.

I believe that I have the devotion to the profession and the communication, analytical, and organizational skills needed to serve in the role as ALA Councilor. As a musician and former teacher, I developed the skill of seeing and developing the small details that contribute to the big picture prior to my career in librarianship. I believe that this skill will be very beneficial in the role as ALA Councilor, as I learn about the big picture of ALA and then apply the details in the context of the interests of VLA membership. I look forward to the opportunity to serve as a liaison between VLA and ALA and representing the interests of the VLA membership at ALA council meetings and on the ALA Chapter Relations Committee, and I am happy to represent VLA at ALA Legislative Day each year of my term. As I have demonstrated in my past service to VLA, I am fully committed to the work and time required of this role. Election to this position would be an honor, and I am grateful to have been nominated to run for this position.


Candidate for VLA Life Membership

Janet L. Crowther (Williamsburg Regional Library)

Janet L. Crowther’s Biographical Information

During her thirty-one years at Williamsburg Regional Library (WRL), Janet L. Crowther has filled a variety of roles in the library, from reference librarian to interim director. In all of her positions, Janet’s work has reflected her high standards and a strong commitment to public service. Throughout her time in libraries, she has always looked for areas where libraries can collaborate or partner with other organizations in the community. These efforts have helped to make WRL an important and valued institution in the greater Williamsburg area.

During her career at WRL, Janet has given back to the library community whenever and wherever she could. She has presented at state and national library conferences on a range of topics from partnering to delivering mobile library services to serving the homeschooler community. She also co-authored the book Partnering with Purpose, a guide for libraries interested in building effective collaborations with local organizations. Her willingness to share her knowledge, her commitment to serving users, and her thoughtful and strong leadership exemplify the traits you look for in a librarian. Her work here in Virginia over the past three decades merits the award of a lifetime VLA membership.

Janet began at the library as a part-time reference librarian, arriving at WRL in 1988, after several years working as a law librarian and as Public Library Consultant for the Idaho State Library. During the 1990s, she actively pursued several major projects to improve service to library users. In 1997, Janet began a series of conversations with the Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital (SWCH) on delivery of cancer resources that led to the development of a partnership between WRL and SWCH to establish a cancer resource center, housed at the library. The Phillip West Memorial Cancer Resource Center has been recognized with a variety of awards, including VLA's George Mason Award. In 2000, based on her work developing this relationship, Janet moved into a new position, Community Partnership Development Director. Here, she coordinated all library-wide partnering efforts. Over the years, her work has resulted in the establishment of over 25 formal partnerships with local governments, businesses, and community groups. Each of these partnerships has allowed the library to reach new users, gain feedback from the community, develop and promote new resources, and increase community access to information. Libraries often provide outreach services directed at individuals &mdash: building a patron base on a person-by-person basis. Janet’s innovation has been to work through community gatekeeper organizations, reaching new users and providing new resources through institutions that already have developed strong trusting relationships with their members. Janet also was responsible for developing WRL's long-running partnership with the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools, now entering its 18th year.

As the library's Outreach Services Director, Janet next guided the development of WRL's community collaborations, as well as expanding outreach services to the adult community through programs in local continuing care facilities. In June 2014, Janet moved into her current position as Assistant Director, supervising the library’s public service divisions and continuing to demonstrate the thoughtful leadership that is her hallmark. When the library lost its director in 2016, Janet stepped in and kept WRL on course as Interim Director for nine months. Again, her collaborative leadership and concern for and commitment to library users helped the library through a difficult time, including playing a critical role with the successful completion of the library foundation’s first-ever capital campaign.

Janet’s work at Williamsburg Regional Library has shaped the library profession in Virginia and nationally. She is admired and appreciated by both staff and the community for her skills, dedication, work ethic, and approachability. As she retires, this work merits recognition with a VLA lifetime membership.


The election of the 2020 Virginia Library Association (VLA) Officers opens August 1, 2019, and will close on September 6, 2019.