Letter from VLA President Todd Elliott: May 2018

Greetings VLA Colleagues!

I was thumbing through the most recent issue of American Libraries when the article on emerging leaders caught my eye. I observed so many different faces who worked in different types of libraries working on exciting team projects that mattered such as defending LGBTQ materials in school libraries to collecting oral histories to strategic member engagement and so on. They came from different backgrounds, unified for a common cause.

One of the great things about library management is taking the time and attention to develop leadership from within.  A professional associate staff member in my department had an opportunity to apply her knowledge working with children to serving on an interview panel for a similar position – an assignment she did not want to perform. I know because she told me. More than once. It may be important to know that I enjoy a collegial relationship with my Portsmouth Public Library team and have encouraged them to openly share their feelings about the workplace. Do they ever! Anyway, I explained why this would be a good experience for her but this was going to happen because I said so (don’t judge me – many of you know that I am a military veteran). Well, you may have guessed, she enjoyed taking part in bringing new talent to the department and thanked me for “making” her do it.

I say all of this because we are in the home stretch for the 2018 Professional Associates Conference with the theme “Other Duties as Assigned.” There is a late fee at this point but I hope that you emerging leaders reading this newsletter will want to join your colleagues who hail from different types of libraries and add your unique voice to the conversation. It’s this diversity of ideas that give strength to your association and to Virginia’s libraries and this, my friends, is the beauty of coming together with purpose.  

Thanks for taking the time to read your newsletter! Feel free to give me a shout at [email protected].