The VLA 2022 Election of Officers will open on August 1.

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

    • Candidates for Vice President/President Elect (3-year position):
    • Candidates for Second Vice-President (3-year position):
    • Candidates for VLA Treasurer (2-year position): 

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


2021 VLA Candidate Biographical Information & Candidate Statements


 

Candidate for Vice President/President Elect (3-year position): Margaret Howard

Biography

I am a branch manager at Chesterfield County Public Library, where I have worked for 10 years. Librarianship is my third career, having first taught English in Beijing, China, then moving back to the US to work in finance for several years, before deciding to return to my first love, the library. Raised in North Carolina, I received my MLIS from UNC Greensboro in 2010 and shortly after relocated to the Richmond area, where I have lived happily ever since. Throughout my work as a librarian I have greatly enjoyed my involvement in VLA, where I have made many connections over the years attending and presenting at conferences and serving on committees.

In 2013 I was named an ALA Emerging Leader and have also been a member of many ALA committees over the past decade. I served as VLA NMRT Chair 2014-2015, and recently enjoyed working with the VLA Conference Committee 2020 and am pleased to be serving on this committee again this year, helping to plan our 2021 VLA Conference. I am also excited to be currently serving on the 2021 VLA Continuing Education Committee and working together to see what we can offer our association members in the coming year. In addition to my professional and committee work, I have been a regular book reviewer for BookList since 2018.

Candidate Statement

Throughout 2020 and into 2021 we have seen how vital library services are to our communities, and as in-person services became difficult to maintain, library workers found innovative ways to provide essential services to their communities. From running curbside services, curating new digital offerings for patrons and students, virtual programming, and creating new forms of communication to stay in touch with our customers, library staff across the Commonwealth rose to a challenge they never could have predicted. Through this tremendous effort, libraries remained a crucial part of their communities and institutions. Access to the information and the resources we provide, including digital materials, was a lifeboat to those whose lives were suddenly upended by school closures, event cancellations, job losses, health crises, and many other new and unexpected experiences.

During the next few years VLA will continue supporting staff across the Commonwealth, and there will be moments for connection that we all will cherish after being forced apart for so long. There also will be challenges as we continue to reckon with the fallout of a global pandemic, its impacts on our services, staffing, and the challenges of adapting to a new normal. Innovative leadership and an ability to think critically while retaining a positive outlook are strengths of mine that would benefit the association during this time. In my work on many committees as well as managing a busy branch library, I’ve developed strong project management skills that are valuable whether it is in meetings, planning, or completing a project. As an adept communicator, I have learned to listen first and respond thoughtfully to confirm that everyone understands, and expectations are clear. While my ability to lead and inspire change are aptitudes I enjoy and excel at, I also have the experience and technical skills to ensure that the day-to-day work of association leadership is completed successfully.

I am excited for the future of our profession as library workers continue to support inclusion, diversity, and intellectual freedom for all, which I view as cornerstones of democracy. While I believe there is always work to be done, I’m proud to be in a field where so many are committed to these values as well. VLA’s continued effort to support workers with various backgrounds and experiences is something that has been of great value to me, and I would love to be a part of leadership moving forward. I am so honored to be nominated and sincerely thank you for your consideration.


Candidate for Vice President/President Elect (3-year position): Kimberly Knight

Biography

Kimberly is currently the Deputy Director at Alexandria Library.  After receiving her MLIS from UCLA, she has worked in public libraries serving all ages in urban and suburban settings from Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, DC, Maryland, and California. She’s held positions as Area Manager, Branch Manager, Manager of Accessibility Services, Youth Services Selector, Children’s Librarian, and Library Assistant. 

Professional associations are a constant inspiration for Kimberly. She has been active with the Virginia Library Association for many years. In 2013, she co-presented on the Book Dating for Singles program at conference in Williamsburg.  Additionally, Kimberly served twice on the Conference Planning Committee; chaired the Conference Planning Social Media sub-committee; attended the Presenters Pre-Conference, presented a webinar for VLA called, Reimagined: Tips & Tricks for New Managers, served on the Officer’s Nominating Committee, and most recently chaired the sub-committee that drafted the new Librarians of Color Award.  Formerly she served on the DC Library Association’s Board. At the national level, Kimberly is Chair of the Public Libraries Magazine Advisory Board and serving her second term as an ALA Councilor-at-Large. She previously served as Co-President of the California Librarian’s Black Caucus, ALSC Great Websites for Children, on The ALA Century Scholarship Award Jury, PLA Conference Planning Subcommittee, and member of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA). 

Kimberly has more than 20 years of experience in library leadership. She has completed continuous formal leadership training including the ALA and PLA Leadership Academies, and Toastmasters. She trained other library professionals by presenting on management and leadership at local and national conferences, in webinars, and has written for library journals. 

 A recent direct report described Kimberly as, “a librarian’s librarian” in that she is passionate about libraries, active in professional associations, and has a vast network of contacts in the profession while remaining open, engaged, and inspired by the work we do in libraries of all types. She looks forward to the opportunity to serve the Virginia Library Association as Vice-President/President Elect and to get to know you!  

Candidate Statement

Libraries speak to so many driving forces in my life: caring, fairness, sharing, diversity, advocacy, celebrating each other, and making a space for all at the table.  After graduating from UVA with a degree in African American Studies, I cast about for what to do next.  I wanted a meaningful profession, that helped others to achieve personal and professional goals, helped with vital information, and celebrated everyone’s membership in a dynamic and diverse community—sometimes quiet, sometimes a party, and always making a difference.  

The first time I saw that possibility was when I moved to Oakland, CA and began taking my toddler to the children’s story times at the Lake Merritt Branch Library.  We met a welcoming children’s librarian who re-introduced me to the library: a dynamic place for information, entertainment, and free events that highlight diverse history, cultural, and celebratory moments in our communities. The librarian told me about a Library Assistant opening at the African American Museum and Library at the Oakland Public Library. When I began working there, my career was born!  

Throughout my rewarding career in libraries, I’ve worn many hats: children’s librarian, young adult librarian, storyteller, reference librarian, magician’s assistant, branch manager, advocate, accessibility manager, part-time university librarian, community leader, and leader of managers in IT, finance, branches, training, a law library, and a local history/special collections branch.  I’ve welcomed new Americans, braided hair with teens, trained parents on early literacy, lobbied state and national elected officials, and hosted cultural programs such Latin dance, opera, ballet, African dance, theatre, tap, gospel, and historical re-enactors. I’ve advocated for the profession, users, and diverse literature.  I’ve served on panels discussing diversity and inclusion in libraries as well as advocated for intellectual freedom. I’ve shared my growing knowledge on management and leadership in libraries locally, statewide and nationally.  I’ve performed outreach in schools, senior centers and in unexpected places like public parks, public health clinics, and even at an Ikea.  During the COVID-19 Pandemic, I led a small team in creating the Outdoor Computer Café to ensure library customers could have computer access even when our doors were closed.  All of my work in libraries has been driven by my passion for people, literature, stories, and thriving communities.   

One of my proudest moments in librarianship was speaking up for the Resolution on Monetary Library Fines as a Form of Social Inequity, 2018-2019 ALA CD#38 (Rev. 1/27), as an ALA Councilor in 2019,  http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/economicbarriers . In my 2.5 years on Council, I’d never addressed the group at any council meeting. This time, I shared one of my saddest experiences had been hearing parents tell their children they could not borrow from the library because they could not afford to pay fines. While the resolution had been aspirational, I am so proud every time a library can announce they’ve received the support from their jurisdiction to go fine free!  I think that resolution represents the best of who we are, caring advocates for our users who ensure equal access to information across socio-economic and other barriers.

As described in my biography, I’ve served in VLA in several capacities over the years and have been very active in many local, state, and national associations. My long and varied career in libraries inspires my vision to help our great organization continue finding new and innovative ways to make room under the VLA umbrella for a diverse, growing membership. Together we can accomplish this through our programming, continuing education opportunities, advocacy, committees, and wide variety of forums. Thank you for the opportunity to share my passions about libraries with you.  I look forward to the opportunity to serve as Vice-President/President Elect of VLA. Please honor me with your vote. 


 

Candidate for Second Vice-President (2-year position): Cynthia Hart

Biography

With varied experience in administration, supervision and programming, Cindy has worked as a public librarian for more than 30 years in progressively responsible positions with the Virginia Beach Public Library. For more than a decade, she managed the Library’s intranet and Internet sites including all virtual resources, services, and digital collections.  In addition, she established and managed the Library’s social media presence, coordinated gaming and multimedia projects as well as developed and implemented web 2.0 training and tools. Working with TagWhat, she led the Library to be the first in the nation to use augmented reality to boost local history collections and provide rich location-based storytelling.

She was responsible for planning and support for the Library Department’s integration of innovative technology initiatives and equipment. She recommended, designed, and implemented new programs system-wide. She was a trend-watcher and strategic planner, identifying and writing about emerging technologies, presenting analysis and proposals to guide planning and decision making.  In addition, she managed technology and technology programming, as well as shared daily responsibility for the TCC / City Joint-Use Library, a collaboration library between Tidewater Community College and the City of Virginia Beach.

Currently, she is the branch manager of the Oceanfront Area Library, located in the resort beach area of Virginia Beach.  Well versed in strategic planning and operations of both public and academic libraries, her qualifications are a unique combination of technological competence with managerial experience. She holds an B.S. in Business Administration / Economics from Old Dominion University and a M.S in Information Science from University of Tennessee at Knoxville. 

Candidate Statement

As a young child, I spent a lot of time in libraries. I was enchanted with words, books, and stories.  While I admired librarians, I never imagined that I’d be one when I grew up.  I chose the profession because it offers me an on-going opportunity to make a positive impact in my community.  Helping people thrive is an honorable vocation. It’s what libraries and librarians do.  I have a proven track record of delivering on the promise of preparing great plans for now and the future.

I want to work with each of you to create a vibrant future for libraries and the communities we serve.  How we do that depends on us.  We’re a strong profession that supports inclusion and diversity within our communities.  I promise to work to reframe challenges into opportunities, and cultivate the necessary mindset and skill sets to move the profession forward in a changing world.   


Candidate for Second Vice-President (2-year position): Alisha Barnes

Biography

Alisha is the Branch Manager of the Spotsylvania Towne Centre branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. Two things motivate Alisha, inspiring lifelong learning and welcoming people into libraries. Her entire career has been devoted to encouraging lifelong learning within her community.

During her undergraduate studies, Alisha volunteered as an intern at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Then, she went on to work as a Special Education Teacher while obtaining a Masters in Education. After a few years in education, she knew it was time to return to libraries. She worked as a School Library Media Specialist while obtaining her Masters in Library Science. After earning her MLS, Alisha returned to the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system for her first role as a degree-holding Librarian in Adult Services. Later, she moved into leadership roles within the organization.

Alisha has been an active member of VLA since she began studying to be a librarian. One of her favorite VLA memories was attending the VLA Conference as a student. She didn't really know anyone at the conference, but she learned so much. Since that first conference, she has met many more librarians across the state and enjoys the yearly opportunity to meet together and discuss new ideas. Alisha is currently the Chair of the Continuing Education Committee and serves as the Volunteer Coordinator on the 2021 VLA Conference Committee.

Candidate Statement

The Virginia Library Association is an organization that is critical to the professional development of library staff across the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am honored to be nominated to run as the Second Vice-President of VLA, an organization that has helped me to reach my own professional goals. As a candidate for Second Vice-President position, I would bring my passion for lifelong learning to promote opportunities for professional development and continuing education within all libraries in Virginia.

The association depends on active membership in order to complete the vast array of advocacy and continuing education activities. I would seek out opportunities to connect members with committees, forums, and projects to further expand the scope of our services to Virginia libraries.

One of the key roles for the Second Vice-President of VLA is to ensure that all units have a full complement of members, it would be my pleasure to continue to welcome new VLA members and encourage current members to become active within our committees and forums. I would do this by working closely with the committee and forum leaders, as well as library staff across the state, to stimulate participation in all regions of Virginia.


 

Candidate for Second Vice-President (2-year position): Zachary Elder

Biography

I hope to use my wide range of experience across Special Collections and Academic and Public Libraries to assist library professionals and the communities they serve across Virginia. 

My love for libraries dates back to my childhood in Ohio. It’s thanks to the Fairfield County District librarians not strictly enforcing the unattended child policy that has helped make me the person I am today. My first work in libraries came as a student assistant in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the Ohio State University. After graduation and several years in the software profession, I started my career at Duke University’s Rare Book and Manuscripts Library (now named after David M. Rubenstein) while attending North Carolina Central University’s School of Library and Information Science. 

Following graduation, I took my first management position, at the George Washington University Libraries. There, I helped improve access through creating a “service for fines” initiative for students and helped guide a major renovation of our public services floors. Later, as Acting Director of the Eckles Library, on the Mt. Vernon campus, I advocated for Open Educational Resources and textbooks. I also developed a safety and wellness fair with partners from across the University, as well as D.C. 

After years in academic libraries, I felt called to public service. I went on to serve in branch management roles with Newport News Public Library and Chesapeake Public Library (CPL). Currently, I serve as Assistant Director of CPL. I am proud of how our staff continue to go above and beyond—despite the pandemic - innovating, assisting other city departments, and adjusting services, all while keeping a strong public profile and maintaining the safety of customers and other staff. 

Candidate Statement

For those of you who have been at a recent VLA conference, I’m one of the smiling volunteer blurs you might see rushing by in-between sessions, or pestering you all to moderate or pass out box lunches. I can only promise that if selected I will bring that energy and positive attitude to the Executive Committee. 

And we’ll need it. We are at an important inflection point for our profession. The pandemic has tightened our budgets, yet Virginians need library services more than ever. We must retain and grow the trust of the public while simultaneously fighting disinformation in an increasingly divisive environment. We must advance diversity, equity, and inclusion while educating and communicating the benefits, even to groups that may be hostile to that advancement. 

Fortunately, now more than ever, people are aware of the services libraries provide. They know about the lives we enrich and the gaps we bridge. As libraries reopen and continue providing resources, services, spaces, and ourselves to our communities, we have and will need a strong association committed to advocating for our mission, our workers, and our customers. As Vice President, I will help Virginia libraries campaign for those needs that have been deferred or denied in the past. 

We must do this by matching our marketing to our audience. For economic developers and fiscal conservatives, we’ll demonstrate the Return-On-Investment ratio of 5:1 or higher and show that building a library branch raises property values around it so much that it more than pays for itself. For those concerned with quality-of-life, we’ll demonstrate libraries as the hubs of thought, culture, and art that make them the center of their community. For the Chamber of Commerce, we’ll point out the positive outcomes of library work in skills development and entrepreneurship. In academic libraries, we’ll point out to leaders that well-resourced libraries lead to higher student success, improved acceptance ratios, increased faculty retention, and positive accreditation outcomes. We’ll tailor our message and hammer it home. Because, as we have all learned from the pandemic, from the social justice movement, and from the ongoing struggle with disinformation that led to the Capitol insurrection, lives are at stake. 


Candidate for Treasurer (2-year position): Bonnie T. Shaw

Biography

Bonnie began her library journey in April 2011, working as a library assistant with Suffolk Public Libraries. Having no library experience prior to this, within a couple of months, she was reading for storytime to toddlers and preschoolers. She received great mentoring and guidance from the staff in Suffolk and returned to community college in 2012. It was when she started working for Portsmouth Public Libraries in 2013 that she discovered her love of cataloging. She graduated with an AS from Tidewater Community College in 2015 and transferred to Norfolk State University, receiving a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2017. Around the same time of her TCC graduation, she also began working for Slover Library with the Norfolk Public Libraries.

In 2018, Bonnie had, at the time, an opportunity of a lifetime. A cataloging assistant position opened at William & Mary Libraries. She applied, interviewed, and started working for William & Mary. She also got accepted at her first-choice graduate school, The University of Alabama. Bonnie graduated with her MLIS in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been working a hybrid schedule of in-person and telecommuting since being sent home due to the virus in March 2020.

Bonnie has been a member of VLA since 2015 and has served as the chair of the VLA Professional Associates Forum 2017-2018. She has also served on the VLA conference planning committee.

Candidate Statement

It is an honor to run for Treasurer of the Virginia Library Association. VLA is an important asset to all Virginians, whether they work at a library, visit libraries, or advocate for libraries. VLA has been a great resource to meet and network with extraordinary library workers and as a socially awkward introvert, I truly appreciate that. As a cataloger, I feel my focus and attention to detail would help me serve as a great VLA Treasurer.


Candidate for Treasurer (2-year position): Kyle Binaxes

Biography

Kyle Binaxas is the Student Success Librarian at Richard Bland College of William & Mary, with a student-centered approach to library services for a holistic support for students regarding their transition from high school into a college setting and their eventual transition to a four-year institution. She regularly works with first-generation college students to provide them the skills needed to be a lifelong learner through both their college careers and the rest of their lives. Kyle Binaxas received her MLS from East Carolina University in 2017 and has worked in academic, public, school, and correctional libraries. 

While working at Richard Bland College, Kyle has focused on library instruction, right-sizing the library collection, library programming, and involving faculty and students in creating a library tailored to their needs. Besides serving on various committees at her institution, Kyle sits on committees for the American Library Association with a focus on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Intellectual Freedom, and; Professional Development.   

Candidate statement

It almost seems impossible to say that in my short work experience as a librarian I have worn many hats: research and instruction, cataloging, programming, public services, and much more. Not only that I have served as both a paraprofessional and professional librarian. My focus has always been to pursue passions and spark passions among others and be open to new experiences. This allows me not only to bring varying viewpoints into a situation, but it also has allowed me to be easily adaptable and hone my "eye" for different points of views and focuses. 

 Working in cataloging has given me an eye for detail and managing many responsibilities at Richard Bland College has forced me to be very organized but I believe I've always had that skill. I've always preferred myself to be a "behind the scenes" person, helping where I am needed and giving the support to the forerunners. My boss regularly hears from me, "Tell me what you need from me, and it'll be done". 

I've served on VLA Committees including the Professional Associates Forum, the Graphic Novel Diversity Award, and the Conference Committee. I am passionate about professional development and continual learning. I have served as a secretary for Richard Bland College's Workplace Enrichment Initiative, a committee member for the Richmond Academic Library Consortium, and I am involved in various online communities focused on personal development and success. It would be an honor to serve as Treasurer on VLA's Executive Committee!