FAQ/Update for 2021 VLA Conference

The Virginia Library Association would like to give you an update about our upcoming conference, scheduled for October 27-29 at the Richmond Marriott.

Unless the Governor mandates that we cannot meet, the VLA Conference will continue as planned.

We are offering a variety of attendance options. We are closely monitoring COVID variants, state and local mandates, and are working with all stakeholders for the maximum safety and comfort for all presenters, attendees and vendors.

VLA will require proof of full vaccination OR a negative COVID-19 test (administered within 72 hours of attendance.) You will show your card or negative test in exchange for your name badge at the registration desk. You can show a digital copy of your registration card, as long as the name on the card matches the name on your registration.

VLA is committed to safely accommodating all participants.

  • We highly encourage mask wearing for all attendees and participants.
  • To encourage social distancing, conference rooms at the hotel will be larger than usual, and will provide a variety of distanced seating.
  • At our banquet on Wednesday night, rounds of 8 will be set for only 4 people.
  • We will not be organizing our usual Thursday evening dine-arounds; our conference committee is pulling together a list of local restaurants that offer outdoor seating – and we are really hoping for good weather!
  • As we are being mindful of the waste created by single-use plastics, we encourage you to bring reusable water bottles, portable stainless steel straws, and/or utensils you can clean and re-use throughout the event.

To assist the hotel, we are closing registration on October 5, 2021. This will allow us to give them accurate head counts for meals since many of them are encountering supply chain issues. There will be NO on-site registration this year.

What does “virtual” attendance mean?

This question has come up quite a bit. We want to be clear about what VLA 2021 is and is not. This is not considered a hybrid event. We are not able to livestream all of our offerings and conference sessions. We have explored and priced out every possible situation, and have determined it is cost-prohibitive to do so.

We are working with many participants to pre-record content that will be accessible to all attendees, whether you have selected the in-person or virtual option. Some of this pre-recorded content will be from publishers (who will record Book Buzz sessions and will also provide us with advance reader copies to give away in person); some will be pre-recorded sessions by presenters who are unable to attend the conference in person; and others will be from community partners in VA who want to share information about their organizations. (All pre-recorded content will be closed-captioned before it is shared.)

We have contracted with a software provider, Pheedloop, that allows us to combine a conference app and virtual experience all in one place. There is a learning curve with any new software package, so we appreciate your patience as we spend time exploring it and adding content. Several other state library associations have used Pheedloop for their virtual-only events in the last 18 months, and we are working with them on tips, tricks and shortcuts. We have heard that emails from Pheedloop to attendees can end up in spam, so if your IT departments can mark emails from Pheedloop.com as permissible now, it may save some confusion later on.

  • Virtual attendees will be able to access any documentation provided by our speakers. All of the content will be available for at least 60 days following the conference.
  • We are also setting up networking spaces within the app where you can “meet” other people in the state with similar library-related interests. Check your email for additions to the program such as virtual one-on-one resume review and mentoring.
  • If you are a virtual attendee, we recommend attending with a computer to participate fully with virtual options during the conference dates, October 27-29. In person attendees can use the app, and then also use the website to access the content after the event.

The VLA Conference will look different this year. We are doing everything we can to make this a safe and valuable experience for all of our attendees, whether you are joining us in person or virtually. Any issues should be brought to the immediate attention of VLA Executive Director Lisa R. Varga, [email protected].

VLA 2021 Annual Conference Hardship Registration Rate
Are you interested in attending the VLA Conference, but have been furloughed, laid-off, or otherwise experiencing financial hardship? You may be eligible for the Hardship Rate, which makes it possible for individuals in need to attend the conference. To be considered for the Hardship Rate, please email [email protected].
Deadline for Consideration EXTENDED to Friday, October 1, 2021


Thank you for reading this far,
The 2021 VLA Conference Committee, including
President Jennifer Resor-Whicker
Conference Chair Tracy McPeck
VLACRL Conference-Within-A-Conference Chair Sophie Rondeau
VLA Executive Director Lisa Varga

-September 20, 2021