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Statement on Academic Freedom from the Virginia Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee 

Recent protests across Virginia's university campuses regarding the conflict in Gaza have highlighted concerns about intellectual freedom in higher education.  The implications for free speech and access to information are significant.

The Virginia Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee staunchly supports intellectual freedom, equitable access to information, and the free exchange of ideas as follows:

1.  Reaffirm Students' Right to Peaceful Protest: Students have the right to peaceful protest and expression of moral concerns. However, university administrators have the responsibility to publicize content-neutral, time, place, and manner rules for protest so other students can pursue their academic studies unimpeded.

2.  Distinguish Between Critique and Discrimination: Criticism of any government’s or political entity’s decisions, or military actions, or of university policies should not in themselves be equated with bigotry. It is crucial for university administrators and community leaders to discern between legitimate critique and discriminatory rhetoric.

3.  Ensure Academic Freedom: Instructors should not face penalties for assigning students reading or viewing material that presents diverse perspectives, including those critical or supportive of governmental policies or historical actions. Individuals should not be labeled as hostile to a population for recommending critical perspectives. Intellectual inquiry thrives on exploring differing viewpoints and accessing the widest range of information possible.

4.  Ensure Access to Information: University libraries must serve as repositories of a wide range of viewpoints, providing students with the broadest possible access to information. The integrity of libraries as centers for student learning and access to information must be protected.

We urge educators, administrators, policymakers, and the community at large to uphold intellectual freedom everywhere, especially in higher education. We encourage the public to seek information and utilize libraries to delve deeper into the issues prompting protests. Let us continue to cultivate an environment that nurtures critical thinking, robust dialogue, and the free exchange of ideas, safeguarding our institutions of higher learning as bastions of intellectual inquiry and academic excellence.

Virginia Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee

For more information, please visit the statements on free speech and academic freedom issued by the organizations below:

Please email any questions or concerns to [email protected].

 

The Virginia Library Leadership Academy, an in-person leadership workshop, begins Sunday, March 10 in Harrisonburg, VA. The 2024 VALLA Cohort is a diverse group of 22 individuals who will learn to grow as library leaders over the next year. Meet 5 cohort members and learn about their journeys as library leaders.

Read more...
 

Call for Proposals: 2024 VLA/VLACRL Annual Conference

Now Accepting Proposals

Proposal Submission Deadline: April 16, 2024

The VLA 2024 Annual Conference will be an opportunity for library workers across the state to celebrate the communities we serve and look forward to all the things we do best. Our theme, Welcome to the Libraratory, invites us to share our experimentations, creative solutions, and innovations in our libraries. 

VLA welcomes proposals that highlight: 

  • Experimentation, creative solutions, and innovations, even those that failed, as we often learn most from our FAILs (First Attempt In Learning).
  • Best practices, ideas, and tools for partnering together with other libraries, local and national organizations, regional affiliates, other agencies to innovate new opportunities and solutions in our communities.
  • Growing the diversity of our profession along with the career development, employability, and retention strategies.
  • The State of Libraries today and how we can create the future that helps us and our communities thrive.

VLA provides two options for submissions.

What do I need to complete the Proposal Form?

1) Know your Session Type:

  • Roundtable Discussion – Session rooms will be set with round tables and each table will discuss a different topic during a 45-minute period.
  • Presentation – A 30-minute presentation on a particular issue, program or service followed by a 15-minute casual discussion and/or Q & A session with audience. Usually features 1-3 speakers.
  • Panel Discussion – A moderated session featuring multiple speakers focused on a particular issue, program, or service. Panel discussions allow panelists to share thoughts, opinions, and experiences about a particular issue, program, or service followed by discussion driven by audience participation. May feature 3-5 speakers including a moderator.
  • Poster Session – Create a poster to showcase your program or research. This combined event on Wednesday evening will incorporate public, academic, special libraries and library partnerships and coalitions. The maximum size of a poster is 4 feet by 4 feet.
  • Lightning Talk  – This fast-paced session allows 5 people to present for 7 minutes each; this is a great opportunity to showcase a variety of topics in a quick and clear manner.
  • Libraratory Workshop  – Our conference Makerspace Studio will have flexible seating and a non-traditional setup -- no rows of seats, no projector for PowerPoints. Only a microphone will be provided, so get creative! Hands on activities are encouraged --bring your cool device but note that the studio will NOT have ventilation so no fumes, please!

2) Have your session title, description (50 words or less), three learning objectives & take-aways, and a description of how the program encourages attendee engagement.
3) Provide contact information for all speakers: name, email and organization.
4) Choose your preferred session date and time (choices are Thursday afternoon, Friday morning or Friday afternoon.)

Tips and tricks for submitting a stellar proposal:

  1. Keep your proposal clear and to the point. We get a lot of proposals; make it as easy as possible for the reviewers to get enthusiastic about your submission.
  2. Consider your audience. Explain why librarians and library staff would be excited to attend your presentation.
  3. Include the theme. Look for keywords and concepts in the call for proposals and incorporate them into your submission.
     

Proposals will be reviewed and presenters will be notified in May 2024. Requested session times and dates will be honored wherever possible. Up to two presenters per session will receive $75 off the conference registration fee. If you have any questions, please contact VLA Executive Director Lisa R. Varga at [email protected].

Click here to download the conference scoring rubric.
 
YOUR participation is what makes the VLA Annual Conference possible – we hope to hear from you! 

Nan Carmack, 2024 VLA President,
Natasha Payne-Brunson, 2024 VLA Conference Chair,
Christine Woods, 2024 VLACRL Conference Within A Conference Chair,
and the 2024 VLA Conference Committee

Hotel rooms at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott will be available at the VLA group rate of $158.00 per night plus taxes and fees. A link to reserve hotel rooms will be posted when conference registration opens in June/July.

 

 

2024 VALLA Cohort Announced

 

The Virginia Library Leadership Academy (VALLA) evaluation team received a record-breaking 110 applications for the 2024 cohort. We are excited to announce the following 22 individuals whose applications strongly demonstrated VALLA’s core commitment to equity, accessibility, inclusivity; personal growth; connection building; and individualized leadership. Each of the 22 individuals selected to attend the 2024 cohort stood out as being diverse and primed to continue to develop their leadership skills and embark on their own, personal leadership journey. 

 

Those accepted to the VALLA 2024 Cohort will begin their individualized leadership journey with a 3-day, in-person, intensive workshop, followed by a year’s worth of leadership topics and mentorship to continue to explore and develop their leadership capacity, at no cost to the participants, thanks to our generous sponsors

 

The application evaluation process was anonymous, having redacted any personal identifying information, and multiple evaluators scored each application utilizing a predetermined rubric to ensure an objective decision was reached. The 22 chosen applicants represent different types of libraries: Academic (9), Public (12), and School (1), and a variety of backgrounds and lived experiences.

 

Please join us in congratulating the following individuals on their acceptance into the 2024 VALLA Cohort:

 

  • Andrea Abernathy, Virginia Beach Public Library
  • Diamond Chavis-Waller, Suffolk Public Library
  • Yinlin Chen, Virginia Tech University Libraries
  • Tara Drayton, Sussex Central Middle School
  • Jane Gagne, Suffolk Public Library
  • Brea Gilliam, Prince George’s County Public Library
  • Jackson Hoch, Virginia Tech University Libraries
  • Amanda Jones, Loudoun County Public Library
  • Dana Ladd, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries
  • Shawna McGuffie, Hampton University Libraries
  • Wen Nie Ng, Virginia Tech University Libraries
  • Kristin Noell, Massanutten Regional Library
  • Haley Painter, Bland County Public Library
  • Clenise Platt, Virginia Beach Public Library
  • Elyse Ridder-Roe, University of Mary Washington Libraries
  • Marisa Rodriguez, Fairfax County Public Library
  • Kat Seastead, Prince William Public Library
  • Brittany Smith, George Washington University Libraries
  • Lauren Su, William & Mary Libraries
  • Jennifer Switzer, Mary Baldwin University Libraries
  • Mirna Turcios, Prince William Public Library
  • Aaron Wells, Central Rappahannock Regional Library

Published January 9, 2024




 

 2023 VLA Scholarship Basket Raffle Winners

The Scholarship Committee and I say, "Thank you!" to everyone who showed support for this year's Basket Raffle! Many of you showed out this year and donated the most imaginative and inspiring baskets which resulted in $5,805 raised for scholarships. We had 194 people purchase 26,710 tickets for a chance to win one of 26 baskets. This organization thanks you all for your dedication to helping fundraise for future librarians. You can read all about our scholarship recipients here.  - Quettara Drayton, 2024 Scholarship Committee Chair

 

List of winners:

Carol Turrentine: Jason Reynolds Basket
Kyle Binaxas: Life of a Manager Basket
Margot Manburg: VIVA Supports fREADom Basket
Elizabeth Insley: Deluxe Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure
Maryke Barber: Bose Soundlink Revolve II
Maryke Barber: Adult Graphic Novel basket
Margot Manburg: Youth Graphic Novel basket
Anna Robertson: Pride Basket
Shari Henry: Librarian Barbie basket
Nan Carmack: Things to Enjoy basket
Mary Kitiyakara: Edgar Allen Poe's Ravenous Basket
Keith Weimer: William & Mary Charcuterie Basket
Levi Carter: Friends of the Henrico County Public Library
Maryke Barber: Harrisonburg Farmers Market basket
Erin Guyer: Do What You Please: A post-conference relaxation basket
Sherida Bradby: Executive Committee Conference Basket
Alexandra Hall: Swag Across the State basket
Leith Alvaro: Coffee, Craft, and Create basket
Wayne Keith: Knitting Basket
Lisa Cheshire: Rest Your Bones Halloween Basket
Anne-Marie Parrish: Triple Delight: Cupcakes, Books, Puzzles basket
Katherine Vaughan: Intellectual Freedom Basket #1
Julie Arendt: Intellectual Freedom Basket #2
Babak Zarin: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators basket
Jimmy Ghaphery: Cooking with Alice basket
Shari Henry: Pumpkin Spice Everything

 

 
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