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2021 Jefferson Cup Committee: Seeking Members

Are you a history buff?  Do you enjoy reading new juvenile and young adult literature? Apply to be a member of the 2021 Jefferson Cup Award Committee! We need one person from Region IV and one person from Region VI.  (Don't know your region? Here is a list and map:

Applicants must be willing to make the time commitment to read and discuss the books submitted for consideration, as well as attend physical and/or virtual meetings. Complete the application linked below and return it to Helen Hyde Hinkle, Jefferson Committee Chair, by October 15, 2020. Email your completed application to [email protected].

The Jefferson Cup honors two distinguished biography, historical fiction or American history books for children and young adults. Presented since 1983, the Jefferson Cup Committee’s goal is to promote reading about America’s past; to encourage the quality writing of United States history, biography and historical fiction for young people and to recognize authors in these disciplines. Read more and see previous winners here.

The Jefferson Cup Committee selects the winning titles. The committee has ten members: a chairperson and vice-chairperson (selected by the previous year’s committee), one person from each VLA region (total of six persons) selected by the current chair, the past chair of the previous year’s Jefferson Cup Committee and the outgoing chairperson of Youth and Family Services Forum. All committee members must be members of VLA. Members may be employed by public libraries, schools or any type or bookstores; they may also be unemployed or retired.

You may nominate yourself or a colleague for consideration. Persons selected must be willing to commit a large amount of personal time to read and evaluate books; committee members may receive over 200 titles. Members will also have to attend daytime meetings which may be exclusively online or a combination of online and in person. Persons who serve on the committee should be knowledgeable of literature for young people and have book evaluation experience. Jefferson Cup Committee members are expected to present programs at the annual VLA and, possibly, VAASL conferences, so a supervisor must sign this application, indicating he or she will allow the person to attend the conferences and will assist with the member’s expenses.

2021 Jefferson Cup Committee Application



VLA 2020 Conference Information Update

VLA has made the difficult decision not to host a conference this year, in person or online. After an exhaustive search of virtual platforms, we were unable to find one that provided the experience we wanted our attendees, presenters, volunteers and vendors to have, at a reasonable price. The Norfolk Marriott Waterside allowed us to transfer our conference to their location in 2022 without financial penalty.

The cancellation of the VLA conference is frustrating for so many of our participants. This prevents attendees from making new connections and seeing old friends. It prevents us from celebrating our award and scholarship winners, and denies vendors the opportunity to meet you face-to-face and have you see their products in person. It prevents presenters the opportunity to share their knowledge, and for attendees to learn from one another. We know, from years of survey data, that while attendees appreciate the continuing education of a conference, the opportunity to meet new people and network is vital to your professional lives.

VLA is determined to help you continue to make connections. We have heard that our members want to participate in informal zoom gatherings, perhaps focused on trivia or some other gaming event. We are putting a schedule together and will release it shortly.
VLA will host an online Annual Business Meeting this fall. Attendees will need to sign up in advance to be given login credentials. More details about the meeting will be sent to VLA members by the end of next week.

The New York Library Association is offering VLA members the option to attend their online conference, Strengthening Our Core, Thursday, November 5th - Friday, November 6th, 2020, at their discounted, member pricing. Use code CARDINAL when registering; NYLA will extend their early registration rate through October 31 for VLA members. Please visit this page for their programming schedule and pricing:

If you are a presenter for this year, we are very sorry to cause you any disappointment or frustration. For those who wish to include the presentation on their resume or CV, it is generally accepted to list it with the notation “Conference canceled” at the end. Example: “The ACRL Framework and First-Year College Students.” Virginia Libraries Association Annual Conference, Norfolk, VA, October 2020. Conference canceled.

We know this has been a difficult year in so many ways.  This pandemic is challenging for all of us- at home, at school, at work. Libraries in Virginia and nationwide have always been a beacon for the communities we serve and that is due to the hard work and dedication of library workers like you. Even in the midst of challenges we’ve never seen before, libraries have innovated, adapted and have success stories to share when we can all be together in person again.  We hope that you are well, and that you can take time to care for yourself, your friends and your family, and stay well.

Please let me know if you have any questions,

Lisa R. Varga, MLS
Executive Director
Virginia Library Association
PO Box 56312
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
757-689-0594 (w)
[email protected]


Virginia Library Association Announces 2020 Award Winners

The Awards & Recognition Committee of the Virginia Library Association (VLA) has selected winners for the 2020 association awards from a very competitive application pool. Librarians and library project teams from academic, public, and special libraries across the commonwealth are honored for their exemplary contributions to their communities and profession in 2019. For more details about each winner and their accomplishments, please view the press releases linked below:

Last Updated on Thursday, August 05, 2021 05:34 PM

VLA Letter to Fairfax County Board of Trustees, August 2020

Last week, the VLA Executive Committee sent the attached letter to the members of the Board of Trustees of Fairfax County Public Library. The letter was in response to a Board Meeting of the FCPL, which can be found here: Our focus was the part of the meeting that begins at the 1:36:30 mark.

A piece has also been done by NBC Washington:

The Executive Committee would like to thank our Librarians of Color Forum for their assistance with our response.


VLA Announcements: Conference and Leadership, July 20, 2020

The Virginia Library Association Annual Conference will not be taking place in person this year. In August 2020, the VLA Executive Committee and 2020 Conference Committee will announce our Fall learning plans for the organization.

Last week, we let you know that our 2021 VLA President, Joslyn Bowling Dixon, was leaving VA for a position as Director of Newark Public Library in New Jersey. The Executive Committee met virtually last week to discuss the 2021 leadership year. Jennifer Resor-Whicker (Radford University) who is the 2020 VLA President, has graciously offered to act as President for 2021. This extra commitment to VLA on Jennifer’s part assures consistent leadership for the organization.  This will also give Jennifer the chance to preside over an in-person conference in Richmond in 2021. In 2021, Jennifer will act as both President and Past President of VLA. If the Executive Committee needs to vote on anything during that time, Past President Jessica Scalph will be called in as a tiebreaker.

VLA Elections (which will determine our 2021 President-Elect and Secretary), will open on August 3 and will close on September 16. We encourage you to visit to learn more about our candidates, and then log in to your VLA account to make sure you know your password (it will make voting easier for you in just a couple of weeks.)

If your session proposal was accepted by our conference committee, we will be in touch in the coming weeks to provide alternatives to you. Our conference this year may not look like it has in the past, but we are committed to providing learning experiences for librarians and library staff in Virginia.

We are losing many opportunities by not having our in-person conference this year, and want to find ways for you to all continue to network; we want to honor our authors whose books were given awards by VLA this year, and to celebrate our VLA Scholarship and Award recipients. These are all part of our considerations as we move forward.

We ask you to mark your calendars in advance for October 27-29, 2021 in Richmond.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and thank you for serving your communities. Your work matters.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Lisa R. Varga, MLS
Executive Director
Virginia Library Association
[email protected]
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