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Letter from VLA President Todd Elliott: April 2018

Greetings VLA Colleagues!

I write this little piece on National Library Workers Day (April 10) which means two things. First, this article is coming out much later than you deserve (my apologies), but this was also a day that we in Portsmouth were able to celebrate the important work we do. Our children’s librarian, Rachel Enrich, makes sure that we have goodies, incentives, and a handwritten “thank you” to each staff member from the director.

I am experiencing a touch of writer’s cramp – we have 40 staff receiving them – but it has become a tradition that means something to my coworkers and it makes me feel good to do this.

What do you do to celebrate each other? NLWD is a point on the calendar but we can share something positive anytime.

Behind the scenes at VLA, we continue to advocate for libraries across the Commonwealth such as “Dear Appropriator” letters to Senator Warner and Senator Kaine asking for them to support federal library funding, including funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). As an independent grant-making agency, IMLS provides more than $210 million for libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and its Grants to States program. In just the past five years, libraries in Virginia have received a total of $18.5 million through this program. That’s an average of $3.7 million annually. VLA believes that Virginia officials, not the federal government, decide how best to use LSTA funds to promote innovation, lifelong learning, research and access to information for patrons across the Commonwealth. In addition, Virginia is required to provide a 1/3 match for LSTA funding, which means that a cut in federal support likely means a cut in state support for libraries.

Ensuring that libraries have a voice is another reason to support your state library association – if you haven’t renewed your membership yet, now is as good a time as any. 2018 VLA Professional Associates Forum (VLAPAF) Conference is happening at Newport News Marriott May 21. The theme is "Other Duties as Assigned" which is something that ALL of us can relate to, and keynote speakers will be Mauricio Velasquez of the Diversity Training Group and local author Lydia Netzer! Here is an excellent opportunity for professional associates across the Commonwealth to come together to network and learn and a great opportunity for managers to show their support. For more information and online registration, scurry over to

Thank you for taking the time to peruse the newsletter. Questions? Comments? Rude remarks? Feel free to give me a shout at [email protected].



CaTS Technical Services Learning Lunch

This spring CaTS is hosting regional Learning Lunches for Technical Service Departments across the state. All are welcome! We will discuss topics such as cataloging trends, database maintenance, collaboration, tools, applications, and workflows.

Please join us by signing up here   

If you have any questions please feel free to email Jessica Robertson at [email protected] or Easter DiGangi at [email protected] .


Sign Me Up For VLA Listservs

We know you want to connect with colleagues in Virginia to talk about subjects that are important to you. As a VLA member, you have that opportunity through our member listsservs. Here is how to sign up:

1) Click Member Login at the top of your screen. Use your VLA Username and Password to log in to your account.

2) Click on the My Features tab, then click E-lists


2) Slide the button from "Off" to "On" for the subjects you are interested in.

3) Your WELCOME message will arrive in your email shortly. Thank you for joining in the conversation!


2018 VLA Awards: Call For Nominations

The Virginia Library Association is seeking nominees for our 2018 Awards now through April 16, 2018. Recognizing 2017 Achievements; Online Nominations Only. Questions? Contact Tina McPherson, Awards Committee Chair, at [email protected].

Nominations are being accepted for the following Awards:

Academic Innovator Award
Donna G. Cote Librarian of the Year
Friends of the Library Award
George Mason Award
Honorary Life Membership
Public Library Innovator Award
Trustee Library Award
Up and Comer Award


Each nominee must meet the criteria for the award for which they are nominated. Nomination forms and accompanying documentation must be submitted prior to 11:59 pm on April 16, 2018.

The Scholarship and Awards Banquet will be held at the VLA Annual Conference on Wednesday, September 24 at The Colonial Williamsburg Lodge. Tickets will be on sale when registration opens in June. If your nominee is selected, they will receive one complimentary ticket to the Scholarship and Awards Banquet.

2017 Award Winners at the VLA Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet.


Letter from VLA President Todd Elliott: March 2018

Greetings VLA colleagues!

Though I spent part of my childhood in upstate New York, I do not enjoy cold weather at all. I know that some of you are thinking “winter is the BEST time of the year” and we will have to agree to disagree – come on spring! First things first: congratulations to all of the library workers around the state who were selected for the 2018 Virginia Library Leadership Academy! VALLA, which will feature American Library Association Past-President Maureen Sullivan, offers an intensive leadership experience for participants.

One of the great things about participating in your state library association is all of the networking that goes on, and do those connections ever help! Let me get personal for a minute: as a newly-minted public library director here in Portsmouth, it was precisely three days into the job that I engaged in a small freak-out session. Quietly, because I was in the library. What if I’m not up to this? What if I make a major blunder? What if..? Reaching out to a fellow director and member of the Virginia Library Association, I was gently assured that things would be just fine because we support one another. None of us has to go it alone, in truth we shouldn’t. I like the way that we collectively engage in conversation to share ideas, events, and occasionally frustrations.

Speaking of ideas and events – be sure to take a look at the VLA online calendar. You will agree that the VLA Website Content Committee does a good job it making it meaningful and current. Freedom of Information Day is March 16, and related to it is Sunshine Week (March 11 – 17), the annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community. There is a link to the official website for more information and free resources. There is a youth services workshop in region 6 and a CaTS cataloging forum in region 3. Want more? Hie thee to the calendar!

Several of you will head to Philadelphia to the Public Library Association Conference later in the month and I hope that you will learn something to share at home and with colleagues across the Commonwealth. Safe travels!  

As my wife, Jackie, would tell our sons as they were growing up: Questions? Comments? Rude remarks? Feel free to give me a shout at [email protected].

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