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 2025 VLA Officer Election

VLA Officer Candidates Announced

VLA Officer Elections begin August 1 and end September 16. You must be a VLA member by July 1, 2024 to vote in this election. View the current VLA Executive Board here. Read the 2025 candidate biographies and personal statements below.


Candidate Nancy Falciani White

Candidate for VP/President Election: Nancy Falciani-White

Biography • Nancy Falciani-White (she/her) is the Library Director of the McGraw-Page Library at Randolph-Macon College (Ashland, VA). She has worked in academic libraries for over 20 years, beginning as an undergraduate interlibrary loan student employee at Wheaton College. She became the staff coordinator of the interlibrary loan office as her first “real job” and fell in love with the challenges of finding obscure materials for faculty and students and working small miracles to get them resources by their deadline. She eventually learned that a lack of planning on their part did not constitute an emergency on her part. She decided to pursue her MSLIS while working in ILL and then moved into reference and instruction, providing leadership for the first structured instruction program at the library, and she was then promoted to department head for reference, instruction, outreach, educational technology, and assessment before moving to Virginia to lead the McGraw-Page Library in 2016. 

Before all that time in academia, however, Nancy was a dedicated public library user. She grew up in New Jersey, homeschooled from second grade through high school, and the public library was central to her childhood. She grew up a voracious reader, and the magic of the public library for her was in the breadth of what was available to read, learn, and use, as well as in the welcoming staff who knew her by name. 

Nancy has been a peer-reviewer for VLACRL presentations, a presenter and attendee at VLA, and a mentor in the Virginia Library Leadership Academy (VALLA), as well as involved with VIVA and VICULA.

Nancy earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (English, Education, Music) from Wheaton College, an MSLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an EdD in Instructional Technology from Northern Illinois University.

Candidate Statement • I struggled for years to answer the question “what do librarians do?” I could say that library staff “serve the community,” but that oversimplifies what we do. I could talk about education, because we’re constantly thinking about how the displays that we do, the materials we purchase, the spaces we create, the art we put on the walls, and the programming that we offer provide opportunities for low- and high-impact learning experiences for everyone who encounters them. I could talk about advocacy, because we engage with spaces, the accessibility of physical and virtual environments, the need for everyone to feel welcome and safe in the library, the fight for intellectual freedom, and the importance of representation, reading, and making those safe spaces available. I could talk about data, because so many library decisions are data-driven, or the mental health challenges faced by students, community members, and staff. I could talk about technology, budget cuts, personnel, open access, burnout, housing insecurity, and so many other things. Connecting people to information in the current environment is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a complex combination of people skills, technological expertise, and creativity. The image that tends to flash through my mind in those moments when I find myself juggling these many descriptions of librarianship is from the children’s book Caps for Sale, which I first encountered through Reading Rainbow as a child and later read to my own kids. Library staff wear a lot of hats, not unlike the peddler in the story, and they are all important. Some people can thrive in that kind of environment for a while, but we rarely talk about how exhausting it can be.

During a research project I’ve been conducting this year into academic library leaders’ perspectives on creativity and the organizational climate of their libraries, I have heard repeatedly about how embattled library staff feel at this time in history. Even those who have not been impacted directly by intense political environments or book banning activity feel deep solidarity with those who have, and it all is taking a toll on us professionally and as individuals. The work at VLA must not only continue to fiercely advocate for libraries, literacy, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI), accessibility, and intellectual freedom, but must also do what it can to support and care for library staff across the state.

When I first moved to Virginia in 2016, I observed VLA with awe, impressed by its scope and the talents and passion of those engaged in ensuring the work and needs of Virginia libraries are broadly shared and fiercely advocated for. Since then, my awe has not diminished and my respect has grown exponentially. It would be an incredible privilege to be part of the VLA leadership team.  

Candidate Dorothy Hargett

Candidate for VP/President Election: Dorothy Hargett

Biography • Dorothy came to work for Regent University Library in February 2000. She started out as the Assistant Circulation Supervisor, then was promoted to Head of Access Services in 2002. She is currently the Head of Public Services and Resource Management at Regent University Library. In this role, she is responsible for providing leadership and overseeing all aspects of the management and functions of Circulation, Interlibrary Loan and Acquisitions departments. She is also the ProQuest Director of the Thesis/Dissertation submissions for doctoral and master’s programs at Regent University.

Locally, she has served on many committees including but not limited to the Regent University Faculty Senate Committee, Library Migration software team, logistics team for the Southern Association for Schools and Colleges, the library space committee, library staff development committee, children’s summer reading programs and many more. Nationally she has served on the program committees for the Access Services In Libraries Conference In Atlanta, GA and Innovative User’s group in California. She also served as the Circulation Lead Functional expert for the Innovative User’s group. Dorothy has presented poster sessions and many workshops on Library Customer Service and Leadership.

Dorothy Hargett is a member of the American Library Association, Virginia Library Association Fellowship of Christian Librarians and Information Specialists, Virginia Tidewater consortium, Association of Christian Librarians, Virginia Library Association Librarians of Color Forum, and the National conference of African American Librarians.

Dorothy Hargett earned a B.S. in Business Administration at Mississippi Valley University, M.A in Psychology and Counseling at Regent University, MLIS at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and currently a May 2025 doctoral candidate in Counseling and Psychological Services at Regent University.

Candidate Statement • I am committed to fostering a library environment that is respectful and welcoming to all individuals, regardless of race, color, or national origin. This commitment is anchored in my faith, that each person is created in the image of God and deserves to be treated with love, respect, and dignity.

 In 2014, recognizing the challenges faced by library staff in providing excellent customer service, I conducted a library survey on customer service. Over 50% of library staff said they were discouraged in the area of customer service and two of the main reasons were work overload and feeling unappreciated by patrons and management. These findings fueled my commitment to improve the work environment and customer service in libraries.

Technology is essential for growth and development and programs are beneficial for the community, but it is crucial to support these key elements with respect for all people. It would be my pleasure to serve you as the Vice President/President Elect position.


Candidate Kendra Hawkins

Candidate for Secretary: Kendra Hawkins

Biography • Kendra Hawkins has served as the Coordinator of Library Services at the Tidewater Community College Portsmouth Campus Library since May 2021. In addition to overseeing budgeting and acquisitions for the libraries and tutoring centers, she leads staff teams in student engagement activities, collection services and providing technology support. She also serves on several TCC and Virginia library consortium committees, including serving as recorder for the TCC Faculty Professional Development Committee and chairing the Virginia Tidewater Consortium (VTC) Collections Committee.

Growing up in a military family, Kendra moved around a lot before settling down in the Tidewater area of Southeastern Virginia while she was in elementary school. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA and a Master of Library Science from Clarion University in Clarion, PA.  Since receiving her MLS, she has worked as an Acquisitions and Electronic Resources librarian for the Department of the Army, Manager of the Indian River Library in Chesapeake, VA and Technology and Content Strategy Manager at the Suffolk Public Library in Suffolk VA.

Kendra has been an active member of VLA for several years, most recently serving on the task force for the 2024 Virginia Library Leadership Academy (VALLA) Cohort. She also co-presented at the 2023 VLA Conference. She wholeheartedly believes in the purpose of the VLA “to develop, promote, and improve library and information services, library staff, and the profession of librarianship in order to advance literacy and learning and to ensure access to information in the Commonwealth of Virginia.” Kendra also believes the mission of libraries is rooted in the principles of access, education, community, and intellectual freedom, with the overarching goal of enriching lives and strengthening communities.

An avid reader and science fiction fan, Kendra finds solace in exploring new galaxies and going on interstellar adventures through her frequent Amazon book purchases and favorite TV series.

Candidate Statement • I am honored and excited to run for the office of Secretary for the Virginia Library Association. With a passion for information literacy and community engagement, I am committed to advancing the goals and values of our association, and the mission of libraries worldwide.

Why Secretary, you ask? From color-coded bookshelves to meticulously planned events, there’s nothing I love more than bringing order to chaos. Seriously, you should see my planner—it’s a work of art! But it’s not just about neat piles and tidy spreadsheets (although those are pretty awesome too). For me, organization is about creating clarity, efficiency, and harmony in everything we do. As Secretary, I’ll ensure our meetings run like clockwork, our records are spot-on, and our communication flows seamlessly.

But here’s the fun part—I believe organization doesn’t have to be boring! Let’s inject some creativity into our systems and turn mundane tasks into opportunities for innovation. After all, who says organizing can’t be fun? So, if you’re ready to embrace the magic of color-coding, the thrill of ticking off checklists, and the satisfaction of a perfectly organized system, I’d be honored to have your support.

Candidate Reagen Thalacker

Candidate for Secretary: Reagen Thalacker

Biography • Presently serving as the Public Library Consultant within the Library Development & Networking Division of the Library of Virginia, Reagen Thalacker brings a wealth of experience from diverse roles within the library sector.

Her early career encompassed positions ranging from government documents intern in an academic library to solo librarian for a federal wildlife research center, providing her with a robust understanding of library operations and the needs of patrons.  She’s also served as a clerk at a rural public library, an academic reference librarian, and notably as an executive director of a multicounty, multitype library system covering 197 libraries across 18 counties in Minnesota.

In her current role, Reagen is dedicated to empowering library leaders, trustees, friends groups, and foundations across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  She believes in the importance of fostering connectivity and innovation within local public libraries, empowering both the staff and the institutions to thrive as dynamic community leaders.  Central to her approach is actively listening to the thoughts, ideas, concerns, and needs of stakeholders, both in and outside the library community.  She sees her role as translating this feedback into tangible resources, programs, and services that address the evolving needs for those stakeholders.

Her commitment to the library profession goes beyond her daily duties.  She actively supports her profession, recently serving on the Virginia Library Association Awards Committee.  Previously, she played integral roles within the Minnesota Library Association, serving as Conference Committee Co-Chair twice, contributing to the Continuing Education Committee, and participating in the Institute for Leadership Excellence Committee, among other state and national committee involvements.  Her dedication has garnered recognition, including being honored as a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies 50 Distinguished Alumni in 2017 and being selected as an American Library Association Emerging Leader in 2010.

Reagen’s academic background includes a B.A. in Political Science/History and English Literature from Concordia College, and an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Candidate Statement • As a candidate for Secretary of the Virginia Library Association, I bring a balanced approach that combines big-picture thinking with the nitty-gritty details of implementation.  Throughout my career, I've cultivated strong organizational and planning skills alongside an unwavering commitment to excellence.

In collaborative settings, I excel at leading from the middle, fostering an environment where every voice is valued regardless of hierarchy.  My penchant for detail and clarity has often led me to assume the role of record-keeper, ensuring that important decisions and actions are accurately documented.  This meticulous approach extends to follow-up work, where I strive to clarify member roles and responsibilities to facilitate smooth progress. 

As Secretary, I understand the pivotal role this position plays in capturing and disseminating the business of our organization.  I am committed to providing timely, accurate, and detailed records that keep our members and stakeholders informed and engaged.  My strong work ethic and dedication to follow-through ensure that every task I undertake is executed with precision and excellence.

With your support, I am ready to serve the Virginia Library Association as Secretary, contributing to its continued success and advancement.  Thank you for considering me for this important role.

Please reach out to Kimberly Knight, chair of the Nominating Committee, with questions or comments.


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.


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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