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The VLA 2021 Election of Officers is NOW OPEN through September 16, 2020. Cast your vote today!

Remember, in order to vote in the election you MUST BE A MEMBER OF VLA (Individual or Life Member, or a member through your library's Affiliate Membership.) You are always welcome to become a member or renew your membership.

Good luck to all of our candidates! The winners of the election will join the following previously-elected members of the VLA Executive Committee.

2021 VLA Candidate Biographical Information & Candidate Statements

Candidate for Vice President/President Elect (3-year position): Nathan Hall

About Nathan Hall

I am an associate professor and the director of Digital Imaging and Preservation Services at Virginia Tech University Libraries. I received my MLS from University of North Texas in 2006, and my Ph.D. in Information Science from UNT in 2014. I currently serve as the principal investigator on the CLIR-funded Entomo-3D project and on the IMLS-funded Community Development Model for Digital Community Archives project. I was previously PI on the IMLS-funded Developing Library Strategy for 3D and Virtual Reality Collection Development and Reuse. I chair ACRL’s Research and Scholarly Environment Committee and I am a reviewer for College & Research Libraries. My scholarly works appear in College & Research Libraries, Information Technology and Libraries, International Journal of Digital Curation, ACRL Proceedings, and IPRES
Proceedings. I was an ALA Emerging Leader in 2013. 

My career has been devoted to improving information access across formats and disciplines. I am invested in building partnerships between all types of libraries, museums, and archives, as well as community organizations and advocacy groups. I am the son of a former medical librarian and I am married to a public library branch manager. I have been listening to the concerns of different types of libraries for my entire life.  


Candidate Statement

I am honored to run for Vice President/President Elect. This is a dynamic time for VLA: the Affiliate Membership Program increased membership by more than four-fold; ALA is eliminating its Midwinter Meeting, restructuring its divisions, and developing regional events; the General Assembly underwent its most dramatic transformation in decades; and COVID-19 raises questions about how to build, maintain, and serve a community when physical interaction and travel increase disease transmission. Combined, these elements signify several opportunities and challenges. There are more library professionals available to serve VLA than ever before, with greater potential to articulate and demonstrate the value of libraries. There is also a need for libraries to identify the best ways to serve communities while keeping staff safe during public health crises. I hope to help the association harness and coordinate our expanded human potential through increased options for virtual participation. If elected, my agenda is to create additional opportunities for new and existing members in targeted areas. I want to enlist volunteers to develop association statements on issues of common concern, such as access to broadband internet in rural areas, the use of open educational resources in higher education, and public access to the results of state-funded research. I also want to expand on previous work to make the association more accessible. The VLA Annual Conference has previously implemented a Code of Conduct, gender inclusive restrooms, private lactation rooms, and quiet rooms. These are excellent steps, but equity, diversity, and inclusion work is never finished, and implementing great ideas increases costs that have to be met in order to remain solvent. I pledge to work with the association to find actionable ways to increase inclusive, equitable, and accessible participation in order to advance literacy and learning and to ensure access to information in the Commonwealth.

Candidate for Vice President/President Elect (3-year position): KT Vaughan

About KT Vaughan 

With her diverse experiences in the health and life sciences, teaching and research, facilities operations, community outreach, and management, KT Vaughan brings an optimistic and inclusive perspective to library leadership in Virginia. She started her career in North Carolina as a library assistant at Duke, and received her MSLS from UNC-CH in 2001. Over the next dozen years, she held positions at the EPA, NC State University, and the Health Sciences Library at UNC before moving to Virginia in 2013. After seven years at James Madison University, including as the director of the science library and as Associate Dean, KT will join the Washington & Lee Library as University Librarian on June 1st. 

KT is or has been active at the national level in ACRL, LLAMA, the Medical Library Association, and ASIS&T. She was thrilled to find a welcoming and nurturing professional home in the Virginia Library Association, where she has been a frequent presenter and participant at VLA and VLACRL programs, a mentor with the NMRT, and part of the Virginia delegation to National Library Legislative Day. KT was a key part of the development of the interdisciplinary poster session at the VLA annual meeting. Asking questions about - and driving change in - the future of libraries is a central theme of KT’s career. She is currently focused on building inclusive and equitable library environments for people with disabilities, scholarly and digital communication in resource-constrained contexts, and the career advancement and professionalism of library staff and faculty. She recently graduated from Arizona State University with a doctorate in education. Her dissertation, “Building an Inclusive Library through Staff Accessibility Training” is available via the ASU and JMU institutional repositories.

Candidate Statement 

We are very lucky to be part of a professional organization that – thanks to the recent changes to membership categories – represents a significant fraction of Virginia’s libraries and library staff. The Virginia Library Association is now larger than many national organizations, which brings us many opportunities as well as challenges. The leadership of the association, including both our executive director and the officers, are responsible for guiding this large group forward in these uncertain times. I am excited about the opportunity to be part of that work for the three-year presidential term. One challenge that VLA faces given our new membership landscape is determining how to provide significant and lasting value to our library and individual members. The leadership has many questions to consider. Especially in this time when face-to-face meetings present health concerns, how does the association grow and manage its virtual programming and support? What types of services are appealing to and used by members, that they can’t or don’t get elsewhere? How do we ensure that our online programming is created with inclusion and accessibility at the core? A major opportunity for us is in leveraging our large numbers both collectively and individually for advocacy and learning. This may look like supporting lobbying and other political engagement projects at the national and state level, but could also look like helping individual libraries or library staff navigate controversies such as how to manage our current pandemic crisis, book and material challenges, or budget cuts. We can also continue to work as an association to support library staff in their career paths, through continuing to fund scholarships, promoting mentoring programs like the NMRT’s, producing and sharing webinars and other learning opportunities, and making network connections at VLA, VLAPAF, and VLACRL programming. Finally, what has always excited me about VLA, compared to many other professional societies, is how inclusive we are in our membership. This is where I go to make connections with all types of libraries and librarians, whether they are public, academic, school, or special. Too often we tend to stay within our library categories. I am excited about the opportunity to make connections among members across those boundaries. At the same time, librarianship as a profession needs to continue to work towards better inclusivity and belonging for all staff and patrons. It has been exciting to see conference presentations and other programming from VLA focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. I believe that leadership can help with setting an inclusive culture for the association through collaboration with colleagues across the Commonwealth, including by nurturing our own forums and committees tasked with this work. As I noted in my bio, I have found VLA to be a welcoming professional home where I feel like I belong. As president of the association I would work collaboratively within the association to include as many of our members, potential members, and library users in our spaces. Together, we can continue to strengthen the association as well as each member library and individual. Thank you for your consideration!

Candidate for Secretary (2-year position): Natisha Harper

About Natisha Harper

Harper, Student Success Librarian, began a career in Arts in Education before teaching ESL, Social Studies, and English. After 5 years teaching abroad, she received an MLIS from North Carolina Central University and began a career in academic libraries. As an instruction librarian the goal is to impart information literacy to students so that they can cultivate the necessary skills to become fully informed citizens who can make decisions that are beneficial to their community. She is a librarian at Howard University.

Candidate Statement

I am committed to developing library advocates, diversity in leadership, and innovation in information literacy. This commitment aligns with the purpose of the Virginia Library Association which is why I am running for Secretary.

Candidate for Secretary (2-year position): Maryśka Connolly-Brown

About Maryśka Connolly-Brown

Maryśka joined the Bortz Library at Hampden-Sydney College in 2015 as Technical Services Librarian. Before that she served as Electronic Resources Librarian and a library liaison to the College of Allied Health Sciences at the Medical College of Georgia. She obtained her MLIS at Valdosta State University in 2013. As Technical Services Librarian, she manages two full-time staff, and her department oversees acquisitions, cataloging, electronic resources, library systems, and the archive. She also advises incoming freshman and runs a variety of library programing for students including annual murder mystery nights, a permanent escape room, and regularly Dungeons & Dragons games.

As a faculty librarian, Maryśka has published in the Journal of Academic Librarianship, Journal of the Medical Library Association, The Reference Librarian, and Medical Reference Services Quarterly. She’s also published book reviews for the Georgia Library Quarterly and Farmville Magazine.

Maryśka has been a member of VLA since moving to Virginia in 2015. She’s served as the chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Forum, and as both a judge and chair for the VLA Graphic Novel Diversity Award. In 2017, she was part of planning efforts for the first Path to Librarianship: VLA Diversity Career Night at the University of Richmond. Maryśka has attended every VLA Annual Conference since joining, and has presented on a variety of topics from selecting an Integrated Library System to running a library escape room.

Candidate Statement

When I was nine years old, I was fortunate to live within a couple of blocks of a small public library. I could be found there every afternoon after school (and most of the summer) curled up with a book or attending one of the many wonderful events. I spent so much time at Nancy Carson Library that the librarians allowed me to help pack up the stacks when they moved to the new building several miles across town. I cried into each and every one of those boxes knowing that my days of easy access to the library were over. It was, of course, the beginning of a life-long love of and relationship with libraries. 

Since entering the library profession, I’ve worn many hats – from circulation to library systems. Today I am the Technical Services Librarian at Hampden-Sydney College. In addition to my library work, I advise freshman, am a faculty advisor for the Chess and Strategy Game Club, run library programming (including murder mysteries, Dungeons & Dragons, and an escape room), and occasionally teach an Introduction to Archives 1-credit course or one-shot lecture.

During the last five years as a VLA member, I chaired the Diversity and Inclusion Forum, and served as a judge and later chair of the Graphic Novel Diversity Award. Chairing the Diversity Award required strong networking skills, attention to detail, collection and dissemination of hundreds of evaluations and related documents, and ongoing communication with publishers and judges.

Outside of my VLA service, I served as the secretary for several committees and organizations including two years on the Executive Committee for Augusta University’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter, three years with the Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum Planning Board, and both chair and secretary (at different points) for the Hampden-Sydney College International Studies Committee.

I have greatly valued my experiences with VLA and would be honored to serve as its next Council Secretary.


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]

VLA Zoomversation Chat Record of reading, watching, and listening suggestions: (as of June 2020)

Online Resources:


Videos to watch:

Hampton Public Library Facebook posts with resources:

 VA Library Resources

Podcasts to subscribe to:

  • 1619 (New York Times)
  • About Race
  • Code Switch (NPR)
  • Intersectionality Matters! hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw
  • Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
  • Pod For The Cause (from The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights)
  • Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)
  • The Combahee River Collective Statement


Books to read:

  • Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
  • How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (including YA version)
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs
  • Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
  • Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds (YA version also available)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  • When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson
  • White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD
  • White Rage by Carol Anderson

Films and TV series to watch:

  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
  • Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
  • I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent
  • King In The Wilderness — HBO
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

Resources for children:

  • Books for children and young adults from the list of Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners
  • Listen to the Parenting Forward podcast episode ‘Five Pandemic Parenting Lessons with Cindy Wang Brandt’
  • Listen to the Fare of the Free Child podcast
  • Read PBS’s Teaching Your Child About Black History Month
  • Follow The Conscious Kid on Instagram

Organizations to follow on social media:

  • Antiracism Center: Twitter
  • Audre Lorde Project: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • Black Women’s Blueprint: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • Color Of Change: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • Colorlines: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • The Conscious Kid: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • Equal Justice Initiative (EJI): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • Families Belong Together: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • MPowerChange: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • Muslim Girl: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • NAACP: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • National Domestic Workers Alliance: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • RAICES: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • SisterSong: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
  • United We Dream: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Public Library related training:

Compassion/Empathy in customer service and leadership: 



VLACRL Spring Program 2020 Poster

Delay, Distract, Defer: The Saboteur in the Academic Library

August 5, 2020

10:30 am – 1:30pm; FREE Virtual Program

This program will not be recorded.


Registration is now closed

There is no registration cost for this program. Links to join the virtual program will be sent after registration is closed.  





10:30am: Keynote

“Delay, Distract, Defer: The Saboteur in the Academic Library.”  

  Presented by Erin Pappas and Katie Dohe

12:00 Lunch Break

12:45pm: Afternoon Session

“Challenging the ‘Good Fit’ Narrative: Creating Inclusive recruitment Practices in Academic Libraries.”

  Presented by Jennifer Stout and Samantha Guss


Program Description:

Delay, Distract, Defer: Sabotage in the Academic Library

Erin Pappas and Kate Dohe

In 1944, the US Office of Strategic Services released the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. Originally intended to aid the WWII-era citizen saboteur in committing small, undetectable acts of sabotage within an enemy organization, the Field Manual developed a second life on social media after its declassification, as its advice to “make faulty decisions, to adopt an uncooperative attitude, and to induce others to follow suit” echoed the pitfalls of modern office work. Higher education’s hierarchical culture meets professional norms that stress collaborative decision-making and emotional labor in academic libraries, and create an environment ripe for exploitation by those unhappy with the direction of an organization. As workers charged with the stewardship of information infrastructure, and as individuals who create and implement best practices in digital cultural heritage systems, library saboteurs have the potential to derail and impede the fundamental mission of the organization, but also to save it from toxic leadership and mismanagement. In this interactive session, we invite attendees to consider the motives and methods of saboteurs, the power dynamics that underpin sabotage, and how to navigate a sabotaged library—even if the saboteur is you.

Challenging the ‘Good Fit’ Narrative: Creating Inclusive Recruitment Practices in Academic Libraries 

Jennifer Stout and Samantha Guss

As a profession, we talk the talk of valuing diversity and inclusion, but do we walk the walk with our hiring practices? The profession stresses the importance of “a good fit” when hiring, but we rarely interrogate the fact that “a good fit” can be a reflection of our implicit biases. Three academic librarians conducted a survey of hiring policies with a focus on the processes (or lack thereof) of recruiting candidates from underrepresented groups. This session will report on their findings and recommend the implementation of specific practices designed to create an inclusive candidate pool and an equitable search process.

More information about our speakers:

 Erin Pappas is the Research Librarian for various humanities departments at the University of Virginia. She is the co-editor of the recently published #DLFTeach Toolkit: Lesson Plans for Digital Library Instruction, and for a forthcoming volume on the decolonization of area studies from Library Juice Press.

 Kate Dohe is the Manager of the Digital Programs & Initiatives department in the University of Maryland Libraries. Kate’s team oversees day-to-day activities related to digital repository management, digital preservation, research data services, and electronic publishing. Select publications include “Care, Code, and Digital Libraries: Embracing Critical Practice in Digital Library Communities” (In the Library with the Lead Pipe), and “Linked Data, Unlinked Communities” (Lady Science).

Samantha Guss - Social Sciences Librarian, University of Richmond

Jennifer Stout - Teaching & Learning Librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University


2020 Scholarship Winners Announced

The VLA Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the 2020 scholarship recipients. Congratulations to Sonya Coleman, Amanda Lawson, and Sinead Tanner on their academic excellence and dedication to the field of Library Science. Sonya, Amanda and Sinead have each received $2500 from VLA to help with costs associated with their academic programs. All three will be honored at the Annual Awards and Scholarship Banquet at the VLA Conference in Norfolk in October.

Sonya Coleman

Sonya Coleman has worked at the Library of Virginia since 2011, currently as the Digital Engagement and Social Media Coordinator. Sonya has created innovative ways to involve volunteers and young people in transcribing historical documents. Sonya has been active in community volunteer work as well as holding committee positions in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives organization, and the Visual Resources Association. She says, “I’m very passionate about exposing content in a highly accessible and searchable way.” Sonya has been a member of VLA since 2018 and is earning her MLIS in Digital Libraries from Kent State University. She will graduate in spring of 2021.


Amanda Lawson

The 2020 recipient of the Clara Stanley VLA Paraprofessional Forum Scholarship is Amanda Lawson from Pulaski, VA. Amanda works as a Monographics Specialist in the Collection & Technical Services Department at Radford University’s McConnell Library. She is active in her community and in her free time by volunteering with the Montgomery County Christmas Store and her daughter’s preschool. She participates in a number of professional committees including the Library Display Committee, Faculty Outreach Committee, World War II 75th Anniversary Commemorative Series Committee, and Radford University Staff Senate where she serves as an alternate senator.  Amanda has an outstanding background, including graduating with a 4.0 with her Bachelor’s degree and increasing her responsibilities in her position over the past nine years. She says, “I see library science as an immeasurable pasture of information and librarians as shepherds for those seeking such information.” Amanda joined VLA in 2019. She is obtaining her MSIS degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and will graduate in Spring of 2023. 


Sinead Tanner 

Sinead Tanner has worked as a Library Assistant at Gordonsville Branch Library since 2012. In her position, she has initiated an outreach program of “take and make” crafts, for patrons not able to stay at the library for programs. She says, “I try every day to share the magic of the library with other children as my librarians shared it with me.” Sinead joined VLA in 2020 and is enrolled in the MLIS program through Valdosta State University with an expected graduate date of May 2022.


VLA has been providing scholarships to students pursuing their Master's Degrees in Library and Information Sciences for nearly 30 years. Support this program with a tax-deductible donation today!

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