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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.


Register Today

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!


Hello VLA members, non-members, sponsors, vendors and library supporters in the Commonwealth,

Like many of you, VLA has had to re-evaluate a lot of our services and the ways in which we provide them. While all of our programs and networking events have been cancelled for the immediate future, we are planning to move forward with the VLA Annual Conference, “Pass on What You Have Learned,” October 21-23 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.

Our original deadline date for program proposals was April 15. We know that submitting proposals for a conference that is happening 6 months from now is not high on your priority lists, so we are adjusting our deadlines, with a few caveats.

Our new session proposal deadline is June 3. Pushing to this date affects a number of elements. As a result:

  • Conference registration will be open from August 3 to October 2, with no early bird or late registration options. A full schedule of pricing will be available in the first week of July.
  • We will be eliminating our printed conference program and will move to a conference app only for 2020. By pushing all of our work out two months, we are losing valuable time which allows our volunteer committee the ability to create, correct, and update information in print and online. The app will be able to be updated in real time, allowing for more flexibility in changes/additions/updates. We will still print a Conference-at-a-Glance for on-site attendees.
  • We are exploring offering online options for attendance, such as webcasting/livestreams of educational opportunities. Once our conference committee has had a chance to evaluate different companies, products and pricing models, we will be able to offer a more robust answer to the question, “what will it cost for registration?”

For more information on programs types and how to submit, visit:

Data from VLA evaluations over the past 10+ years have shown that people appreciate the educational aspects of the VLA Conference, but what they value more are the personal connections and networking at our conferences and events. It is hard to create those opportunities in an online-only environment, so we are exploring every option to keep you safe, and connected to your colleagues and friends across the state…but also work within the new parameters we are hearing from our members.


We anticipate that many of you will be operating under travel budget cuts and restrictions, and we hope that by offering a variety of attendance options, people who might not be able to attend (or who haven't been able to attend in the past) will be able to take advantage of sessions and continuing education opportunities related to the Annual Conference.


Please let us know if you have questions,

Jennifer Resor-Whicker, 2020 VLA President, [email protected] 
Adrian Whicker, 2020 VLA Conference Chair, [email protected]
Lisa Nickel, 2020 VLACRL Conference Within A Conference Chair, [email protected] 
and the 2020 VLA Conference Committee


Lisa R. Varga, MLS

Executive Director

Virginia Library Association

P.O. Box 56312

Virginia Beach, VA 23456

Phone: (757) 689-0594 Fax: (757) 447-3478

[email protected]





The Virginia Library Association recognizes that the past couple of weeks have brought about a lot of unexpected change for library staff in Virginia.

Just before all of this happened, VLA was given notice that The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs is undergoing renovations in their sleeping rooms, a renovation that will still be happening in October and will affect our conference and the number of people who will be able to stay in the hotel.

As such, VLA has made the decision not to have our conference in Hot Springs in 2020. We are switching the location and date of VLA. We will now have the conference October 21-23, 2020 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott in Norfolk, VA. The sleeping room rate will be $149 per night. Rooms must be booked by October 1 to be eligible for the discount. A small block of rooms will also be available at the prevailing government rate. A link to reserve hotel rooms will be posted when conference registration opens in July.

We recognize that this change is disappointing for a large geographic portion of our membership. As VLA has grown exponentially in the past 15 months, we have been able to schedule more regional events for our various divisions, including the VLA Professional Associates Forum and the Collections and Technical Services (CaTS) forums. Unfortunately, those events are now being postponed due to circumstances beyond our control. Rest assured, as soon as we are given the word that we can reschedule those events, we will do so.

In the coming months, VLA will explore the possibility of streaming conference sessions to those unable to attend in person, and perhaps offering webinars with conference presenters after the conference in October as a way to connect library workers throughout the state.

We are still accepting session proposals. If you have submitted a proposal but the change in location or date will affect your ability to present, please contact VLA Conference Chair Adrian Whicker.

The deadline for session/poster/lightning talk proposals is April 15. You may submit at the following link:

Presenters will receive a discount of $75 (up to two presenters per session, up to two presenters per poster, and up to two presenters per lightning talk).

Each year, VLA evaluates a number of locations throughout Virginia as possible venues for the Virginia Library Association Annual Conference. Many factors come into play, such as capacity for sessions, hotel rooms and conference rooms under one roof, parking, the time of year of our event (and how it meshes with the schedules and timelines of all of our committee and forum activities and honors) and the availability of venues. In an ideal world, we would be able to rotate our conference through each VLA region; however, facilities that can provide all that we require do not exist in certain parts of the state. We assure you that the decision about where and when to have a VLA conference is not one that is made lightly.

We appreciate your understanding.

Lisa R. Varga, MLS
Executive Director
Virginia Library Association
P.O. Box 56312
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Phone: (757) 689-0594 Fax: (757) 447-3478
[email protected]


VLA New Members Round Table: Mentoring Program 2020

The VLA New Members Round Table is pleased to offer another year of mentoring for VLA members! We welcome interest from both potential mentees and mentors. If you are interested, please complete the following form and we will be in touch in the next few weeks. The deadline for signing up is Wednesday, April 1

Link to sign up:

The VLA NMRT Mentoring Program is designed to help new VLA members grow professionally through partnerships with seasoned VLA members. The program is open to the following: 

Mentees: Librarians or library staff members in the first five years of their professional career or library school students. See this guide for more details.

Mentors: A career mentor must have been employed in a professional position for at least five years and be willing to correspond with their mentee at least once every two months in whatever manner is most convenient for both parties. See this guide for more details.

A few notes about the program:

  • Membership in VLA is required. Conference attendance is not required.
  • The VLA NMRT Mentoring Program is not intended as a job search program.
  • Mentor/mentee partnerships will officially run from April to October.
  • Mentors and mentees will be partnered based on their similar interests, professional experience or goals, and when able, by their geographic proximity to each other. While face-to-face communication is not required, we hope that mentors and mentees who are near one another take the opportunity to meet in person. 
  • The availability of mentors and mentees and the information provided on the applications will determine the partnerships made.

If you have any questions, please contact John Hood, VLA NMRT Communications and Outreach Director ([email protected]), or Anne Rappe-Epperson, VLA NMRT Chair ([email protected]). 

Thank you, and have a great day!

NMRT Leadership Team

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