Meet A Member: Lisa Varga

Where do you work?
I operate VLA out of my home office in Virginia Beach.

What is your current position?
Executive Director of the Virginia Library Association.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a librarian?
I didn't know until after I'd won an award for an article I'd written when I was a few years out of college. I realized that I loved the research — the writing, not so much. My uncle is a librarian at Skokie Public Library and he encouraged me to look into my master's degree in library science. He was right!

What was your first library job?
"I didn't know it was a library job at the time, but I worked in a wallpaper store as a teenager and people would come in with requests, such as "I need a border for my French Country kitchen but it can't have red," and we were expected to know which wallpaper books met those needs.
My first *real* library job was working for Thomson & Thomson, a firm that provided Trademark and Copyright research services to companies and individuals."

What is your favorite part of librarianship?
I love connecting people, and connecting people with information. As a representative of a Chapter of the American Library Association, I get to meet people from all over the world who are doing great work every day, and I enjoy connecting them to people in Virginia so we can learn how other library staff and associations accomplish goals.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on the job?
When I had just started my job as Head of Human Resources at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, one of my jobs was orientation for new employees. I got a call from a Reference Librarian one morning at 9:05 and she said, "Your new employees are here and waiting for training!" I panicked, because I didn't think I had a training scheduled for that morning. I gathered up all of the necessary paperwork as quickly as I could, dashed down the stairs, got to the Reference Desk, and there were 4 marshmallow peeps sitting on a shelf, waiting for me. It was April Fool's Day. The Reference Department thought it was hilarious.

If you could have anything in the universe installed in your office for your personal use, what would it be?
A foot massager. Definitely a foot massager.

What is something your colleagues would be surprised to know about you?
I was a clown in the Macy's Day Parade four times. I've got the pictures to prove it!


Interviewed by Gregg Grunow

Want to be featured on Meet a Member? Email Gregg at [email protected].
Don't miss the other entries in our Meet A Member — Leadership Edition.