Meet a Member 

VLA 2nd Vice President, Zach Elder

What is your current position? Deputy Director

Where do you work? Chesapeake Public Library

When did you first know that you wanted to work in the library field? As a kid, one of the favorite parts of my week would be when we would go to the public library. My mother would attend her quilting club, and my siblings and I would read, learn, and play. The public library was a place where an 11 year-old farm kid with four channels of television could discover grunge music, learn to cook and hop on a computer (Apple 2Es at the time); work there--I wanted to live there! 

What is your favorite part of librarianship? Connecting people to information. So much of our economy is based on someone with more information either selling it or taking advantage of someone who lacks that information; every time librarians share information for free we level the playing field just a bit.

What was your first library or library-related job? Student Assistant at the Ohio State University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

What projects or programs are you currently working on at your library? A seed library and swap; building and expanding our Memory Lab digitization equipment; working with our CPL Foundation to provide the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to all Chesapeake children 0-5 years old; building and enhancing our partnership with Chesapeake Public Schools; renovating one branch and relocating another in the next couple of years.

What issue or topic in librarianship are you most interested in? Demonstrating libraries' return on investment in their community, both quantitatively and qualitatively; the data and the narrative both matter in telling our story.

Why are you a member of VLA and what is the most important reason to you for being a member of VLA? Advocacy. Whether lobbying for state aid, or standing strongly in favor of intellectual freedom, VLA is incredibly important to our profession, and to upholding the mission of librarianship. 

You may contact Zach Elder at [email protected]