Latest News

The VLA Intellectual Freedom Committee is proud to announce the 2018 Banned Books Week Contest awards. These awards are given to libraries in Virginia who have gone above and beyond to engage their communities with displays, events, or activities that highlight issues of censorship and intellectual freedom during Banned Books Week. The Intellectual Freedom Committee was particularly impressed by the creativity that went into this event this year, and has selected a library in each category: public, academic, and school library. 

Public: Suffolk Public Library:

"The Suffolk Public Library facilitated a week long project called, "Banning Books Silences Stories: Alt Rebels." The project was aimed to educate the public about intellectual freedom and censorship issues during Banned Books Week (BBW). The entire project was designed to get people thinking about how things would be if banning books and censorship was a normal everyday occurrence and libraries were forced to take on the role radical bibliophile rebels! During BBW, we explored and focused on banned books as seen through the lens of an alternative universe scenario where books are banned everywhere and ideas are dangerous. All of our marketing, branding, and program titles/idea was roughly based off of historic rebellions, civil disobedience, and human rights movements. Through the "Banning Books Silences Stories: Alt Rebels" project, we hoped to open the public's eyes to what freedom and censorship truly mean as well as educate the community about the unfortunate reality of modern-day censorship issues like freedom of speech and the right to access information. Throughout BBW, our goal was to offer our community a series of unique and informative programs for all ages and abilities as well as interactive displays." 

 Suffolk Public Library Banned Books Display


Academic: University of Lynchburg Knight Capron Library

During Banned Books week, we hosted an event called 'Reading Banned Books Rocks.' Capitalizing on the popularity of other painted rock programs in our area, we painted rocks to represent some of our favorite banned books, including Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and The Handmaid's Tale and hid them throughout the library and around campus. We attached information about Banned Books Week to each rock and directed the finders to bring them to the library circulation desk for a prize. Among other prizes, we gave away Wax Lips to symbolize the theme - 'Banning Books Silences Stories.' Because Banned Books Week falls within Hispanic Heritage Month, we painted a special rock for The House on Mango Street, which also came with a copy of the book. This program was fairly easy to execute, but it made a big impact. Many of our students spent the week trying to find our rocks and it started a larger discussion about banned books, censorship, and the freedom to read! 

 University of Lynchburg Knight Capron Library


School: VBCPS Ocean Lakes High School 

This is a collage of our Banned Books celebration. First, we created a book display featuring some of the banned books in our library. We created a collection in Destiny Discover so that students could access the books more easily and then we also created a censorship collection where students could use interactive tools, etc. to find out more about banned books from around the world, etc. On the books, we typed up the reasons why the book was challenged and wrapped them in caution tape. For instance, The Diary of Anne Frank was banned in Alabama for "being a real downer." We also used our green screen to represent a police line up so students and staff could get caught reading a banned book. We shredded damaged banned books and had a contest for students to guess the book. Lastly, we created Yes/\No questions about books and censorship and encouraged students to respond.  

 VBCPS Ocean Lakes High School


Letter from Lisa R. Varga: Membership Structure Changes at VLA, 2019

Hello, VLA Supporters!

I suppose you are wondering a bit about this new Affiliate Membership that VLA is launching, and how it will impact you. Here is the background.

Each year, VLA evaluates its budget as part of our annual Executive Committee Retreat in December, as we prepare for the coming year. Each year, we do everything we can to prevent a dues increase for Individual Members of the association. The last time VLA had a dues increase was 2007. It is our belief, that in a decade in which library staff have not received much (if any) increases, it would be unfair to ask for more money out of your pockets to operate the Association. We have been able to sustain the Association with other increases (such as an increase for Jobline postings or increased costs for vendor booths at our annual conference.) The cost of running the association has also increased, but we don’t want to pass the cost on to each Individual Member.

Last year, the VLA Executive Committee created an Ad Hoc Committee – consisting of myself, Cori Biddle of Bridgewater College (VLA Treasurer), Past VLA Presidents Lisa Lee Broughman (Randolph College) and Matt Todd (Northern Virginia Community College), as well as Dr. Nan B. Carmack of the Library of Virginia.  This group began researching alternative membership structures, looking at other library associations in the U.S., and other associations in VA. What we have created – the Affiliate Membership – is meant to support VLA and encourage participation in the association.

When we have presented this concept to library leaders, we’ve said: “VLA doesn’t have a membership problem, we have a participation issue. And the barrier to participation is financial. If we can take down the financial barrier, we hope to see increased participation in Committees, Forums, Elections, Conferences, Networking and Continuing Education events.”

We believe that association memberships are like gym memberships – you have to use them to get stronger. In my 7 years as your Executive Director, I have seen many people reach their professional goals – and one of the ways they have done that is through the networks they have made by participating in VLA.

VLA members come from all over the Commonwealth, and work at academic, public, special, school, government, law and other libraries. They work in museums, at corporations, in rural and urban settings. They work in small libraries and large regional systems, or for universities and colleges with multiple locations in the state. We want them all to network. We want them all to advocate. But to do that, you have to connect with one another. Affiliate Membership brings us there.

When library becomes an Affiliate, every single staff person at that library is eligible to create a member profile on and can take advantage of events at VLA member rates. They can also vote in VLA elections and participate in Committees and Forums. This is true for full-time and part-time staff, whether they are librarians or library associates. This also includes members of your library’s Board or leadership of your Friends group.

Affiliate Membership runs from January 1-December 31 and is based on the budget of the library. (See chart.)  Each organization will have one Key Contact at your library who can add and delete staff from their membership list. (And, we hope, be able to register everyone at an organization for a conference in bulk. Fingers crossed. We are working out the details.)

This is a big change for many organizations, and it is a big change for us. So we ask for your patience as we transition in December/January – consolidating member records may take us a little time behind the scenes – making sure that you, as an Individual member, still have access to your VLA profile if your organization creates an Affiliate Membership. As you know from working in libraries, sometimes the back end needs a little human touch to work.

We recognize that not every library in the state will be able to participate. Or may not be able to participate immediately. We still have Individual Membership if your organization can’t create an Affiliate Membership.

Related to the Affiliate Membership program is another change we have made this year with the VLA Professional Associates Conference. After 28+ years, we are skipping the conference this year and are putting Focus Groups in its place. At those Focus Groups (held around Virginia in 2019), we will be asking library support staff YOUR opinion on the future of the VLAPAF Conference. It is important that library support staff have their own conference each year in Virginia, and Affiliate Membership will help bring down that financial barrier to membership and increase participation.

VLA will launch the Affiliate Membership form on our website during the week of December 3. If your library takes part in this program, we will begin the process of transitioning your account from Individual to Affiliate. If your organization cannot take part, Individual Members will receive their renewal invoices in January 2019.

As always, thank you for support of the Virginia Library Association. Please let me know if you have any questions,

Lisa R. Varga, MLS
Executive Director, Virginia Library Association


Letter from VLA President Jessica Scalph: November 2018

Hello VLA colleagues!

For me, November is a month to focus on gratefulness.  I am very grateful for the career I have enjoyed in librarianship (most of it being in Virginia for the last twenty years).  I am especially grateful, that I will have the opportunity to lead VLA this year.

In order to go full circle with gratefulness we should give back to our profession.  The following are ideas that I feel are admirable and achievable by most of us:

  1. Mentoring someone in your library that is interested in furthering his or her career in libraries.  The New Members Round Table of VLA, will be asking for mentors and mentees starting in February 2019.  Look for information on Facebook (VLA NMRT) or the VLA website and consider volunteering. (If you would like to learn more on this topic, I would recommend this book, The Elements of Mentoring by W. Brad Johnson and Charles R. Ridley.)
  2. Attending local career fairs for middle or high schools to interest young people in our career field.   As part of this initiative, we should consider reaching out to schools in diverse neighborhoods.
  3. Planning and offering VLA workshops in your area.
  4. Joining a local service organization to give back to your community. 

Looking ahead to December, the conference committee will be meeting in early December to start the process of planning an engaging and relevant conference.  The conference committee  will be meeting in Norfolk where the conference will be held, Hilton Norfolk the Main, October 23-25, 2019.  Our executive committee will also be meeting in December to go over the designated agenda for the upcoming year in Roanoke.  I look forward to updating you all on our December activities in our December newsletter.
Please feel out to me by email if you have comments, questions, etc. [email protected]


Regina Carter: Virginia's 2019 ALA Emerging Leader

The American Library Association (ALA) has selected fifty (50) people to participate in its 2019 class of Emerging Leaders. The program is designed to enable library staff and information workers to participate in project planning work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity early in their careers. Each year, the Virginia Library Association supports one Emerging Leader from the Commonwealth. Regina Sierra Carter is VLA's Emerging Leader for 2019.

Regina Sierra Carter is a Teaching and Learning Librarian at the University of Virginia (UVA). She is passionate about providing outreach and services to all students, especially those from underserved and minority populations.

Carter joined the UVA Library in June 2016 and served as the Program Coordinator for the library’s inaugural high school internship program. This effort provided local youth from underrepresented groups with work experience within an academic library.

She served on the planning and selection committees for the UVA Library’s ACRL Diversity Alliance Resident Librarian Program and participated in the 2018 Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians.

Additionally, she is a member of the Global Initiatives Group, which is comprised of librarians who are dedicated to social justice and ensuring that the library’s collections and programming are diverse, inclusive, and timely. Carter strives to ensure that the UVA Libraries are spaces where all students are welcome and can receive the information, tools, and support that they need to succeed at UVA and beyond.

Carter earned her B.A. in English from the University of South Carolina-Columbia, an Ed.M. in Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from UIUC. She is a former Fulbright English Teaching Assistant whose research interests include: the history of Black librarianship in North America, multicultural children's literature, and storytelling.

For more information about the American Library Association's Emerging Leader Program, please read this news release and visit the Emerging Leaders Program website.


VLA New Member Round Table seeking Leadership Roles for 2019

Are you looking to get involved in VLA? Have some great ideas about things you’d like the VLA New Members Round Table Forum (VLA NMRT) to do? We’ve extended the nomination period for 2018-2019 officers! Consider nominating yourself or someone you know for the following positions:

  • Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect (2 years)
  • Secretary/Treasurer (1 year)
  • Communications & Outreach Director (1 year)
  • Programming Director (1 year)
  • Conference Director (1 year)
  • Student Representative (1 year)

Nominees must be current VLA members. Send your nominations and candidate statements by Friday, November 2, to:
Lisa Becksford ([email protected]) – Chair
Bill Edwards-Bodmer ([email protected])– Vice-Chair/ Chair Elect
Examples of a previous year’s candidate statements can be used as a model. Elections will be held online from November 5-9.
Thanks so much!

<< first < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > last >>

Page 1 of 37