Professional Associates ForumVLA Professional Associates Forum

The VLAPAF, formerly known as the Paraprofessional Forum, was established in 1979. You can read about our history here. Learn more about professional associates through reading the VLAPAF section of the VLA Bylaws, Forum Updates; past events, including 2021 Mental Health Workshops and previous conferences; other paraprofessional organizations; and through other resources listed on this page.

If you have ideas for the future of VLAPAF, contact one of the VLAPAF board members below.

2023 Executive Board

Chair – Michelle Cuccherini, Culpeper County Public Library

Past Chair – Debbie Pence, Virginia Commonwealth University

Chair Elect – Open

Secretary – Vanessa Salo

Forum Updates

Regional Workshops coming in 2024. More information to come!

Explore Past Conferences & Events




Mental Health Workshops


The VLAPAF offered free mental health workshops over the summer of 2021. The workshops were recorded and are now available on YouTube for anyone and everyone to watch. Please feel free to share, watch or listen to any that might be useful to you or your colleagues. 



Topics include:


  • Healthy Eating and Mental Health
  • Guided Stress Relief Session
  • Drama-free Communications
  • Moving Forward with Compassion
  • Chair Yoga / Reboot your Health and Wellbeing
  • Morale and Mindfulness Workplace Sanctuary


State Paraprofessional Organizations:

New York
North Carolina
South Carolina
South Dakota


Other Paraprofessional Organizations:

Resources and Publications:


VLA Professional Associates Forum (VLA PAF) bylaws from the VLA Manual.

(Established 1979, Revised 2014, Revised 2017, Revised 2020)

  • Purpose: To provide a formal network for professional associates throughout Virginia.
  • Objectives:
  1. To provide members with information pertinent to professional associates.
  2. To plan, sponsor, and present biennially the VLA PAF Conference, increasing opportunities for in-service training and staff development for library professional associates and for fostering communication among library employees throughout Virginia.
  3. To plan, sponsor, and present biennially one-day Regional Workshops in each of the regions across Virginia. 
  4. To award professional associate scholarship(s) annually, as deemed appropriate.
  5. To increase awareness in the library community of the role of professional associates in providing library service.
  6. To create an atmosphere where Virginia’s professional associates make meaningful contributions to VLA and benefit from VLA support and guidance.
  7. To provide the following recognition awards:
    1. Outstanding VLA Professional Associates Award. Recognizes member(s) of VLA who demonstrate(s) excellence and enhance(s) the image of professional associates.
    2. VLA PAF Supporter of Professional Associates Award. Recognizes an individual who has provided significant support to their staff and who has been a champion for professional associates in Virginia libraries.
    3. VLA Professional Associates Forum Award. Recognizes the value of professional associate development and assists someone who is unable to acquire local funding to attend the conference.

VLA Professional Associates Executive Board

The VLA Professional Associates Executive Board includes the following officers: Chair, Chair-Elect, Secretary and the Immediate Past Chair, and any other position determined to be necessary by the Forum. The Chair serves for three years: one year as Chair-Elect, one year as Chair, and one year as Immediate Past Chair. Officers serve until the VLA PAF business meeting at the VLA Annual Conference, at which time leadership will be transferred and their successors assume office.

Executive Board Officers and Responsibilities:

  • Chair
  1. Prepare the agendas and conduct the VLA PAF Board Meetings.
  2. Facilitate discussion and collaborate with the VLA Executive Director on all conference and program functions, including the monitoring of the budget, expenditures, and receipts.
  3. Serve as the Committee Chair of either the Conference or Regional Workshop Committee as according to the yearly event schedule and term of office.
  4. Serve as an ex-officio member of all other VLA PAF committees.
  5. Attend all VLA Council meetings and serve as the liaison between VLA and VLA PAF.
  6. Serve as a member of the VLA Scholarship Committee.
  • Chair-Elect
  1. Serve as the Committee Chair of either the Conference or Regional Workshop Committee as according to the yearly event schedule and term of office.
  2. Preside over VLA PAF Board Meetings in the absence of the Chair.
  3. Attend Council and committee meetings with or in the absence of the Chair.
  4. Partner with the Immediate Past Chair in the event that the current Chair is unable to fulfill his/her duty.
  • Secretary
  1. Record attendance and minutes of the VLA PAF Board Meetings. Distribute minutes, corrected minutes and announcements of future meetings to each board member.
  2. Maintain and distribute directory of VLA PAF Board Members.
  3. Provide corrected copies of Board meeting minutes to the Chair.
  4. Sends thank-you notes to supervisors and/or directors of Board Members for allowing their employees to participate in VLA PAF activities and events.
  5. Sends thank-you notes to special presenters and guests of VLA PAF events and functions.
  6. Serve on the Knowledge Management committee, but is not required to be the chair.
  • Immediate Past Chair
  1. Provide continuity of leadership within the Forum.
  2. Act as advisor to Chair and Chair-Elect, as requested.
  3. Preside at VLA PAF Board Meetings in the absence of the Chair and Chair-Elect.
  4. Serve on the VLA Awards Committee.

VLA Professional Associates Board Members

  1. Must be a VLA Member in good standing.
  2. Shall attend a minimum of nine (9) Forum Board Meetings per calendar year, starting from the Business Meeting at VLA Annual Conference.
  3. Assist in planning and executing the biennial conference, biennial regional workshops, programs and other projects of the Forum.
  4. Must be a member of a committee.

VLA Professional Associates Forum Members

  1. All VLA members may be members of the Forum with a specific focus upon those who are currently in professional associate positions.
  2. May attend Forum Board Meetings.
  3. May assist in the planning and execution of biennial conference, biennial regional workshops, programs, and other projects of the Forum.
  4. May be a member of a standing committee, which include Conference, Regional Workshop, Fundraising, Marketing and Publicity, and Knowledge Management, or any ad hoc committee as deemed necessary by the VLA PAF Executive Board and Board Members.

- Last updated 11/6/2023