VALA Annual Report 2008/2009

VALA has had yet another busy and successful year in 2008/9.

During the year, our general meetings have continued to provide stimulating speakers on a wide range of topics (often followed by an enjoyable social event for those able to join speaker and Committee at dinner). The VALA Award, a Travel Scholarship and the VALA Student Awards were announced in November at VALA’s 30-year celebrations.

Planning for the fifteenth biennial conference is now well under way, and the Main Announcement and Registration brochure for VALA2010 will appear in August. Special thanks to the members of Programme and Conference Committees for their hard work on this. The keynote speakers have been finalised, and there was a record response to the call for abstracts. VALA2010 will be the first VALA conference in the new Convention Centre.

In addition, the Committee has been developing a draft strategic document which we plan to distribute to members for comment and feedback. The Committee is also close to finalising the migration of the VALA web site to an open source platform. This migration will allow VALA to offer more online services to members and conference delegates. We also had a stand at the NLS4 Conference in Melbourne. This exercise attracted new members to VALA.

General Meetings

As always, the Association is grateful to the speakers who give of their time and expertise for our general meetings, and also to the University of Melbourne for continuing to provide the venue for most of our meetings. In late 2008 VALA started podcasting these meetings so they can be made available online via our new web site.

June 2008Our Online JourneyElizabeth Drynan and Pamela Johnstone, Enterprise Information Management Pty Ltd.
August 2008Preservation, digitisation, and using social media to engage with the community.Mal Booth, Australian War Memorial Research Centre
October 2008Literacy and Education in the Digital AgeIlana Snyder, Faculty of Education, Monash University
November 2008Getting Interactive and Getting PortableAndrew Apostola and Simon Goodrich, Portable Content
March 2009A View from the Other Side of the Desk: User Experience in the LibraryDana McKay, Swinburne University of Technology Library
May 2009Accessing the State Library collection online: virtual visitors and catalogue usersVivienne Waller, Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology.

30th Anniversary

VALA celebrated its 30th anniversary jointly with CAVAL, by hosting a series of seminars around Australia. The speakers for these seminars were Karen Schneider, the very popular blogger “The Free Range Librarian”, and Lizanne Payne, the Executive Director of the Washington Research Library Consortium.


The VALA Award was presented to RMIT Publishing, for Informit TVNews.

A Travel Scholarship was awarded to Kathryn Greenhill, from Murdoch University. Kathryn travelled to the United States and Canada in order to study Alternative Discovery Layers and Open Source Library Management Systems. Kathryn investigated what they do technically and whether organisations that implement them have common factors that make them early adopters of technology. A paper reporting on her investigations will be presented at the 2010 VALA Conference next February.

VALA Student Awards were presented to Alice Fahey, who was a student at RMIT University, and to Esmae Boutros, from Monash University.

The Robert D. Williamson Award is only given in Conference years, and nominations for this award are to be sought shortly.


The 2008/2009 committee has been:

Dale CousensWhitehorse Manningham Regional Library CorporationPresident (resigned November 2008)
David FeighanAustralian Tax OfficeSecretary (until November 2008)
President (from December 2008)
Bart RutherfordWesley College LibraryVice-President
Julie GardnerParliament of VictoriaTreasurer
Kim TairiSwinburne University LibrarySecretary (from December 2008)
Holley DumbleEx Libris(until August 2008)
Jeremy TaylorSt Vincent’s Hospital
Janice Van de VeldeState Library of Victoria
Alison MorineLibrary(from November 2008)
Tania BarryPlenty Regional Library(from December 2008)

I would like to thank my colleagues on the VALA Committee as well as the Programme Committee members for all their hard work and assistance. I would also like to thank Alyson Kosina, from CSE Systems Pty Ltd, and the team from WaldronSmith Management, for their support during the year. Finally, special thanks should go to Dale Cousens for her work as President, especially on the Conference, prior to her departure for New Zealand.


David Feighan
24 June 2009