VALA Annual Report 2011/2012

The highlight of the 2011/12 year was, of course, VALA’s sixteenth biennial conference, held in February 2012 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. On the theme “eM-powering eFutures”, the conference attracted a near-record number (960) of delegates from throughout Australia and overseas, including 41 from New Zealand. Following two conferences with sold-out trade exhibitions, VALA took the big step of hiring additional exhibition space, enabling the expansion of the exhibition. This move was successful, with 105 booths sold (up from 90), and additional space for the Red Carpet Area and for a central Network Hub. For the first time, VALA used barcode scanners to assist exhibitors in liaising with delegates, and to track entry passes used by non-delegate visitors to the exhibition, of whom there were more than 300.

Delegates were kept busy with the stimulating papers and presentations from six invited overseas keynote speakers and the considerable number of papers, from Australia and overseas. We were pleased that, after more than two years of operations, the new Convention Centre has overcome the difficulties experienced at VALA2010, and delegates, speakers, exhibitors and organisers found that the conference and exhibition went far more smoothly. The L-Plate Series was again popular, and the VALAtech Boot Camp returned, on occasion taking some different directions. VALA continues to seek partnership in the Galleries, Archives and Museum sectors as well as the traditional areas of Libraries and Repositories.

Special thanks are due to all who helped to make the Conference such a success, particularly those people who were on both the VALA Committee and the Programme Committee, and who participated in so many meetings and discussions. I particularly thank Bart Rutherford, who chaired the Programme Committee for VALA2012. This is a very demanding and time-consuming role, and is increasingly becoming a shared role: in this case, thanks also to David Feighan, who did much of the work on the Boot Camp and L-Plate Series. VALA also wishes to thank the staff of Waldron Smith Management, and especially the Managing Director, Kate Smith, and our Conference Manager, Alison Manning, for their work in ensuring the smooth running of the Conference.

Work on the seventeenth biennial conference, also to be held at the Convention Centre, has already begun.



The VALA Student Awards for 2011 were presented to Ben Chadwick, from RMIT University, and to LInlin Zhao, from Monash University. VALA was invited to send a representative to the RMIT University Faculty of Business Prize Giving Ceremony and Bart Rutherford attended on behalf of VALA.

The announcement at the VALA Conference Dinner that the Robert D. Williamson Award was being awarded to Christine Mackenzie, from Yarra-Plenty Regional Library, was greeted with acclaim by all present. Committee is grateful for the continuing involvement of Mrs Enid Williamson in these presentations, and, since she was unable to attend on the night, to her daughter, Roz Williamson, for presenting the Award on her behalf. Your Committee had commissioned, from the sculptor Michael Meszaros, the striking of a medallion to be given as part of this Award, and past winners were presented with their medallion by Mrs Williamson on the Red Carpet at afternoon tea on the last day of the Conference.

The VALA Award and the VALA Travel Scholarship(s) are given in non-conference years, and applications will shortly be sought for these awards.

General Meetings

This year, on two occasions VALA held a seminar on a Friday afternoon. For the September seminar, VALA was able to bring to Melbourne David Lee King, from Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, and for the May seminar, two speakers from Willoughby City Library, the last winner of the VALA Award. These speakers were joined by local presenters. As always, the Association is grateful to the speakers who give of their time and expertise for our general meetings, and also to the organisations that provided venues for the meetings.


June 2011Moving to Web scale
unlocking unprecedented efficiency, cooperation and collaborative innovation

Chris Thewlis, OCLC

September 2011

Freak Out, Geek Out, or Seek Out: Trends, Transformations, and Change in Libraries
Putting IT back in Reality

David Lee King,Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, USA

Hamish Curry, State Library of Victoria

November 2011

Eyes Up – How Not to Read a Paper!

Deanne Riddington, St Vincent’s Hospital

May 2012

Seminar: Not Lost in Translation
iBIMS, Willoughby City Library

MyLanguage, State Library of Victoria

Aurora multilingual OPAC Demonstration, Melbourne Library Service

Michele Burton and Angelina Yeung, Willoughby City Library
Brendan Fitzgerald and Andrew Cunningham, State Library of Victoria
Greg Worrell, Melbourne Library Service


The 2011/12 Committee has been:

Lian Todd

Sage Publications


Bart Rutherford

Wesley College


Jeremy Taylor

St Vincent’s Hospital


Julie Gardner

Parliament of Victoria


Tom Edwards

Wyndham Library Service

David Feighan

Bialik College

Lynette Lewis

Gale – Cengage Learning

Kim Tairi

Swinburne University of Technology

I would like to thank my fellow Committee members for their support during the year. Thank you also to Alyson Kosina and Petra Sorensen, from CSE Systems Pty Ltd for their assistance.

Lian Todd
27 June 2012