VALA Annual Report 2013/2014

Read about VALA’s 2013/2014 financial year activities in the annual President’s report, Treasurer’s report and AGM powerpoint presentation.

President’s Report | Treasurer’s Report | AGM presentation

President’s Report

VALA2014 – streaming with possibilities.

The 17th Biennial Conference and Exhibition was the highlight of the VALA 2013/14 year.  In keeping with the VALA journey so far, VALA2014 delivered great content, challenging presentations and memorable images (will we ever forget “pants off Wednesday”?) to a vibrant and intelligent audience.

A huge thank you to all participants; over 1400 people came through the doors to experience 6 outstanding keynote speakers; 44 papers in 15 concurrent sessions; 6 Boot Camp sessions; 7 L-Plate sessions; and a capacity Conference Dinner on a stunning night in the magnificent NGV. The 107-booth Exhibition was again an outstanding aspect of our event and we are indebted to our loyal and valued sponsors and exhibitors for making VALA this region’s conference of choice for the best vendors in the industry.

True to our agenda, we introduced some new technology to VALA2014 which was embraced with gusto. Live twitter feeds into all sessions generated +10,000 tweets and blew up our google spreadsheet; our ShowGizmo mobile app provided over 400 of our most engaged delegates with paper-free information, opportunity and interaction.

Topped off with decent coffee, some truly great food, strong wifi, outstanding conference management (thank you Kate Smith, Josie Gruber and the team at WaldronSmith Management) and our brilliant library-and-allied-industries community, VALA2014 ticked all the boxes.

Special thanks are due to the VALA Committee and Programme Committee, who volunteered tirelessly to deliver outstanding content. I particularly thank VALA2014 Conference Chair, Kim Tairi, who tackled this very demanding and time-consuming role with passion and purpose.

Work on the 18th Biennial Conference and Exhibition has already begun.

VALA Events

VALA’s General Meetings received a makeover in 2013 and were relaunched as VALA Speaker Events to sell-out audiences.  VALA is grateful to the guest speakers who give their time and expertise throughout the year, and also to the University of Melbourne for access to the Baillieu Library, the venue for most of our events.

22 May 2013Library web OPACJustin Kelly, Swinburne University Library
26 June 2013AGM and Evening with Sue RobertsSue Roberts, State Library of Victoria
28 August 2013Library Space OddityMal Booth (UTS), Patti Manolis (Geelong Regional Library)
23 October 2013Making ConnectionsPru Mitchell (Education Services Australia), David Feighan (Bialik College)
28 November 2013Lightning TalksShowcase of local ideas and practices

VALA Website

A major but largely behind-the-scenes activity in April/May 2013 was the upgrade of the Joomla-based VALA website.  The complex migration was supported by our friends at WebWired (thank you Byron and Tony for your patience and valued assistance) and the follow up work to restore many internal links involved countless hours of volunteer and staff time – thank you to David Feighan, Bart Rutherford and Petra Sorenson for their diligence and persistence with this task.

Work to further improve the look and functionality of the website is scheduled for the second half of 2014.

VALA Awards

  • 2013 VALA Student Awards were presented to Ailie Smith from Monash University, and to Penny Cook from RMIT University.
  • The 2014 Robert D. Williamson Award was presented to Alyson Kosina, in recognition of over thirty years working at the forefront of library technology and innovation.

VALA Committee

The 2013/14 Committee has been:

Tom EdwardsWyndham City CouncilPresident
Kim TairiSwinburne University of TechnologyVice-President
Jeremy TaylorSt Vincent’s HospitalSecretary
Julie GardnerParliament of VictoriaTreasurer
David FeighanMentone Girls GrammarCommittee
Lynette LewisZenith Information Management ServicesCommittee
Bart RutherfordWesley College LibraryCommittee
Lian ToddSage PublicationsCommittee

The past 12 months has been a time of unusual and significant change for VALA.  I thank my hard-working colleagues on the VALA Committee, together with Alyson Kosina, Lesley Ryall and her team at The Good Work Group, Kate Smith and her team at WaldronSmith Management for enabling that change with maturity, good humour and with VALA’s best interests always front of mind.

Tom Edwards
25 June 2014


VALA Treasurer’s Report 2013/14

I am pleased to present the Treasurer’s Report for the Financial Year ended 31 March 2014.  I would like to focus on some critical indicators that provide me with confidence that VALA is in a sound financial position.

Financial Performance
Net Surplus = $34,437

2012 = $591,814
2013 = $449,748
2014 = $484,185

The modest increase in our asset base since 2013 requires some explanation, as we would normally anticipate a larger return in a conference year.

Performance against budget = +$70,000

Whilst conference performed better-than-budget, we entered the VALA2014 budgeting process with the expectation of a significant loss.  This was informed by our view – since confirmed – that the sector was and is under financial pressure, and that the record-breaking attendances that we had achieved in 2012 were not going to be repeated.

Full Registrations were down by 22% in 2014 against 2012 record attendance, with the key area of decline in registrations being non-members.

We are working to address this gap and looking at how we can best promote our events and activities to members and non-members.  In addition, the review of VALA2014 finances suggests the potential for minor modifications to the running of the conference that will ensure the biennial conference remains financially sustainable into the future.

VALA2014 participation figures were still impressive:-

  • 1400 people attended
  • 107 exhibition booths
  • Income from conference = $1.08M

$ value of membership in FY2013/14 = $33,090
$ value of membership in FY2012/13 = $27,935

This increase in membership income reflects a modest fee increase and the larger membership numbers which are typical in a conference year.  A review of the membership structure in the second half of 2014 will seek to better address the needs of both personal and institutional members, particularly to offer greater flexibility within institutional membership types.

At 31 March 2014 VALA had substantial cash holdings ($250,000) that were required to secure merchant facilities for VALA2014. We will reinvest this upon maturity of the term deposit in August.  VALA’s investment portfolio has continued to perform strongly and has remained a positive contributor to both our income and assets base.

Audit for the year ended 31 March 2014 was successfully completed.  I would like to thank both Fiona and Lesley (VALA Secretariat) for their accounting and record keeping, which received high praise from the Auditors

Priorities for 2014-15:-

  • Prepare annual budget reflecting all organisational activity and noting the peaks and troughs of the 2-year conference cycle
  • Review of conference costs  (e.g streamlining our processes, enabling our contract partners)
  • Review of non-conference activities – how can we diversify our income streams?
  • Preparing a financial procedures manual
  • Review of membership structure and costs


  • Audit for the year ended 31 March 2014 was successfully completed by The Banks Group.
  • Regular financial advice regarding VALA investments has been provided by Morrows, and a substantial amount of equity has been held as cash.
  • VALA has recorded significant members’ equity of $484,185 at 31 March, 2014 and remains in a sound financial position.

Julie Gardner
25 June 2014