VALA Annual Report 2015/2016

Read about VALA’s 2015/2016 financial year activities in the annual President’s report, Treasurer’s report and AGM powerpoint presentation.

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

VALA President’s Report 2015/16

(Click HERE for a pdf copy of the President’s Report.)

The 2015/16 financial year has been a progressive one for VALA. With a strong focus on the biennial conference, the VALA Committee and Secretariat also maintained their commitment to diversifying VALA’s activities, particularly those that provide benefit to members, and to continuous improvement of supporting systems and processes.


The 18th Biennial Conference – VALA2016 – was delivered to 1350 attendees from 9-11 February 2016 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The long-time issue of shared registrations at conference was addressed in 2016, with a new set of registration options, consistent with the new membership structure, introduced with only minor issues. Benefits for VALA included greater visibility of those attending conference and a reduction in administration of the registration process.

The VALA2016 Program Committee was chaired by Committee members David Feighan and Ebe Kartus and met twice in June to assess abstracts and then allocate them to the program grid. In addition, the VALA2016 Coordinating Committee met monthly throughout the year.

The result of the enormous volunteer effort, supported by the WSM team and the VALA Secretariat, was a conference that was assessed by participants as one of VALA’s best, and which posted a budget v actual return of +$64K – a pleasing result in difficult economic times for the sector.

VALA Online

Significant initiatives were completed in the past year in relation to the VALA online environment, and include:-

  • Database integration – the Wild Apricot member portal was built and integrated with the VALA website in June/July, enabling (for the first time) online membership application and renewal. VALA2016 attendees were incorporated into the VALA database, resulting in record growth of the VALA active contacts list to over 1800.
  • Payment Gateway – the new VALA PayPal gateway was successfully integrated with the VALA portal in September.
  • Digitising of VALA Proceedings – 12 volumes of VALA conference proceedings (1981-1998) were digitised to complete the full suite of proceedings from the inception of the VALA conference. They will be loaded to the VALA website and made publicly available prior to VALA2018.
  • VALA Domain ( – this dormant domain was hacked in early July requiring immediate action to take the site down. Committee determined that the site was no longer required and it was decommissioned, and the domain relinquished.

VALA Governance

A VALA Code of Conduct was approved by Committee and implemented for VALA2016. The development of the Code of Conduct heralded a renewed commitment to quality, contemporary and transparent governance by the VALA Committee and Secretariat, reflected in ongoing work to document policy and procedures across a range of VALA’s activities.

VALA signed The Hague Declaration and continued its collaborations with ALIA and LIANZA via formal Memoranda of Understanding.

VALA Events

A rich program of VALA Events was delivered both in the traditional face to face style and via webinar. Partnership with the City of Melbourne delivered a new and diverse audience to the Steve Killelea presentation on “Measuring Peace”, held at the Melbourne Town Hall. 445 people registered to attend VALA Events in 2015.

  • 22 April – Make it a Triple (Les Kneebone, ESA)
  • 23 Mobile Things (Jan Holmquist)
  • 1 July – Web Driven Revolution for Library Data (Richard Wallis, OCLC)
  • 26 August – What can we Learn from Measuring Peace? (Steve Killelea, Global Peace Index)
  • 21 October – Copyright in the Digital Age (Trish Hepworth, ADA)
  • 25 November – Lightning Talks

VALA Awards

The 2016 Awards recognized the following high achievers in library IT:-

  • 2016 Williamson Award – Mal Booth
  • 2015 Student Awards – Karen Seligman (RMIT) and Viviane Hessami (Monash)

VALA Membership

The new membership structure was implemented from 1 April 2015 and the year saw a growth in VALA membership numbers and income.

For the first time, annual renewals were undertaken electronically, and brought in line with VALA’s membership (and financial) year with the first renewal notices sent in early March 2016; a pleasing 44% of renewals (due 1 April 2016) were paid in March.

During March, a significant proportion of renewing members (57%) utilized the PayPal payment option, reducing the administrative overheads associated with membership renewal.

Complimentary membership for Full-time Library Students was introduced from 1 April 2015.

VALA Secretariat

A new 2-year contract was negotiated with The Good Work Group for the provision of VALA’s administrative requirements; the contract commenced on 1 April 2015, with the next review scheduled for January/February 2017.

VALA Committee

The 2015/16 Committee from 1 July 2015 has been:

Hugh RundleBrimbank LibrariesPresident
Lynette LewisGale Cengage LearningVice-President
Jeremy TaylorSt Vincent’s HospitalSecretary
Lian ToddSage PublicationsTreasurer
David FeighanMentone Girls GrammarCommittee Member, Co-Chair VALA2016
Ebe KartusAustralian Catholic UniversityCommittee Member, Co-Chair VALA2016
Melissa ParentAustralian Catholic UniversityCommittee Member
Katie HadenOCLCCommittee Member
Jennifer EddyUniversity of MelbourneCommittee Member co-opted from 10 August 2015
Andrew StapletonANZCA (Australian and New Zealand College and Anaesthetists)Committee Member co-opted from 18 January 2016
Nathan ConnorsMelbourne City LibrariesCommittee Member; resigned October 2015
Kim TairiSwinburne University of TechnologyCommittee Member; resigned July 2015

Hugh Rundle

29 June 2016


VALA Treasurer’s Report 2015/16

(Click HERE for a pdf copy of the Treasurer’s Report.)

I am pleased to present the Treasurer’s Report for the Financial Year ended 31 March 2016.

I would like to focus on some critical indicators that give me confidence that VALA is in a sound financial position.

Financial Performance

As is expected in a conference year, the Balance Sheet for this financial year has recorded a profit (of $42,593). This is made up of a healthy operating surplus, as budgeted, of just under $60,000 ($59,849), but is impacted by a disappointing loss in value of VALA’s investments, consistent with overall market performance, across the financial year (-$17,256).

VALA’s focus this year has been on delivering a profitable conference. When looking at comparable years:-

Overall Statement of Profit/Loss

2016 = $42,593
2014 = $34,437

VALA’s current net assets, at $451,776 have increased by just over 10% from last year’s closing position of $409,183. This reflects a decrease of approximately 7% on the balance at March 2014 (a comparable reporting period).


2016 = $451,776
2015 = $409,183
2014 = $484,185

In the next 12 months, we have 3 key tasks that will contribute to our financial well-being:-

  • To establish a new VALA event in the non-conference year to grow value for members and diversify our income opportunities.
  • To plan for and develop a profitable and landmark 2018 Biennial Conference in VALA’s 40th anniversary year.
  • To review and renew VALA’s investment strategy.


During the past year we have implemented the new membership structure, providing greater flexibility for institutions, better value for money for non-Victorian personal members, and greater access for library students to VALA activities and opportunities. In doing so, we enabled significant changes to conference registration which came into effect from 1 September 2015.

Membership income reflects a higher takeup, which is typical in a conference year. However, the financial return is significantly higher than in comparable periods, reflecting the benefits of the new membership structure:-

$ value of membership in FY2015/16 = $44,297
$ value of membership in FY2014/15 = $29,975
$ value of membership in FY2013/14 = $33,090
$ value of membership in FY2012/13 = $27,935

Our current challenge is to retain these membership levels in the non-conference year.


At 31 March 2016 VALA had modest retained cash holdings ($97,528) which will fund foreseeable operational costs over the next twelve months.

VALA’s investment portfolio was valued at $349,163 at 31 March 2016, having incurred an overall loss of -$17,256 during the year. With our investment advisor, Morrows, the VALA committee in undertaking a thorough review of the investment strategy, which will be implemented by the new committee from July 2016.


Audit for the year ended 31 March 2016 was uneventful and efficient. My thanks to the Banks Group team who provide us with robust assessment and to Fiona and Lesley (VALA Secretariat) for their accounting and record keeping, which again received high praise from the Auditors.


  • Audit for the year ended 31 March 2016 was successfully completed by The Banks Group.
  • Regular financial advice regarding VALA investments has been provided by Morrows, with significant cash holdings returned to the investment portfolio during the year.
  • VALA has recorded significant members’ equity of $451,776 at 31 March, 2016 and remains in a sound financial position.

Lian Todd
VALA Treasurer
29 June 2016