VALA Annual Report 2016/2017

Read about VALA’s 2016/2017 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 2016/17

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

The 2016/17 financial year has been another significant period in VALA’s history, in which innovation and consolidation have played an equal part. The VALA Committee and the Secretariat have worked together to develop new events, to embed systems, document policies, improve communications and address some administrative and governance initiatives whose time had come.

VALA Tech Camp

The most significant initiative commenced in the past year is the rollout of the 2 ½ -day event, VALA Tech Camp 2017, which will be delivered 12-14 July 2017.

Built on the interest in the Boot Camp sessions at previous VALA conferences, and inspired in part by the US-based Code4Lib, Tech Camp is the inaugural Australian gathering of technologists who work for and with libraries. Pitched as an intensive, active, hands-on learning and sharing experience, Tech Camp has attracted a number of key sponsors, an impressive list of workshop and short talk presenters, and a growing list of delegates.

VALA Archive

The documented VALA history, which has long been housed by the former Executive Officer, Alyson Kosina, was the subject of a formal Archive process, which resulted in the provision of detailed retention and disposal schedules and the relocation of the archive to permanent and secure storage.

VALA Online

To maximise the Wild Apricot database tools, VALA this year consolidated its commitment to a monthly enews (VALAdates) and introduced regular communications under the banners of VALA Tech Camp and VALA2018. A commitment to social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook), and a more regular investment in LinkedIn, have seen increased event attendance and online engagement.

All previous VALA conference proceedings were loaded to the website, adding to the significant repository of library IT collateral.

Members embraced the online payments option that VALA now supports, and member renewals in March 2017 have exceeded expectations.

VALA Events

VALA Events were delivered both in the traditional face-to-face style and increasingly via webinar; paid attendance at webinars was successfully introduced, and all events very well supported.

  • 18 May 2016 – Getting Connected with the ORCID APIs (Webinar)
  • 29 June 2016 – Technology (Alone) isn’t the Answer You Are Looking For (AGM)
  • 24 August 2016 – Collaborative Metadata Management in Cloud-Based Library Systems (webinar)
  • 23 November 2016 – Celebrating Innovation (End of Year)
  • 15 March 2017 – Technology Vendors and Products from the Library Perspective (webinar)

VALA Awards

The 2016 VALA Award drew an outstanding field of applicants, and was jointly awarded to the National Library of Australia – edeposit service, and University of Melbourne – data forensics lab, at the 2016 end of year event, “Celebrating Innovation”.

The 2016 Williamson Award, announced at VALA2016, was presented to Mal Booth, University of Technology, Sydney, at the 29 June event.

The 2016 Student Awards went to Steven Graham, Monash University and Kate Montgomery, RMIT.

The 2016 VALA Travel Scholarship was not advertised, following a review that resulted in its transition to a “Diversity Scholarship” with more contemporary relevance and application to both VALA Tech Camp 2017 and VALA2018.


A comprehensive review of the VALA Conference PCO was undertaken through April – June 2016, and an EOI process conducted; 4 PCOs were invited to submit proposals for consideration by a 4-person VALA sub-Committee. WaldronSmith Management was reappointed for VALA2018 and a new contract signed with them in July.

Additional conference contracts were negotiated and signed with the MCEC (conference venue) and AON (conference insurance).

A new-look VALA2018 Program Committee was established in October and first met in November 2016 to develop its new operating procedures. The smaller group (of 4) meets regularly, face to face and online, with Committee members Ebe Kartus and Katie Haden, who took on the shared responsibilities of the Conference Chair.

Keynote speakers were identified in December and secured; budget approved; Sponsorship and Exhibition opportunities and the Call for Abstracts process opened.


A new portfolios structure was introduced within the VALA Committee this year, which has focused time and attention on key areas of VALA’s business, including awards and recognition; membership and database; vendor liaison; website and social media; and events.

A key outcome of this has been a commitment to document relevant policies and procedures, with a focus this year on membership and awards. This will be an ongoing commitment for the VALA Committee for 2017/18.

VALA Secretariat

The contract review was undertaken in March 2017 and a new 2-year contract negotiated with The Good Work Group for the provision of VALA’s administrative requirements. The new contract commenced on 1 April 2017, with the next review scheduled for January/February 2019.

VALA Committee

The 2016/17 Committee has been:

Lynette LewisGale Cengage LearningPresident
David FeighanMentone Girls’ Grammar SchoolVice-President / President Elect
Lian ToddSage PublicationsTreasurer
Jennifer EddyUniversity of MelbourneSecretary
Charlotte Clements Committee Member
Katie Haden Committee Member, Co-Chair VALA2018
Ebe KartusAustralian Catholic UniversityCommittee Member, Co-Chair VALA2018, Co-Leader Tech Camp
Melissa Parent Committee Member
Hugh RundleBrimbank LibrariesCommittee Member, Co-Leader Tech Camp
Andrew StapletonANZCACommittee Member (resigned 11 July 2016)
Adam StylesHaileybury CollegeCommittee Member (co-opted from 14 November 2016)

Lynette Lewis
President 2016/17

28 June 2017


VALA Treasurer’s Report 2016/17

(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 2017.

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 normal in a non-conference year, the Balance Sheet for this financial year has recorded a deficit (of -$69,625). VALA has maintained a commitment this year to manage expenditure in the non-conference year, and in the current period we have again been able to reduce that deficit compared to other recent, non-conference reporting periods, as shown below:-

Overall Statement of Profit/Loss

2017 = -$69,625
2015 = -$75,002
2013 = -$142,065
2011 = -$127,224

VALA’s current net assets of $382,151 reflect a decrease of approximately 6% on the balance at March 2015 (the comparable reporting period).


2017 = $382,151
2015 = $409,183
2013 = $449,748

At last year’s AGM, we outlined key tasks for the year that would contribute to our financial well-being; I’m pleased to update you on significant progress made on each of these, as follows:-


Establish a new VALA event in the non-conference year to grow value for members and diversify our income opportunities2017 VALA Tech Camp – 12-14 July 2017
Plan for and develop a profitable and landmark 2018 Biennial Conference in VALA’s 40th anniversary yearUnderway – VALA2018 – 13-15 February 2018; conservative budget shows a viable financial return
Review and renew VALA’s investment strategyUnderway – scheduled for completion by September 2017


Membership income reflects a slightly lower takeup than in the previous financial year, which is typical in a non-conference year.

However, the financial return is significantly higher than in comparable periods, reflecting the benefits of the new membership structure and the growing opportunities for member engagement outside the conference year:-

$ value of membership in FY2016/17 = $40,009
$ 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 2017 VALA had retained cash holdings ($132,242) which will fund foreseeable operational costs over the next twelve months.

VALA’s investment portfolio was valued at $301,993 at 31 March 2017, having incurred an overall unrealised gain of $7,842 during the year. The VALA committee is undertaking a thorough review of the investment strategy, which will be implemented by the new committee from late 2017.


Audit for the year ended 31 March 2017 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 was again commended by the Auditors.


  • Audit for the year ended 31 March 2017 was successfully completed by The Banks Group.
  • Regular financial advice regarding VALA investments has been provided by Morrows.
  • VALA has recorded significant members’ equity of $382,151 at 31 March, 2017 and remains in a sound financial position.

Lian Todd
VALA Treasurer
28 June 2017