VALA Annual Report 2018/2019

Read about VALA’s 2018/2019 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 2018/19

VALA President’s Report 2018/19

It has been an honour to work with an outstanding volunteer committee over the past year. I am proud of what we have achieved together and of how we have worked together; the shared experience has forged relationships that have and will continue to enrich my professional life. I encourage other members to put themselves forward to serve in the future; your giving back will be just as rewarding for you as for the VALA network.

From a long list of significant achievements this year, I have selected my highlights.

Our Purpose Revisited

In August 2018, the new Committee met for a strategic planning day that delivered a new statement of purpose and values. We stand for the VALA that this day reflects, where we committed our Association to being Inclusive, Inquisitive, Innovative, Open and Responsive as we seek to fulfil our purpose of “cultivating innovative and sustainable use of technology in the information community”.

Initiatives we’ve taken and changes we’ve made to existing and respected programs since that day are informed by our new purpose and values.

Committees Reinvented

Consistent with our stated values, in this last committee cycle we successfully moved to online meetings and welcomed strong and valuable participation by members outside Melbourne. We have been excited by the change that this has enabled, which is reflected in:

  • A diverse VALA2020 Conference Organising Committee (representatives from libraries, museums and archives across 4 states)
  • The energetic 2019 VALA Tech Camp Organising Committee (4 members from Victoria, ACT, NSW and WA)
  • The current pool of nominees for the incoming VALA committee (from 5 states and territories)
Tech Camp II

The second coming of VALA Tech Camp (10-11 April 2019) saw a sell-out crowd and a stellar cast of workshop presenters and speakers. Supported for the second time by AARNet and Linux Australia, and joined by the City of Melbourne as our third investor, Tech Camp attracted 113 technologists who work for and with libraries and cultural collections. A huge 95% of delegates rated it just right in terms of challenge and were near-unanimous in terms of the quality of the overall program.
In the next committee cycle, we’ll get underway with planning for Tech Camp 2021.


In the lead up to our next and 20th VALA biennial conference, we shook things up and:

  • Introduced new presentation types to remove barriers for broad participation in our program
  • Moved to the new MCEC, where our conference and exhibition spaces are integrated and delegate-friendly
  • Created value-for-money registration rates at or below the cost of the past 3 VALA conferences

At the time of writing, we have issued acceptance letters to 67 abstract authors and secured 6 keynote speakers from all parts of the globe. The Exhibition Hall is 80% sold.

Registrations will open on 2 September.

Making Content Visible

As part of our 40th Anniversary in 2018, we made a commitment to bring best practice management to the VALA archive, which represents 40 years of library IT history. In 2018 we digitised all our past conference proceedings. In 2019, our project to identify, organise and catalogue this rich treasure trove will be completed and old and new content will include author ORCID iDs, current subject headings and new interfaces to make our conference content relevant and visible to Google Scholar.

Michelle McLean is leading this important project, and I thank her and the working group – David Feighan, Melissa Parent and Hugh Rundle – for boldly going where lesser mortals have not.

We Listen

This year we launched our first ever network survey, where we invited all of our 2424 (at the time) database contacts (and many more via our social media outreach) to shape VALA’s next generation of programs and activities. The incoming committee will be informed by the data that Mike Jones and Melissa Parent have collected, and our values are already reinforced by this process.

It is exciting to be part of an Association that is truly open, inclusive and responsive.

Events Program

We delivered an outstanding program of VALA events, face to face and via webinar.

  • 21 June 2018 – Finders Keepers (AGM)
  • 28 August 2018 – Open GLAM Innovation (Webinar)
  • 24 October 2018 – Is Open Always Equitable (Webinar), VALA’s contribution to Open Access week 2018.
  • 29 November 2018 – Preserving the Future (2018 VALA Award presentation and end of year event).
  • 20 February 2019 – Library Perceptions of Technology, Vendors and Products (Webinar)
  • 10-11 April 2019 – Tech Camp 2019 (2-day event)
  • 26 June 2019 – An Open book: Big Data, Literature and Ethics (AGM).
VALA Secretariat

The team behind the VALA Committee is key to our longevity, relationships and reputation and our ability to change. In recent weeks, we have extended our contract with our Executive Officer, Lesley Ryall, and her Good Work Group team, for a further 2 years and we look forward to the continued provision of excellent service and support that they provide. Wrangling volunteers is not a simple task, and they do so with skill, care and endless good will.

VALA Committee

The 2018/19 Committee has been:

KatieHadenAustralian Government SolicitorPresident, Co-Chair VALA2020
MichelleMcLeanCasey Cardinia LibrariesVice President/President Elect
LianToddSage PublicationsTreasurer
MelissaParentState Library of VictoriaSecretary
DavidFeighanMentone Girls Grammar SchoolCommittee Member
MikeJonesThe University of MelbourneCommittee Member
MatthiasLiffersUniversity of WACommittee Member, Co-Leader Tech Camp 2019
HughRundleBrimbank LibrariesCommittee Member, Co-Leader Tech Camp 2019
AdamStylesCity of Port PhillipCommittee Member (to 8 October)
TimTillackEBSCOCommittee Member

Katie Haden
President 2018/19

26 June 2019

VALA Treasurer’s Report 2018/19

VALA Treasurer’s Report 2018/19

I am pleased to present the Treasurer’s Report for the Financial Year ended 31 March 2019.

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 an operating deficit (of -$70,479). 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 keep that in line with the previous non-conference reporting periods, as shown below:

  • Overall Statement of Profit/Loss

2019 = -$70,479 (NB. This does not include an unrealised loss on investments – see “Investments”.)
2017 = -$69,625
2015 = -$75,002

VALA’s current net assets of $398,067 reflect an increase of approximately 4% on the balance at March 2017 (the comparable reporting period).

  • Assets

2019 = $398,067
2017 = $382,151
2015 = $409,183

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 the status of each of these, as follows:

Deliver the second iteration of Tech CampCompleted – 2019 VALA Tech Camp – 10-11 April 2019; on time and on budget, returning a small profit (the inaugural event in 2017 recorded a loss); has established itself as a valued non-conference-year event, set to continue in 2021.
The 20th VALA Biennial ConferenceUnderway – VALA2020 – 11-13 February 2020; conservative budget shows a viable financial return
Action VALA’s investment strategyUnderway – Shares sold in the 2018 FY were reinvested as additional shares in the remaining share funds – August/September 2018

Membership income reflects a lower takeup than in the previous financial year, which is typical in a non-conference year, however is up on the previous non-conference year and years prior.

This may have been reflective of the running of Tech Camp in the month following the end of Financial year as Tech Camp registrations were taken during this financial year.

$ value of membership in FY2018/19 = $45,410
$ value of membership in FY2017/18 = $50,220
$ 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

VALA is committed to greater engagement with its members and to further developing its very healthy student membership program.


At 31 March 2019 VALA had retained cash holdings ($178,284) which will fund foreseeable operational costs particularly relating to Conference over the next twelve months.

VALA’s investment portfolio was valued at $324,208 at 31 March 2019, having incurred an overall unrealised loss of -$22,332 during the year. The portfolio’s performance is consistent with overall market trends, and the VALA Committee continues to work closely with our investment advisors to manage our investments cautiously and with a view to the long-term. During the year the funds from shares sold in the prior year were reinvested into a number of remaining share Funds, consolidating the portfolio.


Audit for the year ended 31 March 2019 was uneventful and efficient. My thanks to the Mclean Delmo Bentleys 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 2019 was successfully completed by McLean Delmo Bentleys Audit PL.
  • Regular financial advice regarding VALA investments was provided by Morrows.
  • VALA has recorded significant members’ equity of $398,067 at 31 March, 2019 and remains in a sound financial position.

Lian Todd
VALA Treasurer
26 June 2019