VALA Annual Report 2017/2018

Read about VALA’s 2017/2018 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 2017/18

The past year has produced significant outcomes for VALA on many fronts, and I would like to thank an outstanding committee for the energy and enthusiasm that they have brought to the table. One of the reasons that we have been able to sustain our volunteer commitment to VALA over many years is the calibre of the people work with on the Committee – our professional lives are enriched by the experience.
Here are the highlights of our year.

VALA Tech Camp

The successful rollout of the inaugural VALA Tech Camp, delivered 12-14 July 2017 in Melbourne was our most significant new activity of the year. Supported by AARNet, EBSCO and Linux Australia, Tech Camp attracted 110 technologists who work for and with libraries. Workshops and short talks provided hands-on learning and sharing experiences. Delegate feedback was positive, and the content assessed as highly relevant to their work. Tech Camp attracted a new network of people and the “hands on aspect” was prized.

Plans are underway for Tech Camp 2019, and VALA is in discussion with LIANZA to explore opportunities to take the event “on the road”.

VALA Diversity Scholarships

Following a review of our Awards program, Committee initiated the VALA Diversity Scholarship at Tech Camp 2017 (one scholar, sponsored by Linux Australia) and VALA2018 (three scholars, sponsored by EBSCO), where they replaced the Travel Scholarship. Designed to support regional, rural and indigenous members of the library community who in normal circumstances may not have the opportunity to attend a VALA event, the Diversity Scholarships were strongly contested and highly valued by the recipients.

VALA Diversity Scholarships will continue to play a part in the delegate makeup of Tech Camp 2019 and VALA2020.

VALA Awards

The inaugural Diversity Scholarships were awarded as follows:-

• VALA Tech Camp 2017 – Nathan Sentance (Australian Museum)
• VALA2018 – Lisa Harth (Western Downs Regional Council, Dalby, QLD); Donna Kellion (Mackay Regional Council Libraries, QLD); Joyce Williams (City of Karratha, WA)

The 2018 Robert D Williamson Award was presented at VALA2018 to Rose Holley, University of New South Wales, Canberra.

VALA Events

All VALA activities and events tie back to our goals and objectives and the 2017. To make our events more accessible and inclusive, in addition to the both in the traditional face-to-face style, in 2017 more events were delivered via webinar. Paid attendance at webinars was successfully introduced, and all events very well supported.

  • 24 May 2017 – Getting the most out of your VALA paper and presentation (Webinar)
  • 28 June 2017 – Inside the seed bank (AGM) a fascinating insight into setting up the Germaine Greer Archives at the University of Melbourne.
  • 12-14 July – Tech Camp (2 ½ day event)
  • 25 October 2017 – Open in order to deliver better research and learning outcomes (Webinar), VALA’s contribution to Open Access week 2018.
  • 22 November 2017 – Women in IT – Data, Dystopia, Science Fiction and You (SGM, end of year event) and important forum on the role of women in Library IT.
VALA 40th Anniversary

Forty years is a long life for any volunteer group, and we proudly acknowledge the 40 years of VALA in 2018. To mark the milestone, we have digitised and liberated all VALA conference proceedings and will launch a new and much improved website and repository later this year. The incoming committee will consolidate new online meeting processes to support participation by members outside Melbourne, and we look forward to the new opportunities for engagement, learning and growth that this represents.

Our event tonight celebrates the first 40 years of VALA, acknowledges the work of the many dedicated individuals who have contributed to our journey so far and invites all of you, our absent members and supporters, to be a voice in the VALA of the future.


In our 40th year, VALA2018 delivered another successful conference for 1218 participants from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and beyond. We introduced ePosters to the program, invested in an improved online call for abstracts, papers and review portal, welcomed a record number of commercial sponsors and even opened the proceedings with an interview with a robot. A dedicated program committee produced an outstanding conference program that raised the bar a little bit higher for our next and 20th conference in 2020. In well-received initiatives, we put our L-Plates series online and early, opened access to conference papers pre-conference, and opened the doors of the final plenary session to library students.

On behalf of the VALA community, I record our sincere thanks to Ebe Kartus and Katie Haden, our VALA2018 Conference Chairs, who worked tirelessly across the 18 months of planning, development and delivery.

VALA Secretariat

The team behind the VALA Committee is key to our longevity, relationships and reputation; over a long journey, it has been constant and reliable, with very little change in personnel. I would like to acknowledge the contribution made by Petra Sorensen, who left the VALA Secretariat in March this year, after 15 years of service. Her quiet competence and willingness to tackle any task will be missed by the many friends and colleagues who have enjoyed working with her. Petra successfully completed a geology degree at the end of 2017 and is following her dream in a new, full time role with Ecology and Heritage Partners. On behalf of the Committee, I record our sincere thanks and best wishes for the future.

Current team member Kim Humphris, best known to members for her work on Tech Camp 2017, has stepped seamlessly into the role and will continue to provide excellent service and support across the membership, events and website programs.

VALA Committee

The 2017/18 Committee has been:

David Feighan
President 2017/18

21 June 2018

VALA Treasurer’s Report 2017/18

I am pleased to present the Treasurer’s Report for the Financial Year ended 31 March 2018. This reporting period incorporates the development and delivery of our inaugural Tech Camp in July 2017, as well as VALA2018 in February this year.

It is important to note that VALA receives no significant external financial support to fund our programs and activities. All of the assets and revenue documented in this report goes towards delivering the activities (conferences, tech camps, webinars, meetings, scholarships and awards) that directly support VALA’s aims and objectives. Namely, “to promote the use and understanding of information technology within libraries and the broader information sector”.

We are therefore grateful to all our members and sponsors for their ongoing financial support.

Financial Performance

Conference is a crucial financial contributor to the Association. As we expect (and plan for) in a conference year, the Balance Sheet for this financial year has recorded a profit (of $108,727). This is made up of a healthy return on conference, as budgeted, together with a solid return on our managed investments.

Overall Statement of Profit/Loss
2018 = $108,727
2016 = $42,593
2014 = $34,437

VALA’s current net assets of $490,878 reflect an increase of approximately 8.6% on the balance at March 2016 (the comparable reporting period).

2018 = $490,878
2017 = $382,151
2016 = $451,776
2015 = $409,183
2014 = $484,185

In the next 12 months, the following crucial elements of our core business will be the focus of Committee’s attention, to ensure they continue to make a positive impact on our financial sustainability:-

  • Tech Camp 2019 – the second coming of this important, non-conference year event, scheduled April-June 2019
  • The 20th Biennial Conference in February 2020
  • Investment strategy – review and renew as appropriate

Membership income reflects a much higher takeup than in the previous financial year, as expected in a conference year. What is particularly pleasing to see is the growth in overall membership numbers and income in comparable periods:-.

$ 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


At 31 March 2018 VALA had retained cash holdings ($171,627) which will fund foreseeable operational costs over the next twelve months. Committee will review the cash situation in August with a view to reinvesting an appropriate portion of these holdings.

VALA’s investment portfolio was valued at $331,624 at 31 March 2018 (compared with $301,993 at 31 March 2017). I would like to thank our financial advisors at Morrows for their input and industry advice, and the ongoing management of our investments.

The VALA Committee will continue its regular review of the investment strategy, in the second half of 2018.


As instructed at the SGM on 22 November 2017, VALA transferred its audit requirements to McLean Delmo Bentleys who have completed their first audit for us for the year ended 31 March 2018.

I would like to thank both the incoming audit team and those at the Banks Group for supporting this change, which was uneventful and efficient. Thank you also to the VALA Secretariat team of Fiona and Lesley for their accounting and record keeping, and for the seamless integration of our new Auditors.

  • Audit for the year ended 31 March 2018 was successfully completed by McLean Delmo Bentleys.
  • Regular financial advice regarding VALA investments was provided by Morrows Private Wealth Pty Ltd.
  • VALA has recorded significant members’ equity of $490,878 at 31 March 2018 and remains in a sound financial position.

Lian Todd
VALA Treasurer
21 June 2018