VALA Events 2018: Finders, Keepers: the past, present and future of library technology.

VALA invites you to our June Special event and VALA AGM. Join us at the William Angliss Conference Centre in Melbourne on Thursday 21 June from 5:30pm.

The AGM will be followed by a very special Event to mark VALA’s 40th Anniversary (1978-2018). Join VALA President, David Feighan, and President-elect, Katie Haden, VALA Committee past and present, our sponsors, friends and VALA “royalty” to share the milestones of the journey so far and our vision for the VALA of the future.

VALA 40th Anniversary and Annual General Meeting

Topic: Finders, Keepers: the past, present and future of library technology.

For four decades, VALA has been a witness to the emergence of new technologies that have revolutionised the library IT industry.

Join with us on our 40th anniversary as our guest speakers reflect on the journey they’ve observed in the sector, sharing their highlights, reflections and learnings along the way, as well as the plans and vision for VALA into the future.

The History of VALA in 5 Chapters

Chapter 1: 1978-1988
The First Wave

In the beginning there was no VALA. But there was a small group of visionary people who realised they were at the start of a rising technology wave and that libraries and those who work in them were going to need a better boat to ride that wave. They first tried to board another, but were declined passage. Fortunately, as it turns out, as that boat is no more. Instead, the Victorian Association for Library Automation was born. Sharing the helm then, as for so much of VALA’s journey, was Alyson Kosina, who will reflect on VALA’s beginnings and some of the extraordinary gems from early VALA conference proceedings.

Chapter 2: 1988-1998
The (IT) reality for Libraries

This is the era of unprecedented technological change in libraries and collections management. The transition from cataloguing on microfiche, the rise of the union catalogue and mass digitisation liberated land-locked data and set it afloat. The dizzying potential of IT to store and share information demanded new ways of thinking and working; only the strongest, most resourceful and nimble organisations and individuals would weather the storm.

Chapter 3: 1998-2008

To realise the technology promise we had to get the pieces right. This is the “dream to reality” decade, where the infrastructure – hardware and software – was consolidated and the technology promise realised. Web 2.0 and Social Media were born, each in their own way putting users in the foreground of the IT e-volution.

Chapter 4: 2008-2018
Connections and conversations

The “consolidation” decade in which cloud computing and social media become main stream, and where a maturing industry recognised inclusion and developed a deeper understanding of “community”. The focus expands from libraries to cultural collections in galleries, archives and museums; vendors and end users also became critical partners in developing, understanding and delivering services. ‘Open access” and the semantic web start to emerge and open up new opportunities and challenges.

Chapter 5: 2018 and beyond
Disruptive Change

After 40 years of change — in our community, technologies, and in VALA itself — still more transformation awaits. While we can’t predict the future, we can acknowledge the building blocks of design for a successful future.


Alyson Kosina

Alyson Kosina

Currently VALA Editor, Alyson is best known for her long involvement with VALA, particularly as VALA’s inaugural Executive Officer, a position she held for over 16 years. Alyson has worked in special libraries, a university library, a TAFE library, a school library and public libraries, including 11 years as a systems librarian.

In 1976, Alyson joined the Committee of the fledgling organisation that was to become VALA. With the exception of a few years in the mid-1980s, she held a formal role on the VALA Committee from VALA’s first general meeting in April 1978, including as Treasurer, until becoming Executive Officer in late 1996.

Anne Beaumont

Anne Beaumont

After 7 years in special libraries Anne Beaumont joined the State Library of Victoria as the first Business Information Librarian, a position which she held for 5 years. In 1980 she became Reader Services Librarian responsible for service to patrons using the main library, moving to Technology Services in 1990 in a very junior position. After 15 years in TSD she moved from Application Support Manager to the Digital Strategy Division when she eventually became the Senior Data Analyst – retiring from the position in March 2018.

Anne served as VALA Secretary in 1993-94, President in 1995-96 and was a member of the committee from 1996-98, as well as serving on the conference program committee.

Tom Denison

Tom Denison

Dr. Tom Denison is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University. He conducts research within the fields of social and community informatics, specialising in research relating to the effective use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) by communities and their members.

Tom’s association with VALA has spanned across many decades, from a committee member during the 1980’s, and then returning after a break to become President, Vice President, Chair of Conference and Programme Committee at least twice each.

David Feighan

David Feighan

David Feighan is the Information and Library Services Manager at Mentone Girls’ Grammar School. David has twenty five years’ experience as a librarian within the corporate, government and school sectors. David is active within the profession, he has written numerous articles, presented at conferences, and has ran workshops.

David is the current and past VALA President, and was the VALA2010 Conference Program Chair and the VALA2016 Joint Program Chair.

Katie Haden

Katie Haden

Katie has extensive experience in corporate administration, content management, and libraries. She is the Library Systems Manager for AGS/AGD, and has previously worked as a library systems consultant and team leader in the vendor sector. She specialises in web content, digital access and discovery, and library management systems. Katie has a lot to say about the need for continual development and change in library management systems to improve current standards and practices in the library community.

Katie is the current VALA Vice President and in-coming President for 2018. She was the VALA2018 Co-chair.


Please join the VALA Committee, members and guests for this very special VALA 40th Anniversary Event, at 5.30pm, Thursday 21 June 2018.

This talk will follow the business of the Annual General Meeting. VALA members will be advised separately regarding the AGM.


RSVP: limited numbers, so please register only if you will attend. No “no shows” please! (We know who you are….)

Visitors are welcome at VALA meetings – but registration is essential!



William Angliss Conference Centre
555 LaTrobe Street,


Thursday 21 June 2018, 5:30 for 6:00 – 8:00pm
Complimentary refreshments served on arrival. Drinks and finger food from 7.30-8.00pm.

For any enquiries contact VALA Secretariat via or (03) 9844 2933