VALA's fourteenth biennial conference, held in February 2008 at the Melbourne Convention Centre, was, of course, the highlight of this year. On the theme Libraries: changing spaces, virtual places, the conference attracted the largest number yet (932) of delegates from throughout Australia and overseas, including 66 from New Zealand. The highly successful trade exhibition was also our largest yet, and many non-delegates were able to visit the exhibition and the vendor presentations by using visitor passes. Delegates were kept busy with the stimulating papers and presentations from six invited overseas keynote speakers and the considerable number of authors, from Australia and overseas, of submitted papers. Despite expanding the trade exhibition three times, it was again completely sold out, and more booths could have been sold if there had been any space for them.

Special thanks are due to all who helped to make the Conference such a success, particularly those people who were on both the VALA Committee and the Programme Committee, and who participated in so many meetings and discussions. I also thank Tom Denison, who chaired the Programme Committee for VALA2008. As for the last three Conferences, the President in the non-Conference year was Chair of Programme Committee and continued in that role the following year, which meant that the workload was shared - thanks, Tom. VALA also wishes to thank the staff of Waldron Smith Management, and especially our Conference Manager, Kassandra Koudelka, for their work in ensuring the smooth running of the Conference.

Work on the fifteenth biennial conference, to be held at the new Convention Centre, will begin next month.

Awards

The VALA Student Awards for 2007 were presented to Marion Slawson, from RMIT University, and to Rebecca French, from Monash University. VALA was invited to send a representative to the RMIT University Faculty of Business Prize Giving Ceremony and I attended on behalf of VALA.

The announcement at the VALA Conference Dinner that the Robert D. Williamson Award was being awarded to Elizabeth Drynan and Pamela Johnstone, of Enterprise Information Management, was warmly received by all present. Unfortunately, neither was able to attend the dinner, so we are fortunate that they are able to be here tonight. Committee is grateful for the continuing involvement of Mrs Enid Williamson in these presentations, and especially grateful that she is able to be here tonight to present the Awards.

The VALA Award and the VALA Travel Scholarship(s) are given in non-conference years, and applications will shortly be sought for these awards.

General Meetings

As always, the Association is grateful to the speakers who give of their time and expertise for our general meetings, and also to the University of Melbourne for continuing to provide the venue for most of our meetings.

June 2007 Bringing Frederick Bailey Deeming back to life: digitising, preserving, and reinterpreting collections to engage with new audiences Daniel Wilksch, Public Records Office Victoria
August 2007 Smart thinking, smart learning, smart choice: preparing students for their futures Jenny Sargeant, Coburg Senior High School
October 2007 Librarian 2.0 Christine Mackenzie, Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service
November 2007 A glimpse into the ABC’s future Nicola Fern, Merran Fuller and Lynne Carmichael, ABC
April 2008 Facebook Your Library Karyn Siegman, Bayside Library Service and Kat Clancy, Deakin University
May 2008 Connecting in a Wireless World Bart Rutherford, Wesley College

Committee

The 2007/2008 committee has been:

Ted Chrisfield President
Dale Cousens Vice-President
Jennifer Eddy Treasurer
David Feighan Secretary
Tom Denison  
Holley Dumble  
Julie Gardner  
Bart Rutherford  

I would like to thank my fellow Committee members for their support during the year. Thank you also to Alyson Kosina, from CSE Systems Pty Ltd, and to the team from Waldron Smith Management, for their assistance.

Special mention is due for Tom Denison, who is retiring from Committee (again!) after ten years, twice including terms as Vice-President and then President, and serving as Programme Committee Chair for VALA2004 and VALA2008. A remarkable effort, Tom - thank you for all your hard work. Jennifer Eddy is also retiring from Committee for the second time – thank you Jen. I am also retiring from Committee tonight, but intend to continue my involvement with the Programme Committee.


Ted Chrisfield
25 June 2008

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