VALA's fifteenth biennial conference, held in February 2010 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, was, of course, the highlight of this year. On the theme “Connections. Content. Conversations”, the conference attracted the largest number yet (965) of delegates from throughout Australia and overseas, including 68 from New Zealand. The highly successful trade exhibition was also our largest yet, with 90 booths, and many non-delegates were able to visit the exhibition and the vendor presentations by using visitor passes. Despite expanding the trade exhibition, it was again completely sold out, and more booths could have been sold if there had been any space for them.

Delegates were kept busy with the stimulating papers and presentations from six invited overseas keynote speakers and the considerable number of papers, from Australia and overseas. A new venue brought new challenges, but speakers and delegates rose to the occasion, unless of course they were snowed in. Our program built on the strengths of 2008, with the return of the popular L-Plate series, and introduced the VALAtech Boot Camp, taking VALA back to its core. We stopped talking about Web 2.0 and embraced it with our new Website, Social Networking and VALATV YouTube channel. Of course VALArians (delegates) can be a social bunch, and the red carpet became so popular we plan to extend it in 2012. VALA continues to seek partnership in the Galleries, Archives and Museum sectors as well as the traditional areas of Libraries and Repositories.

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 David Feighan, who chaired the Programme Committee for VALA2010. As for the last four 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, David. VALA also wishes to thank the staff of Waldron Smith Management, and especially our Conference Manager, Rebecca Campbell, for their work in ensuring the smooth running of the Conference.

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

Awards

The VALA Student Awards for 2009 were presented to Angela Hogan, from RMIT University, and to Iris Perkins, 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 Anne Beaumont, from the State Library of Victoria, was greeted with acclaim by all present. Committee is grateful for the continuing involvement of Mrs Enid Williamson in these presentations, and, since she was unable to attend on the night, to her grandson, Peter Williamson, for presenting the Award on her behalf.

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 2009 Open Source and Libraries. Why, what to do, what to look out for, and what are the benefits. Dr. Matthias Raab, Melbourne Joomla User Group
August 2009 Imagining possibilities: the student experience of tomorrow Jon Peacocke, University of Melbourne
October 2009 Australian Policy Online (APO) goes open source... Amanda Lawrence, Australian Policy Online
November 2009 Public Interest Journalism -- Where to from here? Eric Beecher, Crikey
March 2010 Creative Commons in Australia Anne Fitzgerald, Queensland University of Technology
May 2010 Imagining the Futures of Search Douglas W. Oard, University of Maryland (USA)

Committee

The 2008/2009 committee has been:

Bart Rutherford Wesley College President
Kim Tairi Swinburne University of Technology Vice-President
Jeremy Taylor St Vincent's Hospital Secretary
Julie Gardner Parliament of Victoria Treasurer
Tania Barry Yarra Plenty Regional Library  
David Feighan Bialik College  
Alison Morin EBL  
Janice Van de Velde State Library of Victoria (until June 2009)
Simon Huggard State Library of Victoria (from July 2009)

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


Bart Rutherford
23 June 2010

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