Annual Board Retreat 2009

Vermont Library Association Board Retreat
August 5, 2009
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
St. Michael’s College


Present: Marti Fiske (Vice-President/Presiding), Judah Hamer (Past President), Brenda Ellis (Past Secretary), Sharon Thayer (Membership chair), Kip Roberson (NELA – New England Library Assoc. Rep), Nancy Wilson (ALA Councilor); Larraby Fellows (outgoing CSL- College & Special Libraries), Jill Coffrin (Outgoing Youth Libraries Section), Jane Napier (President – YLS), Grace Greene (DOL/VLS Awards Committee), Amy Grasmick (Personnel), Lucinda Walker (Public Libraries), Helen Linda (Advocacy), Deb Bullock Spackman (Government Relations)

Meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m.

Report on Membership (Sharon Thayer)

There are currently 317 VLA members, of whom 43 are new. This is down 65 members since the conference. Perks of VLA membership include: tuition reduction at Drexel University, reduced registration fee for conferences (including DCF) and workshops, and the NELLS scholarship. There was a discussion about how to generate interest in VLA. Suggestions included doing an online survey via Survey Monkey, concentrated outreach to new librarians and support staff, sending an annual hardcopy newsletter. Sharon will research other state library associations to see what perks they offer. Marti Fiske suggested that the DOL and VLA work together to create a marketing campaign.

MOTION: To offer remaining 2009 membership pro-rated at 50% with next year’s membership when lapsed members renew now (16 months; 8/09-12/10). All approved. Sharon will send postcards with offer to lapsed members.

Action Plan:
1. Special pro-rated renewals via postcards
2. VLA Board to highlight importance of VLA membership
3. Sharon will research other state associations
4. Board members to recruit one person to membership committee
5. John, Judah and Marti will work closely with VSLA

MOTION: To renew Survey Monkey membership. All approved.

Treasurer’s Report (Marti Fiske for Wynne Browne in absentia)
The financials are sound. Marti reminded everyone that there is no budget for section workshops and that section heads will need to recoup the costs from workshop fees if necessary. Discussion followed about postage and bulk mailing fees. Academic libraries will be approached to see if they could handle VLS bulk mailing – VLA would reimburse.

MOTION: Moved do not renew bulk mail permit. All approved.

ALA Report (Nancy Wilson)

Nancy said ALA was a great conference. Nancy introduced a resolution to support universal healthcare to the ALA Council. It was amended from the floor, was passed, then was re-amended to a version near to the original and was passed. ALA joins a number of large membership organizations in support universal healthcare with single payer consideration. Nancy commended Amy on her receiving the Paul Howard Award for Courage.

Department of Libraries (Marty Reid)
The next VLTA conference is tentatively scheduled for October 17th at Vermont College. Stephen from Nelinet will speak on the Future of Libraries. Breakout sessions will include topics such as 23 Things.

Marty has been working on an application to receive stimulus broadband funding. The grant is for $700,000 to enhance public computing centers. Currently the DOL will focus on five larger libraries and their communities. Funds would also be spent on purchasing mobile laptop labs for libraries to borrow for extensive public training. Trainers would be hired to go to libraries across the state to train in computer instruction, job searching, consumer health issues and resume writing. The DOL needs to match $120,000. She requested assistance for VLA in way possible.

The Gates Computer Grant recipients will be flown to St. Louis this fall for 2-day training in library advocacy. Public libraries should consider contacting these librarians for programming ideas.

Committee, Section and NELA Plans for 2009-2010

Personnel Committee (Amy Grasmick)

This fall the committee will begin working on increasing public librarians’ compensation. ALA provided very valuable information. John Payne will be asked to sign letters to library trustees to increase salaries for librarians who recently earned their Vermont certification.

Advocacy Committee (Helen Linda)

The committee, though small, has been supporting other VLA committees. Discussion followed whether Advocacy should be a part of the governance committee. Helen pointed out that the ALA Advocacy Toolkit ( is a valuable resource. It was suggested that the ALA Toolkit be adapted to Vermont libraries.
Youth Services (Jane Napier)

Jane highlighted some of the ideas suggested for Youth Services to undertake this year including workshops on Teens, Technology, TAG and Role Playing, Publicity, Extreme Library Makeovers, Putting Music into Your Story Times, and a Celebration of Stolen Ideas.

VLA Award Committee (Grace Greene)

No report at this time.

Grace spoke about the VSAC collaboration with the summer reading program, Get Creative @ Saving for College. Four children will receive $1000 for college savings. Libraries of winning children will receive $500.00. The deadline for sending entry forms is August 21st. Many of the Board members remarked that the materials did not arrive in good shape and without Grace’s cover letter.

Secretary’s Report (Brenda Ellis- outgoing)

Minutes from May meeting will need to be approved via email by those who were in attendance.

College & Special Libraries Section (Larraby Fellows – outgoing)

Charlotte Gerstein will be the new section head. Ideas include having the C & LS president attend VCAL meetings as a “fly on the wall”. Work to strengthen communication, consider separating the listserv into college/special, public and school sections.

New England Library Association (Kip Roberson)

Kip reported that NELA cancelled its annual Counterpoints conference. They are worried about the annual conference scheduled for Hartford, CT this fall. Hotel prices are fairly high. Helen suggested VLA send out information on area hotels that might be less expensive. NELA membership numbers are down. In 2011, VLA and NELA will combine conferences (October 2011 in Burlington.)

Government Relations (Deb Bullock Spackman)

The committee will keep the message of public funding for libraries in the forefront. Librarians should continue to encourage their local legislators to support this message. Legislative Day and the Legislative Breakfasts will continue this year. Dates to be decided later.

Public Libraries (Lucinda Walker)

Plans for this year include a workshop tentatively titled, “Librarian as Social Worker.” The workshop would be a panel discussion focusing on the ethical, legal and moral concerns that arise in public libraries. It was suggested that a toolkit be created for Vermont libraries.

Substitute Librarian Pool (Helen Linda)

Helen has been working with John Payne and Stephanie Chase on developing this new database. This will be a free service for VLA members, it is to be decided if users must hold membership. It will probably be posted using WordPress due to its ease of use with our website.

VLA Contribution to Freedom to Read Foundation (Marti Fiske for Gail Weymouth in absentia)

VLA’s membership to the Freedom to Read Foundation has lapsed.

MOTION: Moved to renew membership to Freedom to Read Foundation. All approved.

Discussion followed regarding VLA donation to the Foundation in memory of Judith Krug. It was decided that VLA will not make an organizational donation, but will encourage VLA members to contribute (via the listerv.) Gail Weymouth will match all contributions.

Vermont Library Conference 2010 (Judah Hamer)

The VLC Committee’s recommendation is to cancel the 2010 conference. However, it is important to create an event which provides an opportunity to present awards, attract attendees and keep VLC sponsors up to date (whose relationships are very important.) Brenda suggested a keynote speaker followed by smaller moderated breakout sessions. It was suggested that VLA look at the Snelling Institute and Vermont Women in Education conferences. Ideally, VLC would be a one-day conference held at an academic institution. Having access to wi-fi is important. The keynote speaker does not have to be an author – there may be more interest in someone who can speak about future trends. Other ideas included a book cart drill team and raffles. Jane Napier, Larraby Fellows and Kip Roberson volunteered to be on the Conference Committee. They will report in September.

Upcoming Meeting Dates and Locations
September 15 @ Ilsley, Middlebury
November 17 @ DAML, Williston
January 12 @ Vermont College, Montpelier
March 9 @ Norwich Public
May 4 @ Goddard, Plainfield
All meetings to take place at 10:00 A.M.

Other Business
MOTION: Moved that VLA make a $500.00 donation to the Department of Libraries to be used as matching fund for the Recovery Act Grant. All approved.

Meeting adjourned at 3:05pm.

Meeting recorded by Lucinda H. Walker