|Key people||2011-12 President: Lian Todd. Executive Officer: Alyson Kosina.|
|Area served||Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums|
|Focus(es)||Library science, Information technology, Library 2.0, Digital library|
|Motto||30 years of looking forward.|
VALA - Libraries, Technology and the Future Inc. (VALA) is an Australian not-for-profit professional organisation that promotes the use and understanding of information and communication technologies across the galleries, libraries, archives and museum sectors.
VALA was established as the Victorian Association for Library Automation in 1978 in response to the emergence of automated library catalogues and other technologies that were revolutionising the industry at the time. In 2006 VALA's name was changed to VALA - Libraries, Technology and the Future. This was in recognition of dramatic changes in the information landscape which include the rise of eBooks and eJournals, the social web, cloud computing and mobile devices.
The VALA biennial conference is one of the largest conferences of its type in the region. Since their commencement in 1981, VALA conferences have provided one of the major points of contact for Australian librarians with their overseas counterparts.
Since 2010 VALA conferences have been held in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The 16th VALA Biennial Conference was held in Melbourne from 6 to 10 February 2012. The theme of the 2012 Conference is eM-powering eFutures. Christine Mckenzie (CEO of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service and IFLA Governing Board Member) was awarded the 2012 Williamson Award on Wednesday 8 February 2012.
The 15th VALA Biennial Conference: Connections, Content, Conversations, was held in Melbourne from 9 to 11 February 2010.
VALA holds a series of free general meetings throughout the year. The topics of the meetings support and promote an understanding of technology within the libraries and broader information sector. Where possible free podcasts of these meetings are available on the VALA web site.
Topics for 2011 included:
- Libraries After the iPad and Top Technology Trends presented by Christine Mackenzie from Victoria’s Yarra Plenty Regional Library and John Blyberg from the Darien Library in Connecticut.
- Mapping the past presented by Asa Letourneau and Daniel Wilksch from Public Record Office Victoria.
- Moving to Web scale presented by OCLC's Chris Thewlis.
Topics for 2010 included:
- Creative Commons in Australia, presented by Professor Anne Fitzgerald (Law and Justice Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology)
- The future of Search presented by Associate Professor Douglas W. Oard (College of Information Studies and the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland).
- Library Metrics presented by Anne Beaumont (State Library of Victoria).
- m-lib mobile library platforms & QR Codes presented by Kat Clancy (Library Web Developer, Deakin University), Craig Anderson, (University Librarian, RMIT University) and Rowan Mangan (Communications and Marketing Advisor, RMIT University Library).
VALA aims to further support research in and around the library information science sector through the provision of a series of awards
VALA grants the following awards:
- The Robert D. Williamson Award – Awarded biennially to an individual or organisation who, in the opinion of the judging panel, is currently making an outstanding contribution to the development of information technology usage in Australian libraries and is positively and significantly influencing development in information technology usage within libraries.
- The VALA Award – made biennially, is presented to the Australian library or information centre judged to have made the most innovative use of information technology during the previous two years.
- The VALA Travel Scholarship – every two years VALA offers up to two Travel Scholarships to enable suitable persons to travel overseas to examine aspects of library automation. Recipients receive up to A$13,000 towards travel, accommodation and living expenses. Successful candidates must complete their study in time to present their findings at the following VALA Biennial Conference.
- The VALA Student Award - Each year, the VALA Student Award is presented to one student from RMIT University and one from Monash University, in recognition of outstanding achievement in postgraduate library and information management courses.
Governance and membership
VALA is governed by a Committee elected annually from the VALA membership. Membership is open to anyone interested in the professional aims of the organisation.
- Groenewegen, HW 2004, 'Four decades of library automation: recollections and reflections', The Australian Library Journal, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 39-53.
- Jilovsky, C 2003, 'Systems librarianship in Australia: a historical perspective', Library Hi Tech, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 297-308.
See also Henninger, M 1992, 'OPAC and Beyond: A Report of the VALA 6th Biennial Conference, November 11-13', LASIE, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 86-90.