by Robert L. Davis, III

In my personal life I often advise folks who are seeking anything to “go for it!” and “don’t let them tell you ‘no’.” But I have neglected to do that for myself and my library.

Sure, I was trying to be altruistic and give librarians who were new to the profession, the advantage of using the scholarships/grants offered. Thanks to talking with Leanne Battle at the VALL Winter meeting I applied for and received a grant. I clearly appreciated and understood its value.

This was especially poignant when I saw and read the article “Wishing We Were in Washington” by Kathy Fletcher and Jennifer Finch, The Capital Crier, Convention Newspaper, Saturday, July 25, 2009. The authors were not able to attend AALL “for institutional financial reasons”. The article also indicated overall attendance for the annual meeting was down about 20%.

Unlike some of you whose library budgets have endured cuts within the last year, the PWCLL travel and membership budget was cut years ago. Civil filing fees, on which this library subsists, were down, anything other than essential operating costs were eliminated.

Thus, I am really grateful to Leanne for strongly encouraging me to apply for the grant. Sure, I had to add monies to make registration a reality. But for the grant I probably would not have attended this annual convention. Not attending would have created a lapse of 10 years of not connecting with colleagues and renewing my spirit to continue.

Speaking of “renewing my spirit to continue”, I want to share a secret I have carried during my 14 years as a law librarian. The mere presence of Gail Zwirner, Donna Bausch, Isabel Paul, Evelyn Campbell and Terry Long always encouraged and sustained me. These stalwarts of the profession have always been there for me and for VALL. When I see and speak with them I understand and know they are the keepers of my flame. Looking to the examples and standards they set keeps me on track and helps me continue to strive to be the best law librarian I can be. I thank them for all that they do and represent. And I thank VALL for the grant and opportunity to serve and commune with you all.

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The Virginia Association of Law Libraries (VALL) supports and serves its members’ professional pursuits by fostering a spirit of leadership and cooperation, providing educational and leadership opportunities, and promoting and enhancing the value of law libraries.

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