History of the Virginia Association of Law Libraries

The Virginia Association of Law Libraries (VALL) initially was organized as the Richmond Area Law Libraries Association (RALLA) in 1981. As the name suggested, the organization was formed to provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas and solutions to common problems for law library professionals and paraprofessionals in the Richmond metropolitan area.

During the next two years, RALLA's membership slowly grew beyond the Richmond area, attracting members from Williamsburg and Northern Virginia. In response to increasing numbers of members, RALLA adopted its first formal constitution and bylaws in October of 1983 and elected the first slate of officers in 1984. Between 1983 and 1986, RALLA's membership grew dramatically, drawing members from all corners of the state.

By 1986, the organization clearly reflected a statewide organization of law libraries (57 members) rather than an organization limited to the Richmond metropolitan area. Recognizing the shift from a local membership to a statewide organization and hoping to avoid confusion with the recently formed Richmond Association of Legal Assistants (RALA), RALLA was renamed the Virginia Association of Law Libraries in 1986.

As more Virginia law library professionals and paraprofessionals learned about the existence of a statewide organization in their field, VALL's membership increased and diversified. By late 1987, membership had grown to over sixty members, and work towards establishing formal ties between VALL and the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) was a means of increasing VALL's contact with law libraries nationwide.

VALL formally requested permission from the AALL to establish itself as a Chapter of the national organization in April 1988. Following AALL Executive Board consideration, the request was presented to the general membership of AALL at the 1988 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, where VALL was unanimously approved as the 28th Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.

Since becoming a chapter of AALL, VALL's membership has continued to grow steadily from ninety-two active members in September 1988 to 147 members as of September 1995. VALL's fiscal and business affairs are managed by an Executive Board consisting of the officers of the organization, the immediate Past President and two elected directors. Members serve on committees of two classes, standing and special, as appointed by the current President.

VALL standing committees number ten: Grants, Legal Information Outreach, Legislative Awareness, Membership, Newsletter and Publications, Placement, Preservation, Program and Recruitment. Business meetings are held quarterly in conjunction with a dinner or lunch and an educational program. Since 1989, members have supported an annual meeting, opening with a reception on a Friday evening, followed by a full Saturday of programming. These annual meetings have covered a variety of topics: 

1989 "The Law Library in Transition: Planning and Implementing a Library Move"
1990 "Ask a Star - Ask a Librarian: Marketing Law Library Services and Those Who Provide Them"
1991 "When We Get Behind Closed Doors: Technical Services in the Small Library"
1992 "Bridging the Information Gap"
1993 "Access to Government Information: Federal and State"
1994 "Current Issues in Law Libraries: Complying With ADA and Researching International, Trade and European Union Law"
1995 "Connected to the Past, Connections to the Present, Connecting to the Future" (Joint VALL/SEAALL meeting)
1996 "In Our Own Backyard: Accessing Virginia State and Local Information"
1997 "Covering the Riverfront" 1998 "A Visit to the Past - While Looking into the Future"
1999 "CyberCrossroads: Information Policy, Law and Politics"
2000 "Taking the Lead in Legal Information: Law Librarianship in the New Century"
2001 "VALL 2001: An Information Odyssey"
2002 "Exploring Connections"

VALL previously published the VALL Newsletter, which was a quarterly publication released in the month prior to each quarterly business meeting. Costs of producing and mailing the Newsletter to members, vendors, and AALL Chapter representatives were funded through member dues and vendor advertising. In addition to the Newsletter, an annual membership directory was produced (today it is published an distributed in an electronic format), as well as a membership brochure.

VALL Newsletter Archive, 2003-2008

The VALL Newsletter was discontinued in May 2009, in favor of the VALLTalk Blog.

Past Presidents of the organization (RALLA from 1984-1986, and VALL since 1986) and their dates of service are as follows: 

Ann B. Roberts1984-1985
Susan B. English1985-1986
Georgiana Gekas1986-1987
Christopher A. Meyer1987-1988
Steven D. Hinckley1988-1989
Gail Warren1989-1990
Jean M. Holcomb1990-1991
Joyce Manna Janto1991-1992
Karen S. Schubart1992
Isabel B. Paul1992-1994
James S. Heller1994-1995
E. Terry Long1995-1996
Martha Rush1996-1997
Frosty Owen1997-1998
Rae Ellen Best1998-1999
Gail Zwirner1999-2000
Donna Bausch2000-2001
Jill Burr2001-2002
Charles Oates2002-2003
Bobbie Denny2003-2004
Cathy Palombi2004-2005
Marie S. Hamm2005-2006
Evelyn M. Campbell2006-2007
Kevin Butterfield2007-2008
Leanne Battle2008-2009
Fred Dingledy2009-2010
Anthony Ikwueme2010-2011
Michelle Gernhardt2011-2012
Suzanne Corriell2012-2013
Amy Wharton 2013-2014
Ben Almoite2014-2015
Stephanie Miller2015-2016
Patricia Petroccione2016-2017
Laura Dresser2017-2018
Andrew Winston2018-2019
Chris Vassey2019-2020
Jane Harrison2020-2021
Roger Skalbeck2021-2022
Stella Naulo2022-2023
Alison Mallonee2023-2024

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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