Fiske to oversee Vermont Library Association (7/23/09)

July 23, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The next few years will become quite a bit busier for local librarian Marti Fiske. The director of Williston’s Dorothy Alling Memorial Library recently became vice president of the Vermont Library Association after a nomination in May. With the appointment, she begins a three-year “progressive term” that will see her become president of the VLA next year.


    File photo
Library Director Marti Fiske stands outside Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. Fiske recently became vice president of the Vermont Library Association.

“I’m essentially a president in training right now,” Fiske said.

The VLA is a volunteer organization run by professional librarians across the state. Its goal is to promote and highlight the importance of libraries, as well as improve how they are run.

“We act as a sort of mouthpiece for librarians to the state library association (the Vermont Department of Libraries),” Fiske said.

The VLA has been lobbying in recent years for automatic state funding of libraries, which Vermont does not currently offer. But Fiske’s duties will mostly involve the VLA itself. She said the organization is reworking its conference model in order to cut costs and become more effective.

In past years, the VLA has hosted two-day conferences at local hotel ballrooms, complete with seminars, speakers and exhibitors. The exhibitors, generally organizations selling library materials and books, paid for space, which offset the costs of the conferences, Fiske said. But fewer and fewer exhibitors have signed up for VLA conferences due to evolving business strategies and the changing economy, so the organization needs to rethink its strategy.

As president next year, Fiske will likely organize a different type of VLA conference — one that retains the importance of bringing members together and finding new ones to join. Current members include librarians, professors and various members of the public.

Fiske will work with current president John Payne, director of library and information services at St. Michael’s College. After her term as president, she’ll finish off her three-year cycle as a “past president.”