Candidate for Division Cabinet Chair-Elect – Perry
|Question 1: When did you first join SLA? What made you decide to join then, and why do you still belong today?
Question 2: What changes, if any, do we need to make to keep annual conference as a vibrant, well attended event?
Question 3: How has involvement with SLA over the years helped you grow professionally and personally?
Question 4: SLA is an international organization. How can SLA involve and reach out more to members outside North America?
Valerie Perry has worked for over fifteen years as an information professional at the University of Kentucky. She became Public Service Librarian at the Agricultural Information Center (AIC) beginning in 1998, and in 2005 became the Head of the AIC, serving the information needs of faculty, staff and students of the College of Agriculture, Food & Environment (CAFE) and the Department of Biology. In 2011, she became Director of Branch Libraries, continuing in her role as head of the AIC as well as overseeing operations in eight subject-specialized libraries across campus.
Valerie joined SLA during her first month as a librarian after attending a Kentucky Chapter Board meeting. She was elected Chapter Secretary during the same year, and she was elected as Chapter President-Elect in 2011. During her tenure as Chapter President, she promoted chapter recruitment and stability, involved more students and new professionals in the chapter, and restructured the chapter’s committees. Working with the chapter to improve the spring conference, she improved visibility, added poster sessions to broaden participation and increased sponsorship of vendor exhibits to help sustain the conference. To further support the Kentucky chapter, Valerie chaired its first Strategic Planning committee and established standing committees on Fundraising and Communication.
On an international level, Valerie has assumed leadership roles in two divisions of SLA. For the Science-Technology (ST) Division, she served as Treasurer and Business Manager for Sci-Tech News from 2004 to 2007. For the Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition (FAN) Division, she served as Chair and Program Planner both in 2009 and again in 2010. Valerie has volunteered as mentor to the FAN chairs and planners that followed. She has served on most FAN committees, including serving as a successful fundraiser. Valerie is an active member of other divisions including Academic, Biomedical & Life Sciences, Environment & Resource Management, and Leadership & Management.
Recently, Valerie was appointed by the 2014 SLA Board of Directors to fill the unexpired term of her mentor and fellow ST Division colleague Ann Koopman in the role of Division Cabinet Past Chair. Serving as a SLA Board officer has been a rewarding and challenging experience.
Valerie is a past recipient of the SLA FAN Distinguished Member Award, the SLA Kentucky Chapter Professional Award, and the Kentucky Library Association Special Librarian of the Year Award. In appreciation for her work supporting the CAFE faculty and students, she was inducted into the local chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the National Honor Society of Agriculture.
In addition to her service to SLA, Valerie is an active member of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists, the United States Agricultural Information Network, the American Library Association, and the Kentucky Library Association. She has served and chaired committees for several of these organizations, and has given numerous conference presentations. Her main professional areas of interest are information literacy and leadership development.
Valerie earned her Master of Science in Library and Information Science and her Bachelor of Science in English from the University of Kentucky. She enjoys hiking in regional and national parks in the United States and Canada with her husband and two teenage sons. In Lexington, she spends her free time mentoring library school students, serving as a parent advocate for special needs children, appreciating the art and music of the Bluegrass region, and sampling tasty beers and wines.
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