James Region





Jen Spisak

[email protected]

 Lara Ivey

[email protected]


Member Spotlight on Jen Spisak:


What is one thing you cannot resist?

 My brother-in-law's pecan pie!

Where is your favorite place to be?

 On the Virginia Tech campus or the Greenbrier River

What is the weirdest job you ever had?

 I ran a hot dog stand at Kings Dominion.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why?

Athens, Greece - It was a lifelong dream, it was gorgeous, and the food was spectacular!

What would you do if you were not a librarian?

Exactly what I'm doing now. I'd be a professor of school librarianship!

If you could choose anyone - alive or dead - as a mentor, who would you pick?

 As a life mentor, Maya Angelou. I felt so privileged to see her speak in Richmond years ago. As a library mentor, Audrey Church!

Favorite movie line/quote:

  I won't quote the whole thing here, but it's Chunk's long confession in the Goonies. It kills me every time!

What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?

 I'm boring but practical. I would set up trusts and perpetuities to ensure lifelong financial safety.

What is the coolest (or most important) trend you see today? 

 Information literacy instruction!

What is your favorite food or treat?

Tacos or fried okra

What advice do you give students who haven’t read a book in a while?

Tell me about the movies and tv shows you like, and let's go from there. Also, I often recommend graphic novels.

If you could transform one part of your library, what would you change?

 This is a tough one since I'm not currently in a library. But if I could transform something in all libraries across the state, it would be to ensure strong, reliable, and equitable access to the internet. 

What was the last book you read?

  Currently, I'm half way through reading Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown, but I just finished Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused by Melissa Maerz.

What do you like to do on your days off?

 Chill with my family when my teenagers are home and willing to spend time with me. :)

What librarian job duty has surprised you the most?

  I'm always surprised when I hear some librarians get pulled to substitute in classrooms. 

How do you balance your career and family?




Each region is represented with two votes on the Board of Directors by the Regional Director and the Regional Director-Elect. A term of office is 2 years. Each year a new Director-Elect is elected for each region by the general VAASL membership.

The main role of each position is to represent the librarians and interests of the region on the board.  The Director coordinates the Regional Spring Conference and the Director-Elect coordinates the selection of the region's School Librarian of the Year. Each director contributes content through VAASL's communication channels. Interested in joining the VAASL Board of Directors? Nominate yourself or another person for your region's Director-Elect. The ballot slate is filled each spring by the VAASL Past-President. Additionally, each summer/fall, committees are filled for the following year by the Executive Board.


The next James Spring Conference is scheduled for March 23, 2021.

 School Librarian of the Year

Applications for the School Librarian of the Year are due January 31st of each year. A copy of the application is available in PDF for download. Final applications are submitted online.

Previous Recipients

       2020  Katie Kier   2019 Judy Deichman
2018 Lara Ivey*   2017  Shannon Hyman   2016  Heather Murfee
2015 Brook Davis    2014 Kathleen Roberts   2013 Jeannie Graham 
2012 Jen Spisak   2011 Tracy Aitken   2010  
2009 Laura Hoel   2008 Andrea Clarke   2007 Gladys Wilder
2006 John Thomas   2005 Shelor Smith & Wendy Sellors   2004 Pam Tuggle
2003 Nancy Furr   2002 Julie Tate   2001 Pam Tinsley, Kit Vaughan


 School Districts in the James Region

Virginia members belong to the Region of their work location.

Amelia County Public Schools Appomattox County Public Schools Brunswick County Public Schools
Charles City County Public Schools  Charlotte County Public Schools Chesterfield County Public Schools
Colonial Heights City Schools Cumberland County Public Schools Dinwiddie County Public Schools
Goochland County Public Schools Halifax County Public Schools Hanover County Public Schools
Henrico County Public Schools Hopewell City Public Schools Lunenburg County Public Schools
Mecklenburg County Public Schools New Kent County Public Schools  Nottoway Public Schools
Petersburg City Public Schools Powhatan County Public Schools Prince Edward County Public Schools
Prince George County Public School  Richmond Public Schools