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    VIVA Wins Governor's Award
    by Reba Leiding, Editor

    This fall VIVA (the Virtual Library of Virginia) was awarded the Governor's Technology Gold Award for Government Service in Higher Education for 2003, at the Commonwealth of Virginia Information Technology Symposium (COVITS). The award recognizes VIVA’s extraordinary value and contributions to higher education in Virginia, and salutes the importance of library resources for teaching, learning, and research throughout the Commonwealth.

    The Virtual Library of Virginia or VIVA, our statewide library consortium, was established in 1994 to promote cooperative and cost effective resource sharing for the Commonwealth academic libraries.  Its members include: all libraries of the 39 state-assisted colleges and universities (at 54 campuses).  Thirty of Virginia's independent (private non-profit) colleges and universities, as well as the Library of Virginia, participate as full members where possible.  VIVA is sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), with support from the General Assembly and the local institutions.

    VIVA provides significant benefits to its members through group purchases of electronic resources such as databases and journal collections.  In many cases, individual institutions would not have been able to afford access to most of the resources without VIVA support.  VIVA also supports Interlibrary Loan among member institutions by promoting cooperative lending and borrowing agreements, as well as financial and technical support.  In turn, individual institutions also support VIVA in a variety of ways, most notably through the significant amounts of time donated by dedicated library staff members throughout the Commonwealth.

    "This award is a powerful affirmation of the work that VIVA does to support higher education in Virginia, and a wonderful recognition to start off VIVA's tenth year of operation," said Ralph Alberico, Chair of the VIVA Steering Committee and Dean of Libraries at James Madison University, after accepting the award at the COVITS conference. "It was a great honor to accept the Governor's Technology Award on behalf of the many people who contribute to VIVA's success. I am convinced that VIVA's record of success in leveling the playing field for institutions across the Commonwealth will be expanded and sustained for many more years."

    Carl Kelley, Chair of the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia, stated, "In our opinion, VIVA represents the single most important technological development in Virginia higher education in the past decade; moreover, we believe that VIVA is one of the most significant developments of any kind in Virginia government over this period. We are convinced that recognition of VIVA -- for its innovation, its results and its efficiency -- is not only long overdue, but also very appropriate at this time, as it enters its tenth year of existence having recently surpassed $100M in cost avoidance for the Commonwealth ..."

    The award nomination highlights the unique benefits of the VIVA project to
    Virginia's universities. By pooling resources and cooperatively purchasing Web-based scholarly journals and databases, VIVA leverages taxpayer investments to realize a $5 return in value to Virginia for every dollar it expends. The payoff is significant. Since 1994, VIVA libraries have avoided over $103 million in costs that they otherwise would have to expend to obtain the same materials. VIVA also has created a strong policy and technology foundation for sharing library materials among libraries in Virginia. This work has led to a 55% increase in interlibrary lending of books among VIVA members since 1996, and the number of journal articles shared among VIVA members would have cost nearly $900,000 in 2002-03 to acquire without VIVA's sharing network.

    At its most recent meeting at James Madison University on September 17, SCHEV recommended additional VIVA funding of $4.0 million for 2004-06. VIVA received approximately $8.1 million in state funding for 2002-04.

    (Note: this article was based on a press release from VIVA.)

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