Conference Updates

Program Proposal Deadline

Oct 30 2017 - 11:58am

“Speak Freely” is the theme that NJLA president Michael Mazekien has chosen for the New Jersey Library Association Conference this year. In keeping with this theme, we’ve opened submissions for program proposals for conference to the public. Although it is still recommended that program proposers follow through with a committee or section of NJLA to sponsor their program, this allows more open access for anyone to propose a program that they wish to see at the 2018 NJLA Conference at Harrah’s in Atlantic City.

The deadline is fast approaching and the Conference Committee wants to spread the word far and wide, to groups that may not have thought to propose programs before. Follow NJLA Conference on Twitter, Instagram, and the NJLA Facebook page for updates, and share these posts with your followers. Our social media handle is @njla_conf. The more people that share the call for proposals, the more widely seen it will become and the further reach it will have. Speak freely, share this blog post freely, and submit your program proposals at the link below!

Program proposals are due by November 10, 2017. Submissions may be made by following the link below for all types of programming at the conference.

The NJLA Conference will take place May 30th-June 1st at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City, NJ. We look forward to receiving your proposals!

Stacey Shapiro, Jenny Zbrizher, and the 2017-2018 NJLA Conference Committee

Authors and Signings and Books, OH MY!

Apr 24 2017 - 9:37am
​​There are fantastic authors appearing at NJLA this year!  Take a look at this line-up!  Authors will be singing outside the NJLA Store located in Avalon 18 & 19.  Be sure to shop early & often! The Store will be open:
Monday 4:30-6:30pm
Tuesday 7:30am-6:00pm

Wednesday 7:30am-4:30pm

The following books will be available for sale (quantaties vary):
  • Redefining Realness ​by Janet Mock 
  • ​​Promise of Shadows ​​by Justina Ireland
  • Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland
  • Black and White by David Macaulay
  • ​Built to Last by David Macaulay
  • The Way Things Work Now ​​by David Macaulay​
  • The Way We Work ​​by David Macaulay​
  • New Jersey A History of the Garden State ​by Paul Clemens
  • ​Rutgers Since 1945 by Paul Clemens
  • New Jersey’s Colonial Architecture Told in 100 Buildings by David Veasey
  • Guarding New Jersey's Shore: Lighthouses and Life-Saving Stations ​by David Veasey​
  • ​Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos
  • Gotti's Rules by George Anastasia
  • The Last Gangster ​by George Anastasia
  • The Goodfella Tapes​ by George Anastasia
  • Counting Time ​by Melanie Conklin
  • Ask Me No Questions​ by Marina Budhos
  • Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos
  • Watched​ by Marina Budhos
  • The last fifth grade of Emerson Elementary​ by Laura Shovan

Want to get your book signed? Who doesn't! Check out our author signing schedule:

Laura Leonard, Jenny Zbrizher and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee

Keeping Up with Conference

Apr 18 2017 - 12:15pm

Every year, the conference committee tirelessly keeps up with what’s happening on the floor. The conference itself may be overwhelming for an attendant to keep track of because there’s so much going on, but here’s how to follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the best highlights from panels and luncheons!


Even if you don’t attend conference (which, why wouldn’t you? There’s so much to learn!) you can follow along with the hashtag on Twitter, #njla17. Make sure that you also follow us at @njla_conf for updates and reminders about things like keynotes, book signings, and more! (You wouldn't want to miss the Janet Mock signing, now would you?)

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Conference also has an Instagram account under the same username, @njla_conf. Follow us there for pictures of attendees at conference, our wonderful panelists, and our fabulous guests. Not to mention the prizes available to win at the Member Services desk! 

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Don't have your own social media? No problem! Conference Committee collects Tweets and Instagram posts into a Storify page throughout the day, so you can always follow along there.
And the best way to follow along is by downloading the #njla17 app, now available on Google Play and the App Store. Here you can view the full conferene schedule, sync it to your personal calendar, follow our social media, get updates, and so much more. 
So if you haven’t followed Conference yet on your various social media platforms, or downloaded the app, make sure to remedy that. We may not be the Kardashians, but you should still keep up!
Stacey Shapiro and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee

Exhibit Hall Highlights

Apr 17 2017 - 12:49pm

There’s plenty to see and do in the Exhibit Hall!

Stop by on Tuesday from 10:00am-5:00pm and Wednesday from 8:30am-1:30pm. Join NJLA President Chris Carbone for the ceremonial ribbon cutting Grand Opening Celebration on Tuesday at 11:00am thanks to our Bronze sponsor CWA Local 1031 -- free coffee and refreshments for all!

Be sure to bring your EXHIBITOR BINGO CARD with you as you stop by the vendor booths to check out a wide variety of services and products on display. All completed cards can be returned to the Exhibitor Information booth to be entered into a raffle drawing.

Connect. Energize. Succeed. Be sure to visit the Invigoration Station provided by Flow Circus to get your blood flowing and engage in stress-free networking during the conference. Just look for spinning plates, flying juggling balls, and celebratory high-fives in the exhibit hall -- you won't want to miss it. Visit to learn more about their unique approach to fostering a connected, learning culture! This exciting station will be around throughout all regular exhibit hall hours! No matter how you say it, it's going to be unlike anything you've experienced before. Go ahead, take a break!


At any time that the exhibit hall is open, you’re invited to gather and relax in the Librarian’s Lounge for a chance to sit and connect with colleagues -- there will be plenty of tables and chairs, so you can catch up with colleagues, find a little bit of downtime for yourself, or even get a little bit of work done during breaks. The free Charging Station is located nearby, next to booth 202. Take some time to relax and recharge!

Do you need more reasons to visit the Exhibit Hall? Enjoy a complimentary Ice Cream Break thanks to our Gold sponsor Arcari & Iovino Architects on Tuesday at 2:30pm. Be sure to stop by booth 701 to thank them! And If you need a pick-me up on the final day of conference (who doesn’t?!), enjoy a free Coffee Break on Wednesday at 11:00am, thanks to Silver sponsor HMR Architects. Take a minute to swing by booth 705 to thank them too -- maybe one of those visits will help you complete your Bingo Card!

For any information throughout the open exhibit hours, there will be someone that can help at our Exhibitors Information Booth inside the ballroom, or the NJLA Registration Desk right across from the main entrance to the exhibits. NJLA is grateful to all of our sponsors and vendors for everything that they add to the quality of our 2017 Conference experience, and we hope that there is a lot of information that you can get from them this year to use or to bring back to your colleagues and co-workers!

Laura Leonard and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee

Get Social @ NJLA Conference

Apr 13 2017 - 3:22pm

Professional development? Great! Learning opportunities? Awesome! Networking? Stupendous! But what about the fun? 

Leave that to Member Services. Here are their highlights from their committee president Danielle Cesana:

"Monday evening we will be hosting a special trivia after the President’s Program.

Tuesday, after sessions, we will have a meet and greet mixer at Eden’s Lounge.

And after Honors & Awards, we have our Pool Party. No, you don’t need a bathing suit. It is more like a cocktail party around a luxurious pool. However, you can go in the pool if you want (with a bathing suit, please)"

And truly, what fun is fun without food? 

Harrahs’ has many dining options to enjoy drinks and food with your fellow librarians.

The following restaurants will be open for lunch or dinner during the Conference and are located in Harrahs:

AC Burger (formerly Bill's Bar & Burger) is open everyday from 12pm-4pm, diner type food with vegan options, and the price range is $11- $30.

Cafe (located right outside the Conference Center; used to be Sammy D's) is open everyday from 7am-2pm, casual food, and the price range is under $30.

Starbucks (brand new!) is open 6am-10pm on weekends and 6am-6pm on weekdays!

Martorano’s is open everyday from 5pm-10:30pm, Italian food with vegetarian options, and the price range is $31-$60.

McCormick & Schmick’s is open everyday from 12pm-11pm, Seafood and Steak restaurant, and the price range is $31-$60.

The Pool at Harrahs is open from 11:30am-6pm, casual food with vegetarian options, and the price range is under $20 dollars.

Tazza Cafe is open 24 hours, Casual eatery with pastries, sandwiches, and Italian Gelato, and the price is $10 dollars and under.

Waterfront Buffet is open from 4pm-8pm, the buffet has seafood, steak, and several various stations, and the price is &40.00.

Want to explore the rest of AC? Here are some famous restaurants around AC not in Harrah’s

Dock’s Oyster House was opened in 1897, they have been offering fresh seafood for 120 years, prices range from $31-$60 dollars. They have a raw oyster bar and are open from 5pm-10pm every day. The address for Dock’s Oyster House is 2405 Atlantic Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401.

Knife & Fork was opened in 1912 and is part of the long history of Atlantic City, they are open from 4pm-10pm, they offer classic steak and seafood fare, prices range from $31-$60 dollars. The address for Knife & Fork is 3600 Atlantic Ave, Atlantic City, 08401.

Tony’s Baltimore Grill is a local joint offering pizza and Italian comfort dishes and has been a fixture in Atlantic City since 1927. Prices range from $11-$30, and they are located at 2800 Atlantic Ave Atlantic City, NJ 08401.

So eat, drink, and be merry with your fellow librarians at #njla17!

Megan Kociolek and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee

Public Policy, Intellectual Freedom and You

Apr 10 2017 - 11:34am

Tell the truth -- have you ever looked at the program for NJLA and just skipped over the Public Policy or Intellectual Freedom programs thinking they didn't really apply to you?  Well this year we truly have something for everyone!  In a year with so many issues playing out locally, statewide and federally, do not miss this opportunity to learn and engage with your profession. 

In addition to our popular Update session, we have programs to help you become a better advocate, celebrate your library's successes, learn about the status of school libraries in NJ, and join a conversation on diversity, collection development, intellectual freedom and our role in social justice.  Public policy and Intellectual Freedom issues play out in every library every day.  Make sure you are able to participate when they do by joining us at NJLA this year.

One Talking Point at a Time: Library Sound Bites that Work

Patrick Sweeney, well-known Political Director of EveryLibrary, will teach the basics of creating winning messages and sound bites that help promote your library and Friends groups. Employing the formula 27/9/3 (use 27 words in 9 seconds to make 3 simple points) and other communication tools, learn skills that will craft a message that resonates with your community and delivers it efficiently, effectively and as often as possible. Excellent for library staff, Friends and Trustees. LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative, is generously supporting and co-sponsoring of this NJLA preconference program.

Event Time: Monday, April 24, 2017 - 1:00pm to 4:30pm

Location: Wildwood 14 & 15

NJLA Public Policy Update

Please join us for an update from the NJLA Public Policy and Intellectual Freedom committee members. We'll let you know the latest on construction funding, library ballot initiatives, school library advocacy and all the issues on the state and federal level that impact our members and their libraries.

Presenter(s): Eileen M. Palmer, LMxAC and Chair, NJLA Public Policy Committee; Jeanne Marie Ryan, Roselle Public Library and Vice Chair, NJLA Public Policy Committee; Amy Babcock Landry, Livingston Public Library and Chair, NJLA Intellectual Freedom Subcommittee; Patricia Tumulty, Executive Director, NJLA

Event Time: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 3:10pm to 4:00pm

Location: Wildwood 6 & 7

Celebrating You and Your Library

The NJLA Task Force on Public Library Assessment and Advocacy was charged with identifying ways to celebrate NJ libraries that are providing great service to their communities. Find out how we can work together to raise awareness about great library services, replicate great services throughout our state, and increase funding for the positive outcomes our work supports.

Presenter(s): Brett Bonfield, Princeton Public Library and Chair, NJLA Task Force on Public Library Assessment and Advocacy; members of the NJLA Task Force on Public Library Assessment and Advocacy

Event Time: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 4:10pm to 5:00pm

Location: Wildwood 14 & 15

Unlock Student Potential: Supporting NJ School Library Programs

It is important for public librarians and academic librarians to better understand the importance of school libraries and how they can advocate for them. Learn about NJLA's efforts advocating for NJ's school libraries and Information Literacy, why this advocacy is critical for the future of education in our communities, and how you can help.

Presenter(s): Patricia Tumulty, Executive Director, NJLA; James Keehbler, Piscataway Public Library and Chair, NJLA Task Force on School Libraries; Mo Donohue, Piscataway Public Library; Cara Berg, William Paterson University; Darby Malvey, Clayton Middle School

Event Time: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 2:30pm to 3:20pm

Location: Wildwood 10 & 11

Practical Conversations about Diversity, Inclusion, Intellectual Freedom and Our Role in Social Justice Work

Colleagues in librarianship and publishing will discuss issues pertaining to intellectual freedom, collection development and access, particularly as both professions address improving access to materials that are culturally diverse and inclusive. Librarians and book reviewers are playing an increasingly important role as their work intersects with social justice work like We Need Diverse Books and Black Lives Matter. How do we weave together our commitments to social justice and intellectual freedom in our collections, services and programs? What steps can we take to identify and dismantle personal biases? And how can we bring colleagues along in these ongoing conversations?

Presenter(s): Panel One Speakers: Justina Ireland, author; Sujei Lugo, Boston Public Library; Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Literacy, Culture & International Education Division; Anna Coats, Livingston Public Library Panel Two Speakers: Kiera Parrott, Reviews Director, Library Journal and School Library Journal; Pham Condello, Old Bridge Public Library; Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library; Kay Cassel, Rutgers University

Moderators: Sophie Brookover, LibraryLinkNJ; Eileen M. Palmer, LMxAC

Event Time: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 2:30pm to 4:30pm

Location: Wildwood 12 & 13

In the past we may have glazed over at phrases like "construction funding" or "Public Library Assessment,"...

...but they are more important now than ever. #NJLA17 is your opportunity to catch up and get involved, so don't miss out!

Kimberly Paone and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee

Let's Talk About LUNCH!

Apr 6 2017 - 5:30pm

Yes, there will be fantastic programs, networking opportunities, after-hours fun, but let’s be real here – you have to eat!  And you’d like to eat well, right?

Well, let me just say, if you are registered for a luncheon, you will certainly eat well.

The President’s Inaugural Luncheon on Tuesday features a death by chocolate jumbo cupcake. Do you really need to know more? Our incoming President, Michael Maziekien, will share with us his slogan and vision for the coming year and the luncheon is a great opportunity for networking, catching up with colleagues, etc. (And deathbychocolatejumbocupcake!!!)

Don’t worry, the Wednesday luncheons will contain an equally delicious dessert (and chicken and veggies and salad, of course). The CUS luncheon will feature speaker Emily Drabinski (I’m sure you read all about her in our previous post) and the keynote at the Garden State Book Awards luncheon is author Justina Ireland.

If you decided to attend the Feast on This luncheon, you’ll have a yummy three course buffet lunch – at a discounted rate – plus time to chat with friends, make connections, relax. There will be coloring, Legos, puzzles and other activities including a short film called Miss Bula Banerjee.

Wait! You registered for conference, but forgot to buy a ticket to one (or more) of the luncheons? No need to worry! You can add a luncheon ticket by contacting the NJLA office ( or you can buy tickets on-site at the registration desk when you pick up your badge! Really!

If luncheons aren’t your thing, there are several brown-bag lunches available to you this year – on Tuesday, Reader’s Advisory is bringing back their popular Under the Radar Reads which will feature book trivia and lightning book talks; CSS and YA are adding a new brown bag lunch to our line-up that will feature an informal discussion about what the section members are doing this year.

On Wednesday, Emerging Technologies and Member Services are hosting a Cryptoparty Brown Bag Lunch - they’ll be talking Tor, Signal, and PGP-signing. Administration and Management and Member Services are sponsoring NJ’s Funniest Library Patron Interactions Brown Bag Lunch at AC Burger Company. I think the name says it all!

If you’re wondering where to pick up a sandwich or find an alternative place for lunch, we’ve got a blog post for that (coming very soon – we’re just verifying operating hours first!). But there are numerous options on-site at Harrah’s. You will not go hungry, you can be certain!

See you soon in AC!

Kimberly Paone and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee

Getting to Know: Emily Drabinski

Apr 4 2017 - 7:05pm

Conference is a great opportunity to hear about all of the work your fellow librarians are doing throughout the state, but it's also an opportunity to step out of our borders and see what librarians are doing around the country. We are excited to have librarians from all over this year, and we thought you would introduce you to one from not-so-far-off Brooklyn.

Emily Drabinski, named a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker is joining us at the NJLA Conference! Not only is Emily the featured speaker at the College & University Section Luncheon, she is also presenting Narratives of Library Power: The Stories Library Shelves Tell   An engaging speaker, Emily recently responded to these thought provoking questions.

Q: Regardless of type, tell us what you think are some of the challenges libraries are facing today. Any suggestions or solutions to overcome the challenges?

I think libraries are facing very serious challenges as the new presidential administration intensifies attacks on the things all of us value, from the freedom to read to equity of access to information. We have always been able to argue that core library values were not supported with enough resources, or implemented completely in our institutions. But what we're facing now is an overt and explicit attack on libraries, from the funding we receive through IMLS and NEH to the deportation and criminalization of so many library patrons and workers. I think we need to be honest with ourselves that the problems we face are outside the library, and that requires all of us to engage and organize to save everything from broadband access in rural areas to tribal college libraries. We have a lot of work to do.

Q: What do you enjoy more, being a presenter or spectator at professional conferences? Why?

I love both presenting and spectating! For me, conferences are all about the conversations. I love talking about my work, and I love talking about your work. Dialogue is the best part of being a librarian, and conferences are a chance to have lots and lots of that in sessions, at meals, in hallways. Some of my best professional and personal connections have come from being seated in the audience and up at the mic. I always try to work a little bit of both into my conference schedule. 

Q: Tell us about your research interests (or passions in life) and how you are able to incorporate them into your library related work.​

Someone just asked me this question after looking at my CV and noting that I can appear to be a bit all over the place: I'm passionate about systems and structures. I am always thinking about how things came to be the way they are, including myself and my experience, and the things I find myself doing every day. How do I understand myself to be an advocate, an organizer, a librarian, a sister, a stepmom, a cat owner? What produces those identities for me, and how do I struggle against them and take pleasure in them? How can I change them to bring more of the things I care about into the world, like freedom, equity, and justice? In the library this means things like teaching students how to function in our infrastructures of power, from rules about food and drink to the library catalog. I'm always thinking about ways to do my work that maximize opportunities for all of us.

You know Emily is going to be an amazing presenter at #njla17 when you receive this response from a NJ librarian after the announcement was made:

"Emily is wonderful! What a great speaker choice! I’ve never gone to the CUS luncheon before but I’m def going for her!"

Online registration is open until April 10, and after that, you can still register on site.

Need we say more?

Nancy Weiner and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee

#njla17: A Book Lover's Dream, Part 1

Apr 3 2017 - 5:58pm

Libraries have definitely moved beyond books, but we would be lying if we said we weren't still book lovers at heart. Well, book lovers attending Conference this year are in for a treat!  A rich offering of programs includes author appearances and discussions, presentations on improving Readers’ Advisory and collection diversity, as well as behind-the-scenes access to awards selection processes.  Attendees will also get the chance to share book recommendations with fellow book lovers or learn how to get more involved in a book award selection process at 2 Brown Bag Lunches on Tuesday!  A sample schedule for Book Lovers can be found below.  Be sure to keep an eye out for Pt. 2 of this feature which will highlight book signings and offerings at the Conference Book Store.


  • 9-9:50am, ALSC’S Notable (Outstanding! Distinguished! Just Plain Great!) Children’s Books – Elizabeth Burns & Ellen Pozzi
    • Learn ALSC’s process for developing this list of books of ‘especially commendable quality’ which ‘exhibit venturesome creativity.’
  • 10:10-11am, Keynote: Janet Mock
    • Hear from author and "one of the 30 most influential people on the internet"
  • 11:30-12:20pm, George Anastasia
    • NJ Crime Writer & Mob reporter discusses his career, in-depth knowledge of Philly & AC mobsters, and the decline of language arts. 
  • 11:30-12:20pm, David Macaulay
    • Talk by Caldecott award-winning author of Black and White and The Way Things Work Now and artist for children’s portion of 2017 CSLP Summer Reading Program.

  • Brown Bag Lunches, 12:30-2pm
    • CSS & YASS Lunch – learn how to get involved in the Children’s and Young Adult Services Sections & about the Garden State Book Awards Selection Process. 
    • ‘Under the Radar’ Lunch – participate in book trivia, 1-2 min lightning book talks preferably on ‘lesser-known gems,’ and share book lists. 
  • 3:10-4pm, Choosing Diversity: Evaluating & Selecting Titles for Your Library’s Collection
    • What should you look for in materials reviews to help you select titles that represent diversity?  What are some of the best titles to offer as alternatives to more mainstream portrayals and viewpoints? What are some of the most controversial titles?  Sharon Rawlins, Elizabeth Burns, and Ellen Pozzi offer answers. 
  • 3:10-4pm, Marc Aronson
    • Non-fiction/YA author joins other Rutgers authors to introduce new publications, including his book (due out March 28th) on the invention of modern photo journalism. 
  • 4:10-5pm, Authors and Libraries: A Partnership for Literacy
    •  Find out what happens when authors collaborate with libraries.  Panel discussion features NJ authors Melanie Conklin, Laura Shovan, and Marina Budhos.


  • Garden State Book Awards Luncheon, 12:30-2:20pm
    • Featuring Justina Ireland, author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows
  • 2:30-3:20pm, NJ Authors Speak
    • 3 Authors speak about their books: Dr. Richard Veit’s Envisioning New Jersey: An Illustrated History of the Garden State, David Veasey’s New Jersey’s Architecture Told in 100 Buildings, and Dr. Paul G.E. Clemens’ Rutgers Since 1945
  • 2:30-3:20pm, Readers’ Advisory for Paraprofessionals
    • Learn how you can help train your paraprofessional staff in this essential service from presenters Ilene Lefkowitz, C.L. Quillen, and Cynthia Lambert. 
  • 3:40-4:30pm – Chris GrabensteinVia Skype, Author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library joins others for a presentation that promotes the ‘Escape the Library Challenge’ as a program or activity for all ages.     

Now ain't that the truth? Looking forward to our fellow book lovers uniting at #njla17! Stay tuned for more information on the bookstore and author signings to come!

Michael Stirm and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee

And the Award Goes to...

Apr 1 2017 - 10:32am

The NJLA Annual Conference is an event we always look forward to: a chance to meet our colleagues, do some networking, and learn valuable tricks of the trade. But we also love to celebrate the great work that’s been done over the past year by librarians and library supporters all across New Jersey. That’s why the Honors & Awards Subcommittee is busy preparing for the annual NJLA Awards Reception!

Come for the hors d'oeuvres and refreshments, stay for the suspense: Who are our Rising Stars? Who were our Library Champions in 2016? And whose name will appear on the Librarian of the Year plaque? We’re also proud to be announcing the College & University Awards at the event this year, for the first time. There is so much to celebrate throughout our state!

All questions will be answered on Tuesday, April 25, from 6-8 p.m. in Wildwood 1! Attendance is free and open to everyone, but don’t forget that early bird conference registration ends April 1 and the chance to register online ends on April 10. (Yes, you can still register for Conference on-site.)

The Awards Reception will also observe NJLA’s 125th anniversary. NJLA President Chris Carbone and Executive Director Pat Tumulty will offer a toast and some remarks to commemorate this grand occasion. Thanks to NJLA’s 125th Anniversary Committee for their help in putting this year’s event together – you might even find some special treats at your seat!

See you all in Atlantic City!

NJLA Honors & Awards Reception
Tuesday, April 25
6 -8 p.m.
Wildwood Room 1

Michael Pucci
Chair, Honors & Awards Subcommittee

Kate Jaggers and the 2016-2017 Conference Committee


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