Conference Updates

Why Academic Librarians Should Attend the #NJLA18 Conference

Feb 21 2018 - 10:53pm
NJLA College and University Section/ACRL-NJ President Leslin Charles, Instructional Design Librarian at Rutgers, is looking forward to another great NJLA Conference in Atlantic City. Leslin is usually a presenter at the Conference, but this year she will be focused on some of the duties associated with being CUS President, such as presenting the Distinguished Service Award during the Honors and Awards ceremony and serving as the host of the CUS Luncheon. So why not join in the fun?
Leslin is pleased to announce that ACRL President Cheryl Middleton, University Librarian for Research & Scholarly Communication at Oregon State University Libraries, is this year’s speaker at the CUS Luncheon. The opportunity to have an ACRL officer speak at the Conference only happens every five years or so and it provides a great way for NJ academic librarians to learn more about our national association and its initiatives and for national leadership to learn about members’ interest at the chapter level. This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss, so be sure to register for the lunch when you complete your registration form!


As a past presenter, Leslin knows firsthand how much time and effort goes into the presentations at the conference and she is looking forward to attending as many sessions as possible. Leslin is especially excited about attending the revamped Research Showcase, sponsored by the NJLA/CUS-ACRL-NJ  Research Committee, which will highlight and promote research by NJ librarians. We hope you are also excited to celebrate and support the outstanding work of your colleagues.

Attending the NJLA Conference presents an opportunity for all librarians in the state to come together and network, speak freely, exchange ideas, and learn more about the terrific programs that are happening in all types of libraries. The Conference dates, May 30-June 1, work well for many academic librarians, and Leslin hopes that many of her academic colleagues will be joining her in Atlantic City for the 2018 NJLA Conference!

- Nancy Weiner and the 2018 NJLA Conference Committee

8 Reasons Why Library School Students Should Attend the #NJLA18 Conference

Feb 13 2018 - 8:41pm


Conference Committee intern and Rutgers MI student Kristen Crepezzi fills us in on 8 compelling reasons why library school students should be at the #NJLA18 Annual Conference in Atlantic City from May 30 - June 1, 2018:


  1. Networking. Networking. Networking. Do I really need to talk to you any more about the crushing anxiety we all feel re: the job market? Knowing more people has to be better than knowing less. “The NJ library community is small and it is a good chance to make an impression,” says Cindy Ambos, Tween Librarian at South Brunswick Public Library. Conference offers many opportunities for casual networking outside of sessions, including social events like various fun lunch options, ice cream & coffee breaks, Board Game Fun, a Drum Circle, and the Pool Party.

  2. Getting a broad view of librarianship across the state. Whether you’ve just started your degree or have been working in libraries for years, attending NJLA offers MLIS students the opportunity to see the field from different perspectives and offers a glimpse into the library lives of others.

  3. We need to meet each other. For real. For the percentage of us in online MLIS programs (or just attending some classes online), putting faces to the names in our cohorts can be powerful, important, and cognitively inconsistent. Shake up your idea of who plays your classmates in real life by actually meeting them IRL.

  4. Expand your vision of librarianship. “The ability to interact with vendors, authors, publishers, educators, non-profits and library designers helps to emphasize the aspects of librarianship we don’t always focus on in the classroom,” suggests Dana Vocht, Teen Librarian at Scotch Plains Public Library. Free vendor swag (we <3 pens!) and great contests for high-ticket items (with better odds than on the casino floor) will keep you exploring.

  5. Get exposed to what’s new in library land. NJLA is a great place to be to see and hear about what’s happening now in libraries as well as the innovation that is just around the corner. Conference is a great place to see what direction things are oving in.

  6. Have you seen the Conference sessions? Some highlights to look forward to: Wednesday pre-conference sessions like Library Instruction Palooza will be packed with presentations, roundtables and discussions focused on sharing and building various information literacy instruction skills; Public Libraries and Schools: What Does a Mutually Beneficial Partnership and Collaboration Mean? highlights the importance of partnership and communication between public librarians and school media specialists; and the Technology Innovation Forum will showcase innovative technologies from academic librarians around NJ, including presentations from the 2018 Technology Innovation Award winners. Sessions are a great way to bridge classroom learning with practice, and the Conference schedule has something for everyone.

  7. Conference room rates are good through Memorial Day Weekend. And we all need a vacation. Literally.

  8. Your voice matters. This year’s conference theme is Speak Freely, and as the new and emerging voices of librarianship it is important for our voices to be part of the conversations shaping the present and future of the field. Join us at conference and add your voice.


Kristen Crepezzi is a current student in the Rutgers MI program and Teen Librarian at the South Brunswick Public Library. She currently serves as intern for the NJLA Conference Committee through the NJLA Committee Intern Program. Last year at NJLA she won a chair playing vendor Bingo, proving that dreams really do come true.

Program Announcements

Jan 18 2018 - 1:48pm

Thank you for your patience! We know that you are anxiously awaiting news of accepted program proposals. Over the next week or so, the Conference Committee will be sending correspondence to all those who submitted program proposals for the 2018 Annual Conference to provide further information!

(Note: This post has been edited and updated. The original post lives on the Conference Blog.)

Over 125 fantastic submissions were received this year for all types of events -- regular sessions, double sessions, engaging preconference sessions, social events, lunch opportunities and more! Especially since we opened proposals up to individuals and groups outside of the NJLA membership for this year, we're really excited about the lineup of events!

In the meantime, we want to share some of the behind-the-scenes details so that you know what the committee has been working on, and know what's coming up next . . .

First, to get it out of the way, we understand that it stinks when your program proposal isn't accepted. Please know that there is a lot of thought and discussion that goes into each program when deciding upon acceptances. The Conference Committee met for a full day in December to go over the nitty-gritty of each one. With only 8 program room and 4 time slots per day, that's only a maximum of 64 TOTAL regular session programs plus less than a handful of preconference sessions. We were excited to see program submissions from almost every NJLA section or committee this year, and the committee strived to choose programs that reflected the diversity of our association.

If your program was not selected for this year's conference -- because of competition of similar topics, cost, diversity, or insufficient detail -- please consider the many other professional opportunities within NJLA and our library community to present! Your colleagues work tirelessly on a calendar of events that appeal to library workers of all types, including the Adult and Youth Services Forums, Makerspace Toolkit, NJASL, VALE, and the NJLA Commons virtual keynotes. Information will also be coming out soon about Poster Sessions at this year's event, which could be the perfect place to showcase your topic to a broad audience. At the very least, you are encouraged to continue to develop these submissions and propose them again for the 2019 Conference!

In going through all 125+ submissions, we always uncover details in program proposals that need further clarification or confirmation. It often takes some time to nail down all of the specifics that we require to not only confirm acceptance of programs, but also to be sure that we have everything we need in order to post full program details on the schedule of events on the website in order to successfully open up registration! We extend a great "thank you" to all of our program organizers for not only submitting thoughtful and rich programming, but also for being so diligent in answering our questions and providing clarification or changes as necessary for program approval.

Once we are sure that we have a strong list of completed, accepted programs from the committee, the chairs met to create the grid, which includes dates, time slots, and room assignments for each room. This took another entire day to accomplish and a whole pad (at least) of post-it notes! This is something that needs to be finished before we can get acceptance notices out to all of you! The whole process definitely takes some time and the entire committee genuinely appreciates your understanding and patience.

The following are many of the things we need to consider when creating a schedule:

  • There are only 4 regular session time slots for each of the two full days of programming.
  • The more programs in one time slot, the more options and variety there is, but the less programs any one person can actually attend.
  • The more sessions submitted by each NJLA section/committee, the better chance of some sort of overlap in sponsorship or content during the same time slot.
  • It’s essential to avoid speaker conflicts. (We've heard that it's not possible to be in two different places at the same time!)
  • A variety of topics and projected audiences must be considered when scheduling a single time slot.
  • We make every effort to avoid scheduling programs sponsored by the same group in a single time slot. (This just wasn't possible in all cases.)
  • We try to prioritize spreading out content throughout the two days to ensure the most diverse programming experience, even for daytrippers.
  • We always try to take into account requests for specific times or days.

As we begin to communicate with each program organizer individually with details about their accepted proposals, the next steps for the committee are to triple-check for speaker conflicts (let us know if you find any!) and confirm the schedule. Then we can finally upload all of the programs, including social events, keynotes and luncheons, to the conference website (you'll see a new tab for Schedule fairly soon). We'll also be sharing information on the website about room rates and hotel registration.

Plus stay tuned: We'll be communicating more details about keynotes, PROMOTION (starts now!), taking care of and making arrangements for speakers, AV and room setup, reimbursements and more any day now.

We anticipate opening registration in early February. Everything you need to know will be posted at as well as in your email (if you are an NJLA member). If you are not an NJLA member, now's the time! NJLA offers rolling membership, so you can join anytime for discounted conference rates. To register for Conference at a member (NJLA, NJASL, ACRL, NJLTA or other state associations) rate, you must be a current member at the time of registration AND conference.

Kate Jaggers and the 2017-2018 NJLA Conference Committee

For more information about how Conference is put together, take a look at the Conference Blog.

Happy Holidays from the Conference Committee!

Dec 13 2017 - 11:14am

Hanukkah has begun, and Christmas is only 12 days away! Happy Holidays from the NJLA Conference Committee, and we hope that everyone’s holiday season brings them family, good food, and cheer.


Conference committee has braved the weather, snow and all, and met and discussed conference proposals before the holiday season. However, notices will not go out until sometime mid-January, and we cannot comment on whether proposals were accepted or not until then. This gives time for some proposals to be reworked, for sponsors to be added, and for speakers to be confirmed.


What we can say is that we had an amazing array of proposals this year, and it was a difficult choice. Thanks to “speaking freely,” we had slightly more than usual proposals from new voices, and there were some hard decisions that had to be made. The Conference committee is very excited about the 2018 NJLA Conference and its slate of programs, and we’re sure that you will be, too.


Be on the lookout in the new year for updates from sections about their programs for conference, the keynote announcements, and more!


Stacey Shapiro, NJLA Conference Committee

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?)

giphy (1).gif

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! 

member services.png

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


Subscribe to Conference Updates