Conference Updates

Unique Learning Opportunities -- and Lunch!

Mar 14 2015 - 3:42pm

Lightning Lunch and Learn

You can do a lot in five minutes: read a magazine article, visit an ATM, grab a snack. Or -- better yet -- you could learn about a new or emerging technology at the NJLA Lightning Lunch! A tradition at the conference for several years now, the Lightning Lunch is a casual, brown-bag lunch opportunity to learn about new websites, tools and tech in quick five-minute bursts. It is also a great way to network, discover and explore ideas and technology implementation with colleagues and friends from around the state during a break in the conference action. All are invited to join us on Wednesday, April 22 between 12:30 and 2:20 p.m. in the Shrewsbury Room.

Doug Baldwin, the organizer of this event for the past several years, can certainly claim to have learned a ton from both the presenters and colleagues statewide. However, it is not only a great lunch and learning opportunity, but it is also a wonderful excuse for trying out a new and longer presentation you might be in the process of creating, or for newer presenters, a way to get your feet wet and get some practical experience in front of an audience (for a more informal and shorter amount of time!).

You might also want to check out the Brown Bag Lunch & Learn sponsored by the NJLA Reference Section on Tuesday, April 21 between 12:30 and 2:00 p.m. also in the Shrewsbury Room! Grab your lunch and discuss trending topics in reference in a casual setting. Conversation starters will be available at each table to frame and guide the topics and discussion.

Whatever your plans at the conference this year, the Reference Section Lunch & Learn and the Emerging Technologies Lightning Lunch are both fun, low-key and impactful experience that should definitely be on your list of things to do in Long Branch! See you there!


The Power of Friends

Mar 10 2015 - 4:43pm

The Power of Friends: A special preconference aimed at those great volunteer supporters of libraries!

We all know that $100,000s of dollars and 100,000s of hours are donated each year through Friends groups in New Jersey’s libraries. Be it in public, academia, or schools, these selfless individuals, working together and with library staff, supply the extras – and in some cases the necessities – of library service. 

So: how can we help all these Friends be even better? Well, we can start with encouragement, new ideas, and support.  

This year, NJLA is offering a special preconference program targeted at Friends members, library administration and Library Trustees, to begin a concerted effort to engage and support all different types of Friends of the Library groups. The program will begin at 1:00pm on Monday, April 20 at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa with an introduction from NJLA President-elect James Keehbler, Director of Piscataway Public Library, and continues with a keynote address from Leslie Burger, Executive Director of Princeton Public Library and past president of both NJLA and ALA. 

Following the welcome address, attendees will break up into specific groups to talk about what works in the areas of book sales, memberships, fund-raising, and programming. After a break, Keith McCoy, Assistant Director of the Somerset County Library System, will coordinate the reporting from the breakout groups and then facilitate discussion around the question "What would state-wide support for New Jersey Friends’ groups look like?" At 4:00pm, we will wrap up the preconference with a summary and a call for volunteers to take whatever next steps seem appropriate.

To support and encourage participation among our Friends groups, a special rate of just $25 per person is available to Friends for this preconference. (Please note that library staff and trustees pay the standard NJLA member or non-member rates to attend.)

Take an afternoon at the ocean and get invigorated with The Power of Friends. Register today, right here -- or print this form!



Why Conference is Good for Everyone . . .

Mar 10 2015 - 3:05pm

. . . Even those who know everything already!

Have you been working as a librarian for years? Do you feel confident in your skills? Are you satisfied with your current position?

Well then, why attend the NJLA Conference??!!  

Hear why seasoned librarians Doug Baldwin, Emerging Librarian at Piscataway Public Library, and Laura Leonard, Teen and Reference Librarian at Hillsdale Public Library, continue to go to Conference year after year.

LL: Attending Conference is a fantastic way to meet new colleagues and strengthen existing connections. Without hearing from inspiring colleagues, I’d most likely be stuck in a rut feeling.

DB: I go to Conference to recharge the intellectual batteries. It is so easy to get caught in our daily frustrations, so hearing about new ideas or speaking with our colleagues can give us that energetic recharge that we need to return to our libraries with new focus and drive to start something new, improve something old, or something in-between.

LL: Have you been considering a new program or approach, but aren’t quite ready to take the plunge? Avoid the pitfalls and benefit from tips provided during the many fantastic programs.

DB: There is always room to learn something new. No matter how many years you have been in the trenches, there is always something new to learn from a colleague, or a Conference program that can make you see something in a different light.

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DB: Diversity. Our libraries and communities are do different and unique. It is always a great experience to hear about what other libraries, and other communities are doing, and thinking about and reflecting upon how that might work or benefit your community.

LL: It’s a chance to blow off some steam. Everyone faces frustrations at work, maybe talking to a colleague will help shift your perspective and lead you towards a solution. Possibly the early morning yoga will be the stress reliever your need!

DB: New partnerships and collaborations. You never know who you are going to meet, network or talk with at Conference that could spark a shared program idea or collaborative project pilot. Likewise, you may find out about a community partner or organization that might be right for you to reach out to for something for your community.

DB: Mentoring. I think it is in our blood as a profession to want to help others -- and this goes for our more newly minted colleagues as well. Conference is a great opportunity to connect with those new to our profession, offer words of advice, hear from them about new trends, and provide a helping hand as they begin to grow within the profession.


Come Conference with Your Colleagues at the Jersey Shore

Mar 9 2015 - 10:05am

Did you know that the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) offers a special rate for out-of-state attendees? If you live outside of New Jersey and you are a member of your own state library association, then you are eligible to attend our annual Conference at the NJLA Personal Member rate!

Professional development is learning from dynamic speakers and informative handouts. But it’s also more than that. The NJLA Conference experience is about connecting, collaborating, and socializing with people outside of your typical professional network. It’s about making friends, exploring new ideas, and engaging with your fellow librarians and library professionals.

To enhance these opportunities and foster new relationships, we encourage our colleagues from outside of New Jersey to attend our annual Conference. Featured keynote speakers this year will be public innovator Rich Harwood and librarian/technologist Jason Griffey, plus a president’s program with WCBS radio personality Joe Connolly, a "Librarians on the Edge of Fashion" show, and much, much more! See our schedule for a full listing of program sessions and special events.

So come down (or up) to the Jersey Shore this April, stay at the newly renovated Ocean Place Resort and Spa, and be a part of the New Jersey Library Association. If only for a few days. Register today! Early bird rate ends on March 30.


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College & University Librarians – There’s Never Been a Better Time to Attend NJLA!

Mar 5 2015 - 3:36pm

There's Never Been a Better Time to Attend NJLA

The 2015 NJLA Conference is loaded with programs tailored to the needs and interests of college and university librarians. This year, the sessions sponsored and co-sponsored by the College and University Section are spread throughout the Conference, with a Preconference on Monday, six programs on Tuesday, and another six on Wednesday. Experience the full Conference for three days of professional development, networking, and learning about Libraries on the Edge.  

Continue reading for descriptions of the programs sponsored and co-sponsored by the College and University Section!


  • ESL in Libraries: Communicating with our Communities -- New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the country, and libraries play a crucial role in acclimating newly arrived residents, providing programs and services to help them settle and thrive here. During this extended sessearn about the different avenues for providing ESL service at your library, and how to formulate programs to meet the needs of your community. Then share ideas with freestyle group conversations to develop resources for ESL service at your library.


  • RDA Authority Records: An Overview -- Unsure about authority control? Confused about RDA? Do not fear! RDA authorities program is here! Join us for an overview of authority control, its importance for libraries and steps to perform authority control locally. Become familiar with sample RDA authority records and find out how data elements in an authority record can help catalogers. (Tuesday, 9:00-9:50)
  • Collection Development and Maintenance of eResources: What You Should Know -- As more and more of eResources become available to our patrons, and make their way into our catalogs, they present their own maintenance and collection development challenges. As librarians, we have to deal with publisher restrictions, multiple licensing criteria, expiring licenses, subscription collections and patron-driven acquisition models. Our panel will provide answers on how to manage it all. (Tuesday, 11:30-12:30)
  • On the EDGE of Their Seats: How to Give Amazing Presentations -- How many times have you sat through a conference presentation that just didn’t live up to your expectations? Don’t be that kind of presenter! In this session, librarians will provide successful examples of creating a catchy description, tips on how to stay on topic, the art of capturing your audience’s attention and many more secrets to their success. With backgrounds in music & theater/performance, teaching and sales, these presenters are skilled at innovative classroom instruction and various conference breakout sessions and want to share their knowledge so that you never have to worry about attendees snoozing or heckling during (or after) your presentation. (Tuesday, 11:30-12:30)
  • Effective Training: Understanding and Assisting Adult Learners -- Discover what makes adult learners unique and how to identify different learning styles. Find out how using different training styles can maximize the effectiveness of training efforts by matching them to the different learning styles. This session will offer content that is appropriate for presenters and classroom trainers as well as those conducting one-on-one or small-group training. (Tuesday, 3:10-4:00)
  • 2015 Technology Innovation Awards Forum -- This forum features presentations from the winners and nominees of the 2015 Technology Innovation Award, which honors a librarian or group of librarians for innovative use and application of a technology in a New Jersey academic library. The purpose of the award is to recognize distinguished leadership in developing new technologies for academic libraries. (Tuesday, 3:10-5:00) (See 2014 awards here:
  • A Library e-Textbook Project -- Many libraries offer copies of textbooks for students to use within the library, a service that is much appreciated by students coping with the rising cost of textbooks. Seeking to extend this service one step further, Middlesex County College Library partnered with the English Department to create an e-textbook to replace the Introductory English class reader. This session will explore the problems, pitfalls and surprising successes in our efforts to go “textbook-less.” (Tuesday, 4:10-5:00)


  • On the Edge of Discovery: Students and Web-Scale Searching -- Library discovery tools, with their Google-like single search box, change the way students use and perceive the library. In this session, we present the findings from our user study of the EBSCO discovery tool. Students self-recorded their sessions of using the discovery tool for their research projects, on their own time. These findings have been eye opening to course instructors and informed changes to our discovery tool administration and librarians’ information literacy strategies. (Wednesday, 9:00-9:50)
  • Which Citation Manager? A Conversation Starter -- Learn about the pros and cons of some of the most popular citation managers: EndNote, EndNote Basic, Mendeley, RefWorks, RefWorks Flow, and Zotero. Each citation manager is popular with some segment of academia because of its features/functionality, or interface. Let’s compare some of the amazing features of these software packages: grabbing metadata from websites, generating bibliographic information, searching for full text, facilitating collaboration, annotating PDFs, working with mobile devices, and working with each other. (Wednesday, 11:30-12:20)
  • College and University Luncheon with Edward Tenner -- Edward Tenner is an independent writer, speaker, and consultant on technology and culture. His book Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences has been an international bestseller. His most recent book is Our Own Devices: The Past and Future of Body Technology. (Wednesday, 12:30-2:20)
  • A Reader's Adventures in Special Collections with Edward Tenner -- An increasing number of academic libraries are encouraging use of special collections in undergraduate courses. "Ever since I [Edward Tenner] wrote my dissertation using German libraries and archives, I have loved to use these collections and archives -- and to assemble a small book and print collection of my own. I'll give a personal account of my experiences in Europe and the U.S. and suggest that librarians don't need conventional rarities or big budgets to engage readers with the fascination of unique objects. I'll include some images from my own collection. And I'll also suggest that a surprising number of academic disciplines originated not within conventional departments but among lay collectors and enthusiasts." (Wednesday, 2:30-3:20)
  • College and University Section Research Award and Forum -- To promote and recognize excellence in the research efforts of New Jersey librarians, the Research Committee of the NJLA College and University Section (CUS) and the ACRL New Jersey Chapter presents an Award & Forum program. This session features New Jersey librarians discussing their current library research projects. The forum presentations include the winner of the 2015 Research Award for the best published research by a New Jersey librarian in 2014, along with other librarians whose presentations have been selected on a competitive basis by the Research Committee. (Wednesday, 2:30-4:30) (See past awards here:
  • Teaching Information Literacy with I-Learn Model -- In pursuit of effective teaching method, a team of two librarians and one faculty member at Rider University used the new I-Learn model in teaching students in Educational Opportunity Program in the summer of 2014. Beside the traditional ‘access-evaluate-use’ information sequence, they also taught the research process ‘apply, reflect, and know’ to an experimental group. Pretest, posttest, and a second posttest revealed students’ learning and retention of information literacy between the experimental and control groups. (Wednesday, 3:40-4:30)


Pre-Conference Programs at #NJLA15

Feb 16 2015 - 1:38pm

Preconferences offer a unique opportunity to extend the experience of a conference. While you may think, “two days is plenty of days for a conference, why do I need to extend that?”, what people often do not realize is that the sessions are very different from what you would expect on the regularly scheduled sessions. With more hands-on and active participation than can be afforded in a typical conference session, the preconference allows room and time for brainstorming and collaboration, a genuine exchange of ideas that enriches the experiences to come throughout the rest of the conference.

Not only are preconferences valuable in terms of professional development and gain, but they also are a bit less overwhelming than your usual conference session days. With less people, and less sessions, there is more room for discussion and meeting up with old friends or making new ones. Instead of running between sessions to try to catch bits and pieces of as many as you can, you and enjoy the one you choose without the pressure of where to go next. Sounds nice, right?

The preconference might offer a less expensive, one day option for those who cannot make it for the full event, but it also allows for a more full and complete conference experience for those who can stay through at least Tuesday. The Monday evening following the preconference sessions is full of unique professional and networking experiences.

If all of that does not sell you on attending the NJLA 2015 Preconference, check out our topics below, with more detailed descriptions in our schedule. Register today!

  • The Power of Friends - Every library relies on their Friends for fundraising and volunteering efforts. This session aims to bring together Friends and Friends supporters to discuss the ways in which we can improve Friends initiatives, and possibly foster a state-wide cooperative to advance Friends efforts. **Special registration rate for Friends for 2015!

  • ESL in Libraries: Communicating with our Communities - Providing a practical approach, presenters will provide attendees with the tools to know how to set up an ESL program in your library by assessing the needs of your community. (See below!)

  • Is Your Library LGBTQI Friendly? Collection Development and Beyond - While focusing on teens, this session will provide tips for collection development for your LGBTQI communities beyond the “Best Of” lists.

  • Radical Librarianship: How Ninja Librarians are Ensuring Patrons’ Electronic Privacy - As institutions dedicated to intellectual freedom, libraries stand in a unique position to address their community’s privacy rights. This session will provide tips and tools to use in the face of privacy issues, as well as how to help prevent them in the future.

And for more on Monday evening events:

  • Resume Speed Dating - Back by popular demand! New librarians as well as those thinking about changing jobs will have the opportunity to have experienced library administrators critique their resumes over at the Seaview Bar.

  • Librarian Mixer - Our librarian mixers are reported as one of the most fun experiences of conference; a time to relax and join in some free-flowing conversation with our colleagues and friends. This year, join us for happy hour at the Wine Loft in Pier Village, a venue that features an extensive wine list, specialty drinks, and small plates.

  • President’s Program featuring Joe Connolly - Join NJLA President Terrie McColl and radio personality Joe Connolly for an engaging look at financial literacy, promoting small businesses, and libraries.

  • Librarians on the Edge of Fashion - Librarians are unique individuals and they have a style sense all their own. Here’s an opportunity to get together, mingle, and have some fun! Dress up to impress and show off your style to your colleagues. From the best-dressed to the non-librarianish, judges will be circulating and winners will be picked from various categories. We have an emcee and four judges to make it a memorable evening that you don’t want to miss!

As an added bonus, you’ll be among the first to check out the new and most popular items at the NJLA Store, and if you stay overnight you’ll also be able to participate in early morning yoga overlooking the beach. So what were your reasons for NOT joining us on Monday, again? See you there!



Share a Room, Share a Ride!

Feb 5 2015 - 10:15am

How are you planning on getting to NJLA? Looking for a roommate?

The NJLA Conference committee is now offering a new roommate matching service alongside our ride-share program!

How room-sharing works:

The NJLA Conference Committee is using a short survey to match interested attendees with roommates for hotel accommodations at conference. While we aren’t making the room reservations for you, after matches are made we will pass along your potential roommate’s details through email. It will be your responsibility to reach out to your match and make your conference reservations.

Sign-ups for roommate matching and ride-share must be made by Monday, March 23 and potential matches will be emailed to you later that week!

How ride-sharing works:

Join the ride-share listserv at!forum/njla-conference-rideshare/join.

Then you can post to the listserv by sending a message to to let people know that you are interested in sharing a ride to Conference.

This is not just for people who are looking for a ride, but also intended for people who are planning to drive and looking for company.

Why you should use our Ride-Share and Roommate Matching Service?

  • You’ll save both travel and hotel costs.
  • You’ll get the chance to meet and network with your travel buddy or roommate.
  • You’ll be staying right in the center of all the actions (sessions, social events and more) by booking with us at Ocean Place Resort & Spa!

To find out more or sign up to be matched, fill out these forms: Roommate Match and Ride-Share.


Introducing the New & Improved Ocean Place Resort and Spa!

Feb 2 2015 - 5:00pm


As you know, the NJLA Conference is returning to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa for the first time since 2011, but don’t think that you’ll be visiting the same meeting and event spaces. In 2012, Ocean Place started a massive multi-phase renovation process that has considerably improved the look and feel of the venue. This year’s conference attendees will be surprised and pleased with the changes in store.

New carpets, light fixtures, chairs and other details have brightened up meeting spaces and breakout rooms. There is also free, upgraded wi-fi available throughout the meeting spaces to accommodate the many attendees who will be using devices and laptops during the conference.    

Situated along the boardwalk at Long Branch, Ocean Place has always featured beautiful views of the ocean (almost to the point of distraction in some meeting rooms!), and some of the renovations have highlighted these views and created additional spaces for visitors to enjoy the outdoors and the calming seaside atmosphere, including an outdoor Tiki Bar. Let’s band together to try to make sure that April 20-22 is warm and sunny!

Fortunately, even if the weather is cool, conference attendees can still take a dip in the indoor pool located on the first floor regardless of whether the outdoor pool on the mezzanine level is open.

The dining area near the front lobby, where luncheons will be held during this year’s conference, has been fully updated and now features a large bar front and center. This space, now called the Seaview Restaurant and Lounge, will be a great place for networking events and mixers as well as a place to meet with friends and colleagues after conference hours. We expect that many attendees will gather at the seating area near the bar for conversation (about libraries, of course) and maybe play a game or two of pool.

Conference attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the well-appointed rooms at Ocean Place and stay overnight rather than making a daytrip. All of the hotel’s 256 guest rooms have been completely gutted and renovated as well with new bathrooms, carpets and furniture. Rooms are available for a special rate of $169 a night and you can place reservations online or by calling 800-411-6493 (press 2 for reservations). For this rate, reservations should be made by April 5!

Whether this is your first NJLA conference or you are familiar with the location, Ocean Place will feel fresh and new. With so much to see and enjoy, you may want to extend your stay or return for a visit on your own! For more photos, visit the Ocean Place website:

For more information about completing your conference experience with an overnight stay, you can also take a look at the NJLA Conference website:

Making the Case for Conference

Jan 22 2015 - 8:57am

                   20 Reasons You Should Make the 2015 Conference the Best Yet!
                 Plus other good stuff that you need to know to really make the most of it.

2015 NJLA Conference registration is officially open! Find everything you need here:

Making the case for time off and support for travel and expenses to attend a conference requires a solid understanding of the potential benefits to your institution, supervisor, and colleagues. And you need to be able to communicate those benefits clearly -- especially in times of libraries being “on the edge,” complete with tight budgets and reduced staff. In the blog posts ahead, you’ll find lots of great information for both WHY this Conference is worth attending, as well as HOW to sell it being an essential experience.

Here are 20 reasons why you should most definitely make sure that you register right now for the 2015 NJLA Conference!

  1. Jason Griffey (creator of TheLibraryBox) and Rich Harwood (currently working with ALA on a project called Libraries Transforming Communities)
  2. The President’s Program featuring Joe Connolly
  3. Luncheons: honoring books and authors, technology, research and more
  4. An updated & newly renovated Ocean Place Resort & Spa
  5. Getting signed books!
  6. Exciting & In-depth preconference programs
  7. Ride- and room-sharing
  8. Awards ceremonies
  10. Meeting authors!
  11. Relaxing breaks at the Jersey Shore
  12. Poster sessions
  13. Visiting the Exhibits to meet vendors and see product demos
  14. Unique finds at the NJLA store
  15. Lightning Lunches & Tech Talks
  16. All. The. Programs!
  17. Elevator pictures :)
  18. Something for everyone, even our Friends and Trustees
  19. Adult beverages & resume tips
  20. Mixers (another word for networking)

And here are some tips for how to show your supervisor why you should register right now for the 2015 NJLA Conference!

  • Get the costs together. Show how much you can save if you register and book travel and accommodations early. Consider factoring in the savings for traveling together with a colleague or co-worker. Or use our ride-share / room-share service to find a fellow librarian to drive down and/or split a room with.
  • Look at the website. Identify practical sessions, events, speakers, exhibitors, and programs that can help you do your job better. Talk to co-workers unable or unlikely to attend and identify what information you could bring back to your library to help them.
  • Share preconference and regular session information with your supervisor to see which programs they think would be the greatest benefit to your workplace.
  • Put together a draft plan for when you get back! Discuss how you’ll share what you learned at the conference, including notes on sessions, discussion groups, vendors, and other useful conversations. Promise to focus on implementing at least one new idea that pays back many times the investment of time and money!
  • Put your request in writing -- use this sample memo and this budget worksheet if they are helpful. (Thanks to ALA for sharing these great templates!)

Find more details at

Call for Proposals

Sep 24 2014 - 7:24pm

We are now accepting program proposals for the 2015 Conference in Long Branch, NJ. Only proposals that are submitted by NJLA Sections, Committees, or Round Tables will be considered. If you have an idea for a program, please contact the chair of the appropriate NJLA group to discuss the possibility of submitting a proposal. Please contact the Conference Co-chairs at for more information. 


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