Conference Updates

Spread the Word: Reference Section at Conference!

Apr 22 2014 - 2:59pm

Librarians start months in advance planning a vast array of programming to feature at the NJLA Conference each year. They work long and hard brainstorming content and securing presenters to ensure that attendees of the Conference get the very best out of the professional learning and networking experience.

Let everyone know about the programs that your sections and committees are hosting this year -- Let us know how you're spreading the word!

Take a look at some fabulous programs sponsored by the Reference Section (videos created by Karen Vaias and Karen Olivari), and find out more about these (and more) programs here.


Find a complete schedule here and information about registration is here.

Make the Most of Your First NJLA Conference

Apr 14 2014 - 9:33pm

If you have never attended the New Jersey Library Association Conference, then our 2014 Annual Conference in Atlantic City is not to be missed!

With program content related to academic, school, special, and public libraries, the NJLA Conference is one-stop shopping for all of your professional development needs. The Conference Committee makes an effort to develop a well-rounded schedule of programs on a variety of topics that provide practical and actionable ideas that attendees can take back to their libraries. Progress in libraries is happening at an accelerated pace, and this will be your best opportunity all year to hear exciting new ideas from libraries around the state, and perhaps around the nation.

But the Conference isn’t just about lectures. Our Conference in Atlantic City provides a unique opportunity to connect with colleagues and discuss the topics that are important to us right now. The social experiences offered at the NJLA Conference will give you the chance to build and develop the relationships that support the work you do in your own community.

Here are some additional opportunities you don’t want to miss if you will be a new or first-time attendee of the NJLA Conference in 2014:

  • Go to the Awards Reception. Free wine and appetizers, and opportunities to chat with movers and shakers from the NJ library community.
  • Visit the Exhibits. Library vendors are on hand to answer questions, and demo new products. You never know who you will meet and what products might help the community you serve.
  • Volunteer at the Registration Desk for low-impact networking. You will be greeting attendees as they check-in at the Conference, which is a great way to chat with speakers, author, directors and librarians from around the state. To get involved now, send an email to njlaconference [at] njlamembers [dot] org.
  • Attend a luncheon. With four engaging luncheons to choose from, chances are we have something for everyone: Garden State Book Awards, College and University Section, NJLA President's Inaugural Luncheon, and Brown Bag Lightning Tech Talks.

Our 2014 Conference in AC is shaping up to be one of our best yet! Register now to get involved and support your state library association.

Join Us for Lunch!

Apr 13 2014 - 4:38pm

From honoring NJLA Presidents to award-winning titles for youth, from learning about the latest topics in academics to discovering the newest and most innovative uses for technology, there is certainly a ton to celebrate at the annual NJLA Conference . . . and you can do it all over lunch with friends and colleagues!

On Tuesday, all are welcome to honor NJLA President-Elect Terrie McColl at the NJLA President's Inaugural Luncheon. We welcome our colleagues, new and experienced from all types of libraries and supporters around the state, to extend our support and encouragement to incoming President Terrie McColl, and to help us send President Eileen Palmer off with a warm and grateful "Thank You!" (Pre-register for this event with your Conference registration.)

This year's College & University Section Luncheon on Wednesday will feature noted academic publishing expert Jeffrey Beall, who is the Scholarly Initiatives Librarian at Auraria Library at the University of Colorado, Denver. Mr.Beall will discuss predatory publishing, scholarly communication, open-access publishing, author and publisher misconduct as well as scholarly publishing ethics during the luncheon. (Pre-register for this event with your Conference registration.)

The annual Garden State Book Award Luncheon celebrates the year’s winners of the Garden State Children's & Teen Book Awards on Wednesday with keynote speaker Daniel Kirk. Kirk is the award-winning author and illustrator of more than 21 popular books for children, including picture books Cat Power; Dogs Rule!; Hush, Little Alien; Library Mouse; Lunchroom Lizard; and Snow Dude. His more recent work includes Elf Realm, a series of young-adult fantasy. Daniel Kirk recently released the fifth book in his immensely popular Library Mouse series. An author signing will follow. (Pre-register for this event with your Conference registration.)

Looking for a more informal hour to spend your lunch? Join us with friends for a Brown Back Lunch and Lightning Tech Talks! Grab your lunch to-go and listen to a series of 5-minute lightning talks on current technology trends and innovations in libraries. (No registration necessary.)

Also, early Wednesday morning, don't miss the complimentary food and the news and trends from around NJ at the State Librarian's Breakfast with NJ State Librarian Mary Chute. (No registration necessary.)

And speaking of food . . .

The spirit of librarianship is giving to others. To this end, the NJLA Urban Libraries Section is pleased to run a drive for the second time at the NJLA Conference. This year’s drive will be on behalf of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. We will be collecting non-perishable food items (no glass, cellophane, bottled water, soda or baby food, please). For some additional information, please see this guide from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. And bring us your tote bags! All of those bags from past conferences that are in your office or closet are needed by the Community Food Bank, so please bring your food donation in a reusable bag.

- Kate Vasilik, 2014 NJLA Conference Committee

Attention NJ Library Trustees!

Apr 8 2014 - 10:17am

Attention New Jersey Library trustees! Are you looking for continuing education opportunities? The New Jersey Library Association has the perfect conference planned for you from June 2 through June 4 in Atlantic City.

One of the four preconference programs scheduled on Monday, June 2, entitled “Takin’ It to the Streets” provides you with the opportunity to hear about New Jersey libraries that are transforming outreach to their communities.

On Tuesday, June 3, the first full day of the conference, you’ll find many programs and speakers of interest on topics like personnel matters, policies and advocacy. You can attend your choice of sessions about employee performance reviews, advocating effectively with local officials, and using social media to promote your library and engage your community. Two of Tuesday’s sessions in particular that are guaranteed to be popular with trustees include: “New Job titles for 21st century Librarians” and “Fostering the Board/Director relationship.” The first full day culminates in the NJLA Awards Ceremony, which is an outstanding reception honoring librarians, libraries, trustees, and those who advocate on behalf of libraries. The award ceremony will not only provide you with ideas that you can share with your director and fellow board members, but it will make you very proud that you are associated with libraries.

The second full day of the conference on Wednesday, June 4 begins with the NJ State Librarian’s Breakfast, an opportunity for you to hear about the latest developments in initiatives that help the NJ library community. Then it’s on to sessions about makerspaces, union contracts, policies, developing a brand for the library, and so much more.

In between all these sessions there is also time for you to visit the exhibits and learn about all the new products and services that can bring more customers into your library! The exhibitors are very willing to answer questions and with technology changing so quickly, you are guaranteed to learn something new just by waking though the large exhibit space.

And don’t forget: this conference is in Atlantic City! You are a tireless volunteer and you deserve a mini vacation. Hotel rooms at the Revel Resorts are discounted for conference attendees, every room has a beautiful view of the ocean and the choice of restaurants both inside and around Revel make Atlantic City a superb personal and professional destination.

Talk to your library director soon and register for this fantastic conference. Registration can be done via phone by calling 609-348-0500 or 855-348-0500 by May 16 and indicate that you are with the NJ Library Association, or online at

Hope to see you in AC!

- Jayne Beline, 2014 NJLA Conference Co-Chair

NJLA Annual is for Everyone!

Apr 1 2014 - 1:01pm

We are excited to announce that we will once again be offering the NJLA Member rate for Conference attendance to library professionals who are members of other State Library Associations.

Our Annual Conference is an opportunity to showcase projects and ideas of libraries and library professionals all across the great state of New Jersey. But it’s also an opportunity to bring in speakers from other parts of the country to share expertise and connect with NJ librarians. The NJLA Conference Committee places a tremendous value on the participation of professionals from across the country at our Annual Conference.

Did you know that Atlantic City, NJ is a 1-hour drive from Philadelphia, a 2-hour drive from New York City and less than 3 hours from Baltimore? Atlantic City is also home to a variety of transportation options including air, bus & train. No matter where you are, you’re not too far from one of the best State Conferences in the northeast!

This year we’ll be hosting keynote presenters Steve Berry (Tuesday), New York Times Bestselling novelist and author of The Lincoln Myth, and Nate Hill (Wednesday), the Assistant Director at the Chattanooga Public Library and creator of The 4th Floor Project.

From the beach & boardwalk to dining, entertainment & gaming, Revel Resorts has a little bit of everything. Come to the New Jersey Library Association Conference in Atlantic City and see what it’s all about!

- Allen McGinley, 2014 NJLA Conference Co-Chair

to revel (verb): to enjoy oneself

Apr 1 2014 - 12:56pm


Revel Resorts in Atlantic City is a world-class hotel and conference venue highlighted by gaming, dining, entertainment, and an amazing spa. The meeting room level provides ample space for our more formal Conference sessions, but also opportunities for exploration, networking, and casual conversations with other attendees.

(And did we mention there is an indoor outdoor pool? Because there is! You can get in the pool indoors, swim underneath a wall and be outdoors. It’s seriously amazing.)

Spaces like the Outdoor Sky Lobby and bar/restaurants like Village Whiskey offer exceptional opportunities for connecting with old friends over appetizers & cocktails or just relaxing around the bonfire after a long day of serious conferencing.

The NJLA Annual Conference at Revel Resorts is about learning, collaborating, and soaking in the new, exciting ideas shared by colleagues, but it’s also about relaxing and re-energizing. Revel Resorts offers the perfect blend.

So join us in AC! Our Annual Conference is the largest source of revenue for our New Jersey Library Association. We get together every year for all the reasons listed above. But we also do it to support (both financially & spiritually) this great network of library professionals. We look forward to seeing you there!

Book your room today! Call 609-348-0500 or 855-348-0500 by May 16 and indicate that you are with the NJ Library Association, or go to

- Allen McGinley, 2014 NJLA Conference Co-Chair

Creating Our Futures – NJLA 2014 President’s Program and Keynote Speakers

Mar 26 2014 - 2:32pm

NJLA's Annual Conference, Creating Our Futures, has a great program lined up for you from June 2nd through June 4th at Revel Resort in Atlantic City. 

Please join me on Monday evening for the President's Program. One of the great privileges NJLA’s President has is the selection of conference Keynotes and the President’s Program. I gave a lot of thought to this year’s speakers and I hope you will agree that they all have much to offer NJLA members and conference attendees.

The NJLA President’s Program, Monday at 7pm, is entitled Libraries in Space. I am very excited to introduce Helen Klein Ross to NJLA. In her program she will challenge us to explore the power of libraries in the social media space and why simply staking claim there isn't enough. We'll look at why branding is more than logo and graphics and why a strong brand unified across platforms is key to galvanizing new usage and support. And what can libraries learn from innovations by others on the digital frontier?

Helen knows a lot about branding and social media. In 2008, she brought characters from AMC's drama "Mad Men" onto Twitter. Her work as @BettyDraper has attracted 35,000 followers, a Shorty (Twitter) award and press coverage in Time and the Wall Street Journal. She is also a branding advisor to the Poetry Society of America and is board member and lead on a current rebranding effort for Scoville Memorial Library in Salisbury, CT.

We’ve moved things around a bit this year to make exhibits more accessible and the Keynote sessions more comfortable. We’ve put our Keynote speakers on the stage of Ovation Hall and you’ll be seated comfortably at tables. On Tuesday I hope you will start your conference by attending Steve Berry’s Keynote. If, like me, you love it when NJLA brings authors to the conference then you know this is a Keynote not to be missed. 

Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of eight Cotton Malone adventures, four stand-alone thrillers, and four short-story originals. I admit I am a huge fan of Steve Berry’s work and am hoping to read his latest Cotton Malone novel (The Lincoln Myth – scheduled for release May 20, 2014) before I get to the conference. Steve is taking time from his book tour to join us in Atlantic City.

On Wednesday our Keynote is Nate Hill, Assistant Director at the Chattanooga Public Library, where he started The 4th Floor project. The 4th Floor is a 14,000 square foot flexible community library space: some days it is a makerspace, others it is a coder dojo or hackerspace, and still others it serves as an event, production, and presentation space. Nate's talk will tell the story of the rapid development of this space, it will offer insight into teambuilding and organizational structures for creative library spaces, and it will present actionable ideas for implementing similar solutions in participants' own libraries – regardless of how much space you actually have!

In addition to his work in Chattanooga, Nate serves as a co-chair of the Digital Public Library of America's Marketing and Outreach Committee, and he's been recognized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as an American representative for the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI) program. Nate was also named a "Mover and Shaker" by Library Journal in 2012.

I hope you agree that we have a great line up waiting for you in Atlantic City! I look forward to seeing you there.

- Eileen M. Palmer, NJLA President

Making the Case for Conference!

Mar 24 2014 - 11:47am

We'd love to see you at the NJLA Conference on June 2-4, 2014 in Atlantic City, NJ! 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 tight budgets and reduced staff. Use the information that follows to help make your case!

  • Find out why others go to the NJLA Conference! Put a call out to colleagues asking what they get most out of attending Conference, or take a look at what other professionals in the field have to say at

  • Get the costs together, showing how much you can save if you register and book travel and housing early. Consider factoring in the savings for traveling together with a colleague or co-worker.

  • Take a look through any preliminary information that is available, identifying sessions, events, speakers, and programs that could help you do your job better. Find a ton of information and details at

  • Share any preliminary information with your colleagues who may be unlikely to attend. Discuss with them how your attending could benefit them, what kind of information you could bring back to help them, and what sessions they’d like you to go to.

  • Share preconference and session information with your supervisor and find out what sessions and programs they think would be of greatest benefit to your workplace.

  • Put together a draft plan for how essential tasks will get done while you’re away, including how technology will keep you accessible and in touch as needed.

  • Develop a draft plan for after you get back—describe how you’ll share the list of discussion and action items you develop during the conference, how you’ll share notes from sessions, discussion groups, vendors, and useful conversations, and by when you’ll provide a written report for your supervisor. Promise that you’ll focus on implementing 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!)

For a convenient overview of the conference content, dates, scheduled events, hotels, registration rates, and informational links, check out

- Kate Vasilik, 2014 NJLA Conference Committee


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