Conference Updates

#NJLA17 Programming Spotlight: History & Preservation

Feb 14 2017 - 6:53pm

As libraries fight to keep ahead of the technology curve (with help from the Emerging Technologies Section!), we are also working to preserve important historical documents and artifacts essential to our communities. I think we can all admit it’s tough work when you’re burning the candle on both ends!

So I thought I would get us some help. I spoke with Tom Ankner of the Newark Public Library and NJLA’s History and Preservation Section about what they are offering at this year’s conference. Read on for some great advice on what to attend to help you save our precious past!

Q: How many programs will your the History and Preservation Section be sponsoring or cosponsoring this year?

Four programs: an authors' panel featuring three writers of recent books about New Jersey, a program on managing different types of archives, one on the care of historic maps and their use in reference work, and a program on preparing historical exhibits and doing historical programs in libraries.


Q: When the History & Preservation section starts submitting program proposals for conference, what sort of things come up in conversation and what topics do you feel are important for your section to represent?

I think it is important to include some information about preservation issues. I think this helps people who work in many different types of library settings, not just local history rooms or historical archives. Last year, we did a session on basic book repair which had wide application beyond history rooms.

Q: Is there a session you think would be valuable or interesting even to non-history buffs?

This year, the maps and programming sessions should be particularly helpful. Learning about the preservation and digitization of maps is something that many libraries can benefit from. No one seems to know what to do with maps. This program could provide some guidance.

And finding inventive ways to bring history to life for patrons can be useful. This year, one of my presenters does historical reenactments in costume; she is planning to appear at the conference in costume (she hasn't told me as who yet).

My other presenter is a college professor who has curated exhibits for both public and academic libraries. He will be talking about the difference in the two types of institutions.

Q: What session are you most excited about and why?

I am probably most looking forward to the session on exhibits and historical programming. I am moderating that session, for one. I also think it is the session that will have the most appeal to people at the conference.

So there you have it! You may not learn what you need to know in time to preserve your famous love letters for Valentine’s Day, but there’s always next year! Until then, soak up all that you can at #NJLA17

Emily Witkowski and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee

#NJLA17 Programming Spotlight: Emerging Technologies

Feb 7 2017 - 2:25pm

Our profession has changed exponentially each year as new trends and technologies are introduced. NJLA's Emerging Technologies Committee does a fabulous job each year at conference presenting programs that keep us hep, spiffy, radical, or whatever the kids are saying these days. See what they're offering us this year with Conference Committee's Doug Baldwin as our guide!

Technology is just one of those things that permeates throughout the work we do in libraries, whether it is programming, training, collection development, reference,  and pretty much everywhere in between!  Now more than ever it is vital in our profession that we make every effort to remain abreast of new tools, ideas, perspectives, and challenges posed by the use and implementation of technology in all areas.

Fortunately, the NJLA Emerging Technologies (ET) section has worked especially hard this year, along with many other co-sponsoring sections,  to provide a slate of sessions for this years conference that cover a broad range of these topics no matter where you focus or interested may be.

I contacted this year’s ET section president, TJ Lamanna of the Cherry Hill Public Library, to get his inside scoop on which session should not be missed! Here are his selected highlights :

“The Importance of HTTPS with Let’s Encrypt” on Monday (4/24).

This preconference will cover the necessity of HTTPS for libraries and their vendors. It's focus will be an explanation of what HTTPS is, why it's important,and what libraries and vendors can do to implement it. Let's Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority run for the public’s benefit. More information can be found here:

“Librarians: Protecting Yourself Online” (Wednesday, 4/26, 9:00-9:50am)

Join a fantastic panel to discuss practical ways you can protect yourself and your library online. You've probably heard about a lot of products and programs designed to help you, but some of them might be a little tricky to use. We're here to help. It's becoming more and more vital librarians understand what they can and should do to protect themselves, their patrons, and their libraries online. Don't fall behind, it's easier than you think.

“Maker Outreach : Taking Tech to Urban Schools” (Wednesday 4/26, 9:00-9:50am)

This panel will discuss taking our tech to urban schools. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn some easy and practical methods of improving your libraries community outreach and getting more young people interested your libraries maker equipment.

Also, don’t forget to check out the annual “The Year’s Best Video Games of 2016 (Wednesday 4/26, 2:30-3:20pm)” which will explore not only the newest gaming systems and the gaming landscape as it stands today,  but review the best released games across the most popular platforms for 2016.

And this is just the beginning! There are many other programs ET has the privilege of co-sponsoring with our other hardworking sections across NJLA. But we won’t steal their thunder and let them tell you all about those as well! Stay tuned and hope to see you at conference!


Doug Baldwin and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee

#NJLA17 Programming Spotlight: Diversity & Outreach Section

Jan 31 2017 - 7:01pm
Conference Committee's Erica Krivopal talked to Jen Schureman of the Diversity & Outreach Section about what to expect from this powerhouse section at this year's conference. Here's what Jen had to say...
Looking for new ideas on ways to better serve those unique populations in your community?  The Diversity & Outreach Section has something for you each day starting with a wonderful pre-conference on Monday and ending with an 11:30 program on Wednesday.  Just listen to the amazing programs we will be offering.
First up, our Pre-Conference program “Libraries without Limits: Serving Developmentally Challenged Patrons of All Ages”.  This program will provide you with useful and easily replicable program ideas on serving those in your community who are developmentally challenged beyond the weekly storytime.  Programming for children, 

teens, and adults will be discussed as well as resources and partner organizations.  We invite everyone to open their minds and libraries to join us in creating “Libraries without Limits” throughout the state.  Presenters include Jen Schureman (Gloucester County Library), Catherine DeBerry (Somerset County), Kristen Anderson (West Orange), representatives from South Jersey Volunteer Center, Rowan College at Gloucester County ACT program, and more.
Tuesday brings 3 more incredible programs beginning with “Know Your Community: Using Demographic Data to Better Serve Your Communities” at 11:30am.  This program will be moderated by Mimi Lee (NJ State Library).  In this workshop, attendees will learn how to find local demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, including new immigrant populations. Attendees will also learn about tools that allow users to map the Census demographic information in order to visualize and target hyper-local communities and understand how to apply the local demographic data to library services and practices.  
Next up on Tuesday is “Grounds for Sculpture to the Skyscraper Museum: Creating a Museum Pass Program from the Ground Up”.  Moderated by Maria Worth (Cliffside Park) this session will show you how to bring a museum pass program to your library from one of the first programs in the state.  Speakers from Fairview Public Library, Grounds for Sculpture, and Intrepid Air and Space Museum will also be in attendance.  Don’t miss out on this program, it’s sure to be something sensational.
Tuesday rounds out with “Home Delivery in the Digital Age” where librarians will discuss how to best serve homebound patrons.  Whether you are looking for ways to improve your existing homebound services, looking to begin a homebound service, or are just looking to see what others are doing, this is the session for you.  An open discussion where ideas will be shared and concerns addressed, it’s a must attend for librarians and administrators alike.
Wednesday may be the last day of conference, but we have 2 stellar programs that are a must see.  Begin the day at 9:00am with our program “Helping the Dream: Supporting Undocumented Students and Patrons”.  This program is what every librarian needs to know in the current climate of the country.  Join us as speaker Giancarlo Tello, from undocuJersey will go in depth to give us an understanding of undocumented students and young adults, along with the barriers, pathways, and support available for them to obtain a college degree and beyond. We'll cover the DREAM Act, DACA, Scholarships, demographics, and best practices for librarians to help patrons who may be facing these issues.
Make sure to attend our final program of the conference before lunch,” Fade to Books: Barbershop Literacy Initiative” at 11:30am.  This initiative which has already been in existence in Long Branch discuss the cultural importance of barbershops in african american and latin american communities.  The New Jersey State Library recently has decided to take this program statewide.  Come and learn about where it began and why it works!
In today’s world these programs are more important now than ever.  We need to be able to help our communities navigate in this transitional time in our country.  Whether it’s an adult with Down Syndrome, an elderly homebound person, an undocumented college freshman, a librarian looking for good demographical statistics specific to their community, a library beginning a museum program, or a new way to reach the african american and latin american communities in barbershops, each and every one is affected by the changes in American happening today.  Join us in assisting you in helping them!!
Thanks to Diversity & Outreach for all of their continued hard work! We can't wait to see these programs in action.

Erica Krivopal and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee

Stages of Conference Planning: Bang for Your Buck

Jan 30 2017 - 3:29pm

So we’ve shared some details of who, what, when and where of Conference Planning, and now -- less than three months out from the main event! -- the Conference Committee is focused on all of the nitty-gritty details that make up the HOW of conferencing. We already discussed the insane amount of time and effort that goes into selecting and scheduling program sessions, keynotes, luncheons, and other events. But how do we determine and coordinate payment for everything and make sure it all gets done (seemingly) without a hitch?!

With registration opening THIS WEEK, we want to make sure you know where your money is going.

First and foremost, your Conference registration directly supports your professional association. As a nonprofit organization, NJLA relies almost solely on membership dues and conference registration fees for its financial stability. These fees, along with limited funds from individual donations (including the Annual Appeal), are used to create NJLA’s budget, which supports expensive advocacy and legislative costs, professional development opportunities, rent for our NJLA Office and salaries of staff workers (all 2.5 of them), among other things.

Your Conference registration pays for Conference. And lunch. I know that sounds simple and obvious and ridiculous, but it’s really, truly true. NJLA has to put a lot of money out upfront to pay to secure a venue for the NJLA Conference each year. Venues that can provide us the type and amount of space we need for upwards of 1,000 attendees are not, as you can probably imagine, cheap. There is also a $40,000 food and beverage minimum that we need to meet at Harrah’s this year (same minimum required at alternative venues as well). The $35 luncheon option is one that literally pays for lunch; NJLA makes no profit on that cost because it’s the lowest price we are able to negotiate to pass on to you. Coffee breaks, snacks, ice cream, receptions, and Pool Parties are all essentially benefits included in your Conference registration fee. Without paid memberships and paid registration fees, we could not afford to present you with a statewide event at all. So thank YOU.

Exhibits also pay for Conference. This is a big one, because -- again -- it’s true. Booth fees and sponsorship donations help significantly to take care of the big Conference costs. We talk a lot about securing vendors for Conference for this reason, as well as because they add an incredible amount of value to your professional experience. You’ll find that we’ll talk more and more over the next few months about all of the reasons you want to make sure you build a couple of visits through the Exhibit Hall into your schedule throughout the Conference. From networking to discounts to raffle prizes to one-on-one informational conversations, to miss the exhibits means missing a huge chunk of the benefit of attending Conference. The bottom line is that the mutual benefit of keeping our vendors and sponsors happy means ensuring higher quality Conference experiences each year.

Speakers add necessary value and cost. Besides the cost to rent venue space, NJLA spends the bulk of its Conference money on speakers: honorariums for proposed speakers (particularly keynotes), various travel costs (from basic mileage to pretty expensive airfare), meals, and hotel accommodations. With the number of programs proposed and accepted each year, these costs add up quickly, and it is the responsibility of the Conference Committee to see the bigger picture. We LOVE inviting speakers that we haven’t heard before, but sometimes we have to say “no” (which we hate) and sometimes we have to ask you to renegotiate costs (which we know you hate).

You may have heard that the Conference Committee does not have a budget, and that’s true. Financially-speaking, our primary goal is to put out less money than we take in every year, including the cost of the venue space. Because we have to spend money before we make money, and because we never can guarantee exactly how much money we’ll make (through exhibitor or attendee registrations), we have to be particularly cautious with our spending. We walk a fine line between the desire to put forth the best possible Conference experience ever -- with out-of-state speakers, hot topic programming, exciting and different social events and receptions, and other amenities -- and to present an event that is cost-effective to support the ultimate health and well-being of our association.

Starting Wednesday, February 1, 2017, all library workers and supporters of all types of libraries, including faculty and administration, Board of Trustees and Friends Group members, are officially invited to go “Beyond the Box” at the 2017 NJLA Annual Conference! We hope you like what we’ve put together. 

#NJLA17 Programming Spotlight: Administration & Management

Jan 26 2017 - 3:27pm

To some people, Conference is what NJLA does. For others, Conference is the culmination of the work put in during the NJLA work year. There are many sections, committees, and round tables who work tirelessly throughout the year to offer a variety of professional development opportunities as well as propose stellar programs that everyone can enjoy at our annual conference. We want to take this opportunity to highlight those working groups' efforts, and today we are starting with the Administration and Management section.

The Administration & Management Section, along with our co-sponsors, Personnel Administration Committee, Small Libraries RoundTable, Professional Development, and Leadership and Education Sub-Committee invite you to attend our Pre-Conference Program - Librarians as Property Managers: A Crash Course (Because Stuff Happens). If you are in a position, or hope to be in the future, where you have to make decisions about building repairs, upkeep, renovation, or construction, this program is for you!

In the first part of the program, William Sannwald, author of Checklist of Library Building Design Considerations, an ALA Publication, will speak to us about what to expect when you have to deal with emergency repairs, contractors, architects, ADA compliance issues, disaster and recovery planning, and redesigning existing spaces.

Pat Kennedy-Grant will follow Mr. Sannwald with a presentation on keeping maintenance records. She covers everything from changing light bulbs to HVAC maintenance in her spreadsheet.

Handouts will be provided.

Question and answer time will follow both presentations.

William Sannwald was an Assistant to the City Manager and Manager of Library Design and Development from 1997 to 2004, and was City Librarian of the San Diego Public Library from 1979 to 1997.He now is a full time faculty member in the business school at San Diego State University, where he teaches a variety of upper division undergraduate and MBA courses in the management department. He also works as a library building and administrative consultant.

Pat Kennedy-Grant is the Information & Borrowers’ Services Manager / Facilities Manager of the Bernardsville Public Library in Bernardsville, NJ.

And Administration and Management has more where that came from!

Other Administration and Management programs that you should check out are:

  • Successfully Applying for Grants: Tips From the Source (Tuesday, 4/25, 9:00-9:50am) - Finding and matching the best grant opportunity for your project and putting together a successful application, can be a challenge. Come hear how it's done from representatives of grant-making organizations and from a library grantee.
  • Why Are We Still Doing This?: The Pros and Cons (Tuesday, 4/25, 4:10-5pm) - This fast paced Pro and Con debate, with audience participation, will address the following topics: Volunteers, Food & drink policies, Paper library card applications, Cell phone use policies, Family library cards, DVD loan charges, Meeting room use and possibly more! At the end of each segment the attendees will vote for the winner.

We sure are getting excited here at the Conference Committee, and we hope you are too! Keep your eyes peeled for more program announcements from NJLA's sections, committees, and roundtables!

Karen Klapperstuck and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee

Why Should YOU Be At Conference?: Academic Librarian Edition

Jan 19 2017 - 5:50pm

While NJLA has heavy membership from the public library side, and a new initiative focused on school library media specialists, that does not mean we have forgotten about college and university librarians! There is plenty for academic librarians to gain from attending conference, and we asked a few active NJ academic librarians their reasons for attending.


College and University Section President Heather Dalal from Rider University and Past President Elizabeth Leonard from Seton Hall University both identified networking as one of the main reasons for attending the 

NJLA Conference. Noting that repeatedly seeing your colleagues during the conference, in the hotel elevator, restaurants and lounge areas strengthens bonds between colleagues much more than the short conversations at a one-day conference.

It’s also no surprise that both Heather and Elizabeth also highlighted the CUS luncheon as a reason for academic librarians to attend since the CUS President does get to choose the luncheon speaker! Heather, and many others, are excited that Emily Drabinski will be the CUS luncheon speaker this year and we are thrilled that Emily will be participating in a preconference session and also presenting a third session during the conference.

The opportunity to exchange ideas with public librarians also was cited as another reason to attend since we can all learn from each other. Heather even noted that 

public librarians really know how to make things work with limited funds and it is always great to learn what is going on in public libraries.

With great programs, great speakers, great posters and a great location, Heather and Elizabeth are both looking forward to the 2017 NJLA Conference and hope that many of their academic colleagues will be joining them this year.

So take a break from your university library and the "Sunday Scaries" to reset, refresh, and rejuvenate at conference!

Nancy Weiner and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee

Why Should YOU Be At Conference? Library Stakeholder Edition

Jan 17 2017 - 4:42pm

There are a million and one reasons why librarians, library assistants, circulation staff, and all others who WORK IN libraries should attend conference... but what about those who WORK FOR libraries? Friends groups? Trustees? Foundation members? Library stakeholders are certainly not exempt from all there is to offer at the Annual Conference!

At the 2016 conference, as I sat listening to Stanley Newman at the President’s Program, I was surprised when a member of my library’s board came and sat next to me. David Huemer is the treasurer on the Maplewood Memorial Library's Board of Trustees and he attended his first NJLA Conference in 2016. While David is always a positive guy, he seemed genuinely excited and rejuvenated by all that he heard while he was at the Monday Preconference session. And not only did he attend a preconference, but he stayed for the President’s program (he even had a book for Stanley to sign) and the Member Services event where he helped bring my trivia team to victory.

Is that a stellar trustee member, or what?

So what did David have to say about his conference experience? Let’s find out!


Q: Last year was your first year attending an NJLA conference, I believe. Can you tell me what you attended and how you heard about it?

I went to an all day workshop with Peter Pearson of the Friends of the St Paul Library.  I heard about it through our board meeting and NJLTA (New Jersey Library Trustee Association) email.  I also went to hear Stan Newman of crossword fame and help our team steamroll through Stan's after hours trivia contest.

Q: Did you feel that the session was useful to you as a trustee?  

Extraordinarily useful and inspiring.

Q: Are there other things you would like to see offered for library stakeholders other than programs for library employees themselves? If so, what types of things would you find useful?    

There was a lot of value in hearing how other boards, friends, and staff had dealt with issues similar to what we have in Maplewood.  Almost any program that gets library stakeholders in one room would have value,  for the communitarian aspects and because the level of people NJLA recruits to present.

Q: What was your favorite part of your experience at the 2016 NJLA Conference?

I really enjoyed meeting other New Jerseyans devoted to and involved in their local libraries--was great to connect and learn from people. At the risk of repeating myself,  I also liked helping our team steamroll through the trivia contest.

Never thought about inviting your friends, trustees, and library stakeholders to the NJLA Conference? Well now is your chance! And feel free to use David's words to help maker your case!

Emily Witkowski and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee

Why Should YOU Be At Conference?: School Library Media Specialist Edition

Jan 13 2017 - 4:22pm

Why should YOU be at Conference, School Librarians?

...Because the New Jersey Library Association LOVES YOU!

Really. We do! Have you seen the Unlock Student Potential campaign? NJLA is committed to advocating for highly effective school library programs, and in the wake of School Library Media Specialist positions being eliminated in our state, have formed a coalition to ensure that New Jersey students have the opportunity to reach their potential through effective school libraries. Attending the conference will be an important opportunity to make your voice heard!

Tech Tools & Research Methods

How do you feel about Tech Tools and new research methods? Because the NJLA conference has them. In 2016, one School Librarian was particularly excited to learn, from a Rutgers student, about how her students can use research videos in addition to research papers for science classes. Whether you’re looking to step up your students’ research game or grow your school’s makerspace, new ideas abound at conference.

Fun & Fandom

Oh the Authors! The Keynotes! Your kidlit and YA fandom dreams come true at conference: in the recent past we’ve hosted authors and illustrators like Peter Brown, Tedd Arnold, Rita Williams Garcia, Wendy Mass, and Jersey Girl Librarian-Turned-Author Sandy Hall! No, we weren’t crying during Sandy’s speech at the 2015 Garden State Book Awards Luncheon… you were!

And don’t forget about the fabulous NJLA Store. If you were wondering if you *need* those library themed socks...the answer is YES.

We can’t wait to see you!

Cassie Runkel and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee

Why should YOU be at Conference? MLIS Student Edition

Jan 10 2017 - 11:46am

Students often hesitate when it comes to registering for the annual NJLA Conference. They wonder if it's worth it, if they'll meet anyone, if it's meant for them. But the best part about conference is that it's meant for everyone! And there are plenty of obvious reasons why students would benefit, but the best reason to go for students is that it’s cheap.

No, really.

Once you graduate, the NJLA fees go up and conference attendance prices go up. Some of us are lucky and our library will pay for a day or two, and hotel rooms. But if you don’t have that as a student, there’s no need to worry! The program gets scheduled far ahead of time, so you can choose a day that will have the most impact, even though two days is only $65, which isn’t bad when one day as a full member is $105 (based on last year’s prices).

(Because we’ve all been there)

However, don’t just take my word for it. I asked Kristen Matteucci, another student from Rutgers SC&I, about her experiences at conference.

Stacey: So I know I met you at the NJLA conference last year, and it was your first time going. What do you think are the important reasons to go as a student?

Kristen: Not only did I have the chance to learn about what's going on in libraries across the state,  but I also got to know fellow library students and made some great contacts.

S: The conference is a great place to network, especially as a new student. Did you have any favorite panels?

K: I met current NJLA interns and attended a great public policy panel about current library legislation and advocacy. Those experiences prompted me to apply for the NJLA Committee internship Program, and  now I'm an intern for the Public Policy committee, where I'm learning a lot and meeting great librarians and leaders.

S: Anything else about conference for people who are hesitating?

K: Yeah, I mean it was my first semester in the program, and I think going was really helpful for me as a newbie to meet new people and try new things.

And that’s it. Like Hamilton says: 

Go to conference.


Stacey Shapiro and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee

Why should YOU be at Conference? NJLA Success Stories

Jan 8 2017 - 1:27pm

When conference registration rolls around (registration opens February 1 for #NJLA17!) we always hope that our colleagues run into their director's office asking about when they can attend conference. We know this is not always the case for two reasons: many librarians do not see the value for themselves, and many directors struggle with budgeting and scheduling to allow employees to go. With that in mind, we on the Conference Subcommittee thought we would share two NJLA Conference success stories to help demonstrate the value of conference from professional and personal perspectives. We like to call these "Success Stories," or the elevator speech for convincing managers, so follow along below for information on what others have gained, and what's there to gain for yourself and your library! 


Success story 1: 

Julie Brown, Adult Programming Librarian at the Ocean City Free Public Library, Conference 1st-timer last year.  Julie told us that the various panels she attended last year really helped her, especially the photography panel from which applies the suggestions and techniques she learned daily while managing social media and documenting programs.  She also mentioned that Jay Asher--one of last year's keynote speakers--was amazing and found his talk really engaging.  As a new Librarian in New Jersey, Julie felt conference provided her with a great networking opportunity.  As a result of the connections she made at Conference, she has maintained contact with other programming librarians statewide, with whom she has exchanged ideas, resources, and information about professional development.  Julie is excited to attend again this year and, even though she lives close by, might stay overnight.  That is so, in her own words, she doesn't "miss anything."


Success story 2

Leslie Murtha, Librarian at The William Spangler Library, Atlantic Cape Community College, Conference-goer for 23 years who has "missed very few" in that time.  

Leslie told us that Conference is the highlight of her year, professionally.  One reason for this is because it's difficult for her, and many other librarians she imagines, to get to National Conferences.  Not that she's sacrificing quality, since the NJLA Conference gives her "opportunities for catching up on professional developments, learning new skills, and getting new ideas."  Like Julie, Leslie values the Conference's networking opportunities, which lets her see friends from other parts of the state, reconnect with seldom-seen colleagues, and make new connections across professional lines.  For this long-time Conference attendee, Conference is nothing less than "a place where we can share tools and research, honor our sages and innovators, and lift our voices together about common concerns."  Leslie notes that she always comes away from Conference with "new ideas, new understandings, and a sense of renewal."  

And while we here at the Conference Committee did not bribe these librarians to say these things, we could not agree more. And this is just a sampling of some of the wonderful things your colleagues have to say about their conference experiences.

So if you need some help convincing your management that you should get the opportunity to attend conference this year, or if you need some reminders for yourself about the importance of attending conference as a library professional in New Jersey, we hope you'll take some advice from your colleagues above and join Julie and Leslie at the 2017 NJLA Conference. Make your own success story that you can share with us in the years to come


Michael Stirm and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee


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