Conference Updates

Your #njla16 Packing List

May 15 2016 - 3:57pm

Hi all! Hope you're as excited about the next three days as we are on the #njla16 conference committee! We thought you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, or maybe just overexcited about all of the awesome things that we have planned, so here's some helpful packing tips and reminders we thought we'd share:

  • Don't forget your smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices (and all associated chargers) because the official NJLA Conference App is here for help with all things conference!

  • If you plan on taking a dip during our Pool Party on Tuesday night after the Awards dinner, don't forget your bahting suit! 8:00-9:30pm at The Pool @ Harrah's.
  • If you pre-purchased copies of our speaking authors' books, make sure you bring them or one of our many signings!
  • Bring money for the slots, or if you like a safer bet, bring money for the NJLA Store where all things libraries and books can be found!
  • Bring cameras and your social media game, because we'll be following everyone's tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram posts each day through our various NJLA accounts and collecting them all for a Storify page of each day so you can relive all of the highlights of conference.

And remember, if you have any questions throughout conference, stop someone with an "ASK US!" pin, or swing by the registration desk where other conference committee members and volunteers can be reached at any time. 

See you at Harrah's!

Emily Witkowski and the 2016 Conference Committee

An Opportunity to Show Off Your (Brain)Muscles

May 13 2016 - 2:25pm

Get ready to put on your thinking caps!

President's Program speaker Stanley Newman has challenged New Jersey’s library community to compete with each other during an evening of Trivia!

Mr. Newman is the editor of the Newsday Daily Crossword, and has devised an hour long trivia challenge of general knowledge and “Deductive Trivia” questions.

Start putting your team of four together today! Teams will also be assembled at the event. Winning teams will be rewarded with prizes!

This event will take place on Monday, May 16th at 8 pm, at Sammy D’s; within the Harrah’s Resort.


If you’ve put off registering for Conference, you can still register on site at Harrah's, so do not hesitate to join the fun!

More Great PR For Conference

May 12 2016 - 3:35pm

We are getting closer and closer to the start of our fabulous annual conference! As we get closer we've seen some more great promotional materials from sections and committees for the different programs that they are sponsoring during #njla16. Check out some of their great work!




Keep the great promotion coming, and we'll see you in FOUR DAYS!

Opportunities to "Tech it Up" at #NJLA16

May 11 2016 - 12:30pm
This years conference has a wide variety of opportunities to engage with and learn about both emerging and current technologies as it applies to libraries. I just wanted to highlight a few examples to peak your interest.
First, I encourage you to visit our exhibits hall on Tuesday and Wednesday and talk with some of our newest STEM related vendors joining us this year including :
  • Nextfab - booth 721 - Nextfab is a makerspace located outside Philadelphia with a not only a truly inspiring facility (anyone looking to start a makerspace?) but offer classes and courses you may be able to bring to your library.
  • SparkleLabs - booth 422 - SparkleLabs is a family owned business from Montclair NJ that produced really fun and exciting STEM education kits which would go great with your maker or project sessions for kids K-12.
  • Lego Education - Booth 520 - Lego Education produces a variety of kits from WeDO to Lego Mindstorms, along with a significant content library of cirricular materials for incorporating their products in making, robotics, or other types of STEM sessions
Then, I hope you will consider attending some of the really unique tech related sessions planned this year covering topics from technology instruction, to social media, to privacy in the digital realm, to the Raspberry Pi. These programs are a great way to delve deeper into some really interested technology related topics and garner some great ideas and inspiration to bring back to your library. Here are some highlights:
"My Kids Bought Me an iPhone": Providing Tech Help to Patrons
Date/Time : Monday, May 16th / 11:10a-12p
Description : The purpose of libraries has historically been providing access to information patrons cannot get in their own homes. Today patrons come to the library looking for access to a computer, the internet, ebooks, and new technologies. With advanced technologies becoming more affordable, patrons should be able to look to the library to fill in the gaps about technology knowledge – how to use a device, how to access ebooks, how to make a webpage, how to code.
Note : This sessions is a virtual preconference session. All conference attendees will receive a link to attend.
10 Raspberry Pi Projects for Your Library
Date/Time: Tuesday, May 17th / 9-9:50a
Description:  The Raspberry Pi is a low cost computer that can be both useful and fun. Already popular in libraries throughout the country, this panel would focus on three types of projects that can be done with the Raspberry Pi in your library: Makerspace, utility, and “gee whiz” ideas that you might never have considered.
Room : Wildwood 12 & 13
Library Paparazzi: Next Level Tips for #LibrariesOfInstagram
Date/Time : Tuesday, May 17th / 3:10-4:30p
Description: Next-Level Tips for #LibrariesOfInstagram: Thousands of libraries are using Instagram. What's next for you in this space? Join in the practical fun with this hands-on session to learn how to use photos for community engagement and integrate Instagram into your library's overall PR & communications strategy. We'll share examples from libraries, museums and archives doing excellent work in this space & you'll leave with ideas you can implement immediately.
Room : Wildwood 8 & 9
Privacy in Libraries in the Electronic Age
Date/Time : May 17th / 4:10-5:00pm
Description: Digital footprints. Borrowing histories. Employer loyalty v. First Amendment rights. These privacy issues and more effect both patrons and staff everyday. Attorney Douglas Zucker will explore these issues and the policies and procedures you need to have in place to protect your public and your employees.
Room : Wildwood 10 & 11
In addition to some of these outstanding programs, we will be also featuring our ever-popular Brown Bag Lightning Tech Talks on Tuesday, May 17th from 12:30-2pm. This year's format will feature a longer form approach, where speakers will present on topics for 15 minutes. This means an even better opportunity to still get some quick tech bites, but with more meat on the bone! These are always a great way to spend a casual lunch and inspire some new ideas, service, or tool you may be able to use or share with others.
Finally, don't forget about the many social events including our Tuesday mixers and Pool party as great ways to network, talk tech, and find out something new while connecting with someone new! Who knows what you may learn, or even what someone may learn from you!
Hope to see you at conference, and for those who know me, I am ALWAYS ready to talk some tech :)
Doug Baldwin and the 2016 Conference Committee

Exhibits Update

May 10 2016 - 1:38pm

We posted earlier about some awesome give-aways that you can win by visiting the exhibitors, including money for your library from RWDSU/UFCW Local 108, a Fitbit from Patcraft, and a copy of Dewane Parker's book Born Dead. In addition, we recently found out that Innovative Document Imaging is raffling off a Lenova Window 10 laptop PC. And that's not all...

Exhibits are where you find all of the latest innovations in the library field, from equipment to design to current titles. Exhibits are where you can meet with old friends and make new ones. Not to mention the raffles, free give-aways, coffee, and ice cream that can all be found in the Exhibitors Hall.

We all use the excuse "We're not the ones who approve purchases at our library" as a way to think that exhibits are not for us, but think again! You never know when you may be in a position to make purchases. Even if you can’t buy you may see something you can recommend to staff who can buy. But the best reason of all to visit the hall is to thank a vendor. Our exhibitors provide a major source of support for our organization. Without the exhibits, we wouldn’t have a conference.

Besides the awesome giveaways and prizes that the exhibitors themselves will be raffling and handing out, NJLA wants you to find the dice! There are at least 24 pairs of dice available to be found each day that look like the ones below. Find the dice, bring it to the Exhibitors Information Booth, and claim your prize!

We're 5 days away from conference, and we hope you're as excited as we are to be All Together Now!


Librarians for a Cause

May 9 2016 - 2:44pm

NJLA’s Urban Libraries section has made a tradition of sponsoring a charitable drive for a local organization in need each year at the NJLA conference. 

This year they have happily partnered with with NJLA’s Diversity & Outreach and the Small Libraries sections, who have joined as sponsors of a Clothing Drive for teens in the care of Covenant House in Atlantic City.   Since 1989, Covenant House New Jersey has been providing food, shelter, immediate crisis care, and an array of other important services to homeless, runaway and trafficked youth between the ages of 18-21.  Their doors are open 24 hours a day for youth in need. 

Covenant House NJ provided us with a list of items their kids are currently in most need of.  We hope that you will consider supporting these kids by remembering this list on your next shopping trip:

  • Belts (black/leather--mens and womens, sizes S-XXXL)
  • Beach towels
  • Small duffle bags (not back packs but more like overnight bags)
  • Plain tee shirts (white, black, grey), Sizes S-XXXL
  • Umbrellas

These items will be collected at the section promotions tables throughout Tuesday and most of Wednesday, May 17th and 18th.  The tables for Urban Libraries, Diversity & Outreach and Small libraries will all be situated in the same general area. 

Covenant House New Jersey:  You can learn more about Covenant House New Jersey’s mission by visiting

Watch for this opportunity at the conference, and remind your friends and co-workers!  And thank you on behalf of the Urban Libraries, Diversity & Outreach, and Small Libraries sections, and of Covenant House NJ.

Need some suggestions on what to buy?

You can always shop locally, or, if you shop by Amazon, you can benefit the youth of Covenant House AND NJLA at the same time, by choosing NJLA as your charity in your Amazon account. Just follow this link to search for NJLA.

For starters, here are some nice basic cotton t’s for women and men: Black, Gray or White, size s-xxxl Black, Gray or White, size s-xxxl


Go in with a friend, and help with some fresh basic clothing items. 


Food, Glorious FOOD!

May 8 2016 - 3:58pm

Okay, foodies – be truthful: one of the best things about going to a conference is trying out new restaurants or new dishes, am I right? Harrah’s has a lot to offer food-wise, so get your palates ready!

First, if you’re attending a luncheon – I’m not going to give away every detail, but as an insider, I can tell you that I have been seeing menus that include “warm caprese chicken” and “mushroom duxelle” and “chocolate blackout cake.” Yum!

If you’re headed to a brown bag lunch, there are several options inside the hotel where you can pick something up. Just steps from the conference area is the Harrah’s Food Court which features Deli No. 4, The Pizza Joint, and Tipsy Cream. The deli serves breakfast sandwiches and bagels in the morning, lunch sandwiches and salads in the afternoon and beyond. The Pizza Joint opens at noon and has pizza by the slice or by the pie, calzones, strombolis, Italian hot dogs, and the like. Tipsy Cream features fresh made doughnuts, sweet treats and adult milkshakes. (!!!)  More quick bites can be had at Café Tazza in the hotel lobby, open 24 hours.

Looking for a great place to have a sit-down meal?  You have several great options to choose from.

The Waterfront Buffet boasts fresh ingredients, dining stations from around the world and CRAB LEGS EVERY DAY! Open from 4-8pm during our conference.

Sammy D’s Kitchen and Bar is open 7am-2pm and 5-10pm for casual dining at its finest. Salted caramel pancakes appear on the brunch menu and Philly Cheesesteak dumplings are served at lunch and dinner – so I know what I’ll be trying! (Their specialty cupcakes sound really tasty, too!)

Have lunch at The Pool! Take a break and stretch out in the sun – have some coconut shrimp, a refreshing salad, and/or a tropical cocktail! Serving from 11:30am-5pm.

If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll want to head to McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant. The menu features a “Fresh List” of over 30 seafood varieties. If you’re more of a landlubber, there are also aged steaks, salads, chicken, and pasta dishes as well.

Dos Caminos Restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but if you’re staying on Sunday night or Wednesday night (5:30-10pm), you can sample some of their authentic Mexican dishes.

For a more upscale experience, try Martorano’s for fine Italian cuisine (closed Monday, but open Tuesday night from 5:30-10:30pm), Oshi Sushi & Sake for an amazing sushi and sashimi experience (closed Monday and Tuesday, but open Wednesday night 5pm-1am), or The Steakhouse for… well… steak (open Monday night from 5-9:30, closed Tuesday and Wednesday).

Not terribly concerned about the food, but looking for the nearest Happy Hour?  No problem!

The Steakhouse: Check out the new 777 Happy Hour- available at the Bar only. Friday thru Tuesday from 5pm till 7pm. Featured Items: $7 craft beers, $7 signature cocktails, $7 Select Wines, $1 Clams on the half shell, $2 Oysters on the half shell (Take out is excluded. Tax not included.)

The Pool: Get Happy at The Pool twice in one day! Enjoy drink and food specials! Reverse Happy Hour 11:30am-1:30pm, Afternoon Happy Hour 3-6pm.

Eden Lounge: Happy Hour 4-7pm.

X-Bar: Stay Happy All Day with 6am-6pm Happy Hour Specials!

Dos Caminos: Happiest Hours with great specials! La Hora Buena - 5pm-7pm Sunday through Friday
$5 Margaritas & $4 Domestics, Complimentary Chips and Salsa.

No matter where you choose to dine or imbibe, remember that all of the above are right on the Harrah’s property only steps from the conference center – no need to leave the building! Happy eating!

Kimberly Paone and the 2016 Conference Committee

Authors and Librarians All Together Now

May 6 2016 - 10:21am

Authors and librarians are a match made in heaven, and at this year's NJLA Conference there is certainly no shortage of either! Above you'll find some of the faces you can expect to see in programs, keynotes, and roaming the halls of Harrah's this year. Besides getting to hear them speak (and maybe picking up a copy or two of their books beforehand or in the NJLA Store) many of these authors will be available for signings.

Stanley Newman, crossword puzzle extraordinaire, will be available for signings after the President's Program on Monday night as well as during the Librairan Mixer and Trivia Night at 8pm Monday night in Sammy D's Restaurant & Bar.

Tuesday Keynote Speaker Jay Asher will be signing imediately following his keynote from 10:10AM-11:00AM Tuesday morning outside the NJLA Store.

Wednesday Keynote Speaker Cory Doctorow will be signing immediately following his keynote from 10:10AM-11:00AM Wednesday morning outside the NJLA Store.

Rita Williams-Garcia will be signing immediately following her keynote during the Garden State Book Awards, which will be from 12:30PM-2:20PM Wednesday afternoon outisde the NJLA Store.

Tim Green will be signing in the room after his session, NJ Statewide Summer Reading Committee Presents Author Tim Green on Tuesday from 11:30AM-12:20PM in Wildwood 6 & 7.

J.A. White will be signing in the room after his session, "I Can't Sleep, Mommy! There's a Book Under My Bed." Darkness in Children's Literature on Tuesday from 3:10PM-4:00PM in Wildwood 12 & 13.

Maxine Lurie, Richard Carlin, and Richard Rockwell will be signing in the room after their session New Jersey Authors Speak on Wednesday from 11:30AM-12:20PM in Wildwood 10 & 11. There will be limited quantities of their books available in the NJLA store.

Christian Sahner and Jonathan Rose will be available at the Awards Reception for those who may be interested in having their copies signed. There will be limited quantities of their books available in the NJLA store.

Have your sharpies and title pages ready!

Emily Witkowski and the 2016 Conference Committee

Book Lovers Unite in the NJLA Store

May 4 2016 - 7:52pm

Most people who have attended the NJLA Conference before can agree that one of their favorite parts of the entire event is roaming the NJLA Store. We're all book lovers, and we all cannot get enough of book-related merchandise. From book-themed puzzles, iPhone cases, socks, shirts, mugs, magnets, to actual books, they have it all. The book store will also have limited quantities of the books written by the authors speaking at conference. This is a great place to stock up on gifts for friends, family, and for yourself while simultaneously supporting NJLA. If you're around Monday afternoon for the preconference, check out the book store preview from 4:30-6:30 PM. After that, the book store will be open full time Tuesday and Wednesday. Make sure you carve out some time to visit once during your time at conference!... Or twice.... or four or five times.


Emily Witkowski and the 2016 Conference Committee

Networking at the NJLA Conference: Opportunities to come All Together Now!

May 3 2016 - 8:55pm

Conference is only 2 weeks away! If for some reason, you haven’t yet registered, you can still do so – even on-site at Harrah’s.

If you need YET ANOTHER reason why your time will be very well spent at conference, there are a wide variety of networking opportunities that I’d like to bring to your attention. (And don’t forget about the networking that happens organically in the hallway or after a session – those connections are incredibly valuable, too!)

On Monday night, Member Services is sponsoring a Librarian Mixer & Trivia Night at Sammy D’s Restaurant & Bar starting at 8pm. Special guest, Stanley Newman (NYT crossword expert and President’s Program keynoter) will be on hand and it will be a fun way to connect with colleagues, impress future employers with your awesome trivia skills, and enjoy the first night of conference!

If you are looking for a job and a more formal way to connect, MentorNJ (with support from CUS, Member Services, Leadership & Education and Professional Development) will be holding two sessions of Resume Review and Mock Interviews on Tuesday: 11am-12pm and 2-4pm in Wildwood 3. Meet with experienced library professionals for valuable practice and feedback!

If you feel more comfortable chatting with new people over a meal, then there are many opportunities to do so! On Tuesday, from 12:30-2:20pm, the President’s Inaugural Luncheon will be held in Wildwood 30, and there are three brown bag lunches to choose from: Lightning Tech Talks (ET) in Wildwood 8 & 9, Under the Radar Reads (Readers’ Advisory Roundtable and Reference) in Wildwood 10 & 11, and Small is Beautiful 2.0 (Small Libraries) in Wildwood 12 & 13.

Those with a sweet tooth will want to take some time out to gather in the exhibit hall (Wildwood 27 & 28) on Tuesday from 2:30-3pm for ICE CREAM!

Tuesday night is full of opportunities for networking. The Eden Lounge will feature the Small Libraries Happy Hour, the New Librarian & Student Mixer, and Meet the Mentors from 5-6pm. These social activities are great every year and attract quite a crowd.

Then, after you’ve attended the Honors & Awards Reception in Wildwood 30 from 6-8pm, it’s time for a POOL PARTY from 8-9:30pm. The Pool @ Harrah’s is gorgeous – with a glass ceiling and warm temperatures. This event will feature a cash bar and you can even take a dip if you’d like! The Conference Committee, Member Services Committee, and MentorNJ will make sure a great time is had by all!

Wednesday hosts still more networking opportunities! The State Librarian’s Breakfast is from 8-9am in Wildwood 3. The State Library will present its annual awards, and State Librarian, Mary Chute, will be joined by special guest Dr. George A. Pruitt, President of Thomas Edison State University.

Need a caffeine fix to get you through to lunch? Take a Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall from 11-11:30am on Wednesday. (Wildwood 16 & 17)

Wednesday luncheons are from 12:30-2:20pm, and there are two to choose from: the Garden State Book Awards Luncheon (CSS and YA), featuring author Rita Williams-Garcia, in Wildwood 30, and the College and University Luncheon (CUS), featuring Terry Reese, in Wildwood 3. There is also a brown bag lunch sponsored by the Small Libraries Section: Lessons Learned from a Store-Front Library in Wildwood 12 & 13 from 12:30-2:20pm, and the Publicity Liquid Lunch at Bill’s Bar and Burger from 12:30-2pm.

No matter when you are attending conference, don’t miss these many opportunities to sit with colleagues, share your stories, and learn about new and innovative ideas that you can bring back to your own library. If you are a new librarian or a library school student, it is even more important to get yourself out there at this, the largest annual gathering of library employers in the state.

See you in two weeks’ time!


Kimberly Paone and the 2016 Conference Committee


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