Conference Updates

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

How to Win in Atlantic City Without Breaking Your Bank

Apr 24 2016 - 2:06pm

You’re in Atlantic City and you don’t gamble?

You can still come away a big winner in the Exhibit Hall! 


Vendor raffles this year include:

$250.00 donation to the winner’s home library for the purchase of books or library supplies from RWDSU/UFCW Local 108. One each day or the exhibits.

A FitBit  from Patcraft.

A copy of his book Born Dead from Dewane Parker. One each day of the exhibits.

Plus: You can play “Find the Dice” in the exhibit hall to win a conference survival gift bag. Just find the picture of the dice and bring it to the Exhibitor’s booth to claim your prize!

There are plenty of ways to win this year at NJLA without hitting the slots, so check out the Exhibitors Booths so you don't miss out!

Why should SCHOOL LIBRARIANS attend the 2016 NJLA Conference?

Apr 23 2016 - 8:33pm

As a former public library employee, attending the Annual NJLA Conference was one of the highlights of my year. The conference is the perfect forum to engage with librarians across the state.  Exchanging ideas with our peers inspires the work we do in our local school or public library.

With programs and panel discussions that involve librarians, directors and community advocates, I always leave the conference refreshed with new professional goals and an updated vision for my own library. The biggest takeaway for me after many years of attending NJLA’s annual conference: all librarians can encourage and empower each other - across every venue.

After recently transitioning from Public to School Librarian,  I see now more than ever how valuable the NJLA network and its services are,  giving me the confidence and support to take on this ever-changing role.

So why should every School Library Media Specialist attend the Annual NJLA Conference?

Here are my top three reasons.


You need to stay on top of your game.

An effective library is always changing. Utilizing the services of agencies like NJLA, ensures that your school library stays relevant and evolves to reflect the shifts in literature, education and technology.  The Annual NJLA Conference tackles industry topics and trends that will keep you “in the know.” Some of the conference programs I’m looking  forward to attending this year include:  

Several conference sessions also address the changes in technology that librarians need to address in order to keep up with their students.  We owe it to our students to expose them to the latest and best in books and services, and the NJLA brings them directly to us.


It’s a great place to meet the “neighbors.”  

A healthy school library can’t exist in a vacuum.  Every library is a reflection of the community it serves.  At the Annual NJLA Conference, I have an opportunity to meet up with county librarians that support my school district.  They have proven to be invaluable resources to me as a fairly new school librarian.  Our county librarians have been able to speak with our students about the local library, attend Back to School Night and donate spare books. I am in regular contact with our county librarians to discuss services that might benefit our student body.  Parents especially seem to appreciate this additional support.  This invaluable connection can be created and nurtured by attending  the Annual NJLA Conference.


We’re all in this together.

As librarians, we strive to blur the line between the school, public and university libraries.  Our goal as School Library Media Specialists is to inspire children and young adults to explore the vast array of offerings available to them in their local library, long after graduation. As my current Rutgers Professor Deborah Sparnon states, ““SLMS and Public Librarians are all working towards the same goals of having students become individual and independent users of the library.”  Attending the Annual NJLA Conference allows attendees to become familiar with the services provided by libraries in other sectors, and promote these within our own school. Children that see libraries as invaluable community resources will continue to utilize them throughout their entire lives.

About Tricina L. Beebe: Tricina Beebe is currently a District School Library Media Specialist for K-8th Grade in Burlington County. She worked for Camden County Library Systems for nine years and currently attends Rutgers University Graduate School for Continued Studies in Education. She was NJLA’s 2013 Karma Scholarship Recipient and a past member of NJLA’s Honors and Awards Committee. You can follow her school on Twitter @BBbiblioTECH and Instagram HPSD_Library

Librarians for a Cause

Apr 21 2016 - 11:47am

The Urban Libraries section is teaming up with Diversity & Outreach and Small Libraries to host a clothing drive for Covenant House Youth at Risk. Covenant House is a refuge for homeless, runaway, and traficked youth to find shelter, food, crisis care, and other important services. We can do our part by donating items listed below in brand new condition:

  • 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

Drop-off will take place beginning Tuesday morning at the Urban Libraries/Diversity & Outreach/Small Libraries Section Table and will be available throughout the rest of conference hours. Please donate to this very worth cause!

An Update from the 2016 Conference Committee

Apr 19 2016 - 11:57am

The NJLA Annual Conference is just four weeks away, and we have some updates to share!

First, a schedule change: We are very excited to be welcoming both Jay Asher and Cory Doctorow to Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah's Resort as our keynote speakers at this Conference. Please note that the Tuesday schedule will now host keynote Jay Asher, and the Wednesday schedule will host Cory Doctorow. This is a change from the original schedule. If you have any questions or concerns about how this impacts your Conference experience, please don't hesitate to reach out to
Early Bird registration rates have been extended! If you registered this past weekend, you may have noticed that you were offered the Early Bird rate; you can now still register through this Friday, April 22 at lower rates! Don't hesitate and register today!
We're also excited to announce that Stanley Newman will be a highlight of Monday night's Librarian Mixer and Trivia Night following the President's Program! We hope you can all join us for a great evening of fun, networking, and friendly competition. No separate registration is required for this event.
Don't wait to book your hotel room at Harrah's! NJLA's block of rooms will be held until this Sunday, April 24 at the rate of $124. Booking under the block "Library Association" entitles you to FREE parking (valet or self), a reduced resort fee, free wi-fi, and a room in the newest, nicest tower of rooms. There are plenty of rooms left! If you have any trouble getting a room for multiple nights in our block, please reach out to the Conference Committee or the NJLA Office as soon as possible.
Kate, Laura, and Kimberly, Co-Chairs of the 2016 Conference Committee

Is there such a thing as a perfect marriage?

Apr 18 2016 - 10:24am

Peter Pearson of Library Strategies is a library champion. Serving as the President of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library for over 25 years, he is no stranger to fundraising and advocacy, some of the biggest challenges facing libraries today. If hearing how awesome this session is going to be from us is not enough, now you get to hear it from the man himself:

Don’t think about the couple who never fights (they do).  And, don’t think about the husband and wife who share chores, have perfect kids and are never in debt (all fiction). Instead think about what a perfect marriage in the library world would look like.

In today’s world, libraries are working harder to meet their community’s needs, closing branches, shortening hours and, generally, doing more with less resources.  Is there a way to turn this scenario into a positive picture?  I believe there is.

The libraries that are thriving in today’s challenging times are ones that have created “the perfect marriage”.  The marriage is a combination of engaging in fundraising for private support and conducting advocacy activities for ongoing public funding.  Doing only one of these is actually hampering the effort of the other.


Take fundraising…it’s a tough sell to go to individual donors, foundations and corporations if they view public funders (cities and counties) as not supporting the library adequately.  These private donors often see funding a library in this scenario as throwing money into a black hole.

Conversely…going to public funders with support from private sources leverages your request for more public dollars.  Political decision-makers see this as a statement that the library is a priority with individuals, businesses and foundations in the community and are more apt to pay attention to your library’s request.

The library’s perfect marriage is one of engaging all funding stakeholders in your library’s vision for the community.  Strategic, ongoing fundraising and advocacy will lead your library to a much rosier future.

Peter Pearson has been the President of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library  for 25 years and is a lead consultant with Library Strategies.  Pearson will be presenting a preconference workshop for the New Jersey Library Association at its annual conference in Atlantic City on Monday, May 16 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Check Out These Program Sessions!

Apr 14 2016 - 4:13pm

Public Policy is killing it this year with their conference PR! Who wouldn't want to attend these great programs:



If your section or committee is doing great PR like Public Policy, please forward that information to the Conference Committee and we'll share it on our blog and social media! And don't forget, Early Bird registration ends TOMORROW! So do not delay!


Subscribe to Conference Updates