The NJLA Conference: Where Heroes are Born



“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.”

-Andrew Carnegie




Our world needs heroes.  The Avengers, Justice League, Guardians of the Galaxy… These characters inspire us.  What if I told you that Librarians have the potential to be the real heroes of today?  Heroes in our state, our library systems, our communities. 

As we have been looking at this year's program line-up, we have been thinking more about how what we do on a daily basis can change lives, and at this year’s Conference, you’ll get the chance to meet and hear from people who believe this is a possibility. They are the heroes of their own realms, who have come to show us our potential.  No need to look for the bat signal; Harrah’s Conference Center will be the home of heroism this April 24-26.  For those interested in learning more about specific ways that Librarians can be heroes in their communities, the following is a list of suggested programs to attend at Conference.  Please note that some of them overlap, so you might need to get a sidekick colleague to attend one for you..




“There is No Box: Innovation and Your Whys, What Ifs and Why Nots?”

Presented by Joyce Kasma Valenza, Rutgers University

“Beyond 3D Printing: Outreach and Makerspaces”

Presented by Lori Friedman, Goodwill of NJ/NY; Martha Cannon, Haddon Township Branch, Camden County Library System; Jennifer Schureman, Gloucester County Library System; Lisa O’Shaughnessy, East Orange Public Library

“Mental Health Matters”

Presented by Elaina Vitale, CE Coordinator, NN/LM MAR; Michele Stricker, NJ State Library; Karen T. Parry, East Brunswick Public Library


“Knowing Your Community: Using Demographic Data to Better Serve Your Communities”

Presented by Jaimie L. Anno, Manager of Organizational Assessment, Queens Library

“WiFi Hotspot Lending: Building Digitally Inclusive Communities”

Presented by John Daquino, Montclair Public Library; Kurt Peluso, JerseyOn; Katherine Messier, Executive Director of Mobile Beacon


“Turning Failing Programming into Winning Programming: How to Make Stats Go from 0 to 40!”

Presented by Mary Chute, New Jersey State Library; Howard Miller, New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development; Judith Loane, New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development; Lisa Kelly, Long Branch Free Public Library; Andrea Levandowski, New Jersey State Library


“Successful Business Outreach”

Presented by Cathy DeBerry, Warren Township Branch, Somerset County Library System; Carolann DeMatos, Somerset County Library System; Cynthia M. Lambert, Mary Jacobs Branch, Somerset County Library System; Andrea Levandowski, NJ State Library

“Home Delivery in the Digital Age”

Presented by Mary Kearns-Kaplan, NJ State Library Talking Book & Braille Center; Gwen Lareau, Ocean County Library System; Mitch Greenburg, Morris County Library System; Selwa Shamy, Somerset County Library System; Faten Masri, Edgewater Public Library



“Helping the Dream: Supporting Undocumented Students and Patrons”

Presented by Giancarlo Tello, undocuJersey; Jeff Cupo, Montville Public Library; Maddy Santore, Paterson Public Library


“Fade to Books: Barbershop Literacy Initiative”

Presented by Tonya Garcia, Director, Long Branch Free Public Library; Schidell Born Riley, Long Branch Barber; Alex Aviles, Long Branch Barber; David Perez, Social Work Intern/Project Coordinator, Long Branch Free Public Library; Abby Daly, Bridge of Books Foundation

“Making a Splash: How to Implement Libraries=Education”

Presented by Valerie Gross


“Groundbreakers and Trailblazers: Directors, Presidents, and Library Luminaries”

Presented by Heidi Cramer NJLA Librarian of the Year 2015 & NJLA President 2008-2009; Tonya Garcia, NJLA Librarian of the Year 2016; Irene Goldberg, NJLA Librarian of the Year 2011, NJLA President 1989-1990; Kathy Schalk-Greene, NJLA Librarian of the Year 2005

“Unlock Student Potential: Supporting NJ School Library Programs”

Presented by Patricia Tumulty, Executive Director, NJLA; James Keehbler, Piscataway Public Library and Chair, NJLA Task Force on School Libraries; Mo Donohue, Piscataway Public Library; Cara Berg, William Paterson University


“Library Lending Mash-up, or the How, Where, and Why of Non-Traditional Circulating Collections”

Presented by Jennifer Breuer, Glen Ridge Public Library; Lindita Cani, South Orange Public Library; Tierney Miller, Cherry Hill Public Library; T.J. Lamanna, Cherry Hill Public Library; Nathaniel Eddy, Free Library of Philadelphia 


We hope you'll join us in celebrating these library heroes and learning how you yourself can join the charge.

Michael Stirm and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee