#NJLA17 Programming Spotlight: Urban Libraries Section

We Are All Urban Now

In 21st century America, we know that the poor and the homeless are always with us.  Whether through a housing crisis, mental illness, addiction or job loss, the homeless are always with us.  They use our bathrooms.  They attend our programs and consume our food offerings.  They use our computers and our wi-fi.

Once upon a time, these individuals may have been defined as an ‘urban’ issue, but we know that that is no longer true.  New Jersey, which is one of the most urbanized states in the country, has homeless populations in every niche and corner of the state.  Urban libraries may have been the first to be affected by this issue, but it is an issue that is certainly no longer unique to urban settings.

When it comes to many of the social issues of our time, urban libraries are in the forefront.  Budget woes?   Aging infrastructures?  Internet connectivity?  Transportation concerns?  We were there first, and we know the terrain well.

Our issues are your issues.  Join the Urban Libraries Section of NJLA to address these issues and many more.  Because, wherever you are, whatever library you currently work in, these issues are coming to you, if they’re not with you already.

MaryFaith Chmiel, President, Urban Libraries Section

The Urban Libraries Section, in partnership with the Diversity & Outreach Section, will be sponsoring a Dress for Success Donation Drive during the NJLA conference. They will be accepting donations of gently used professional clothing: suits, dresses, ties, shoes to help the young people mentored by Covenant House Atlantic City. Do you have some work-appropriate outfits that no longer fit? Dry clean and donate! There will be a table in the pre-function area collecting your donations from 9am on Tuesday to 5pm on Wednesday. Let’s give back to the community and help these young people find success in the business world!


Urban Libraries is co-sponsoring two fantastic pre-conferences this year:

Libraries without Limits: Serving Developmentally Challenged Patrons of All Ages and Library Workers Today: Strong Staff Equals Strong Service. Both will take place on Monday, 4/24, from 1-4:30pm.

And, they are co-sponsoring six not-to-be-missed programs!

On Tuesday, April 25:

WiFi Hotspot Lending: Building Digitally Inclusive Communities (11:30am-12:20pm; Wildwood 20&21)

Since the 1990s, libraries have provided free in-house internet connections and computer access to their communities. After closing time, many of their patrons that lack internet access at home remain in the vicinity of the library trying to access their public WiFi connections. Come hear how organizations such as Jersey On and Mobile Beacon are making it increasingly easier for libraries to build digitally inclusive communities through WiFi hotspot lending.


Know Your Community: Using Demographic Data to Better Serve Your Communities (11:30am-12:20pm; Wildwood 12&13)

Correlating with national trends, NJ communities are continuing to see increased diversification linguistically, ethnically and culturally. In this workshop, attendees will learn how to find local demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, including new immigrant populations, 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.



Home Delivery in the Digital Age (4:10-5:00pm; Wildwood 12&13)

How do you make materials accessible to those community members who are unable to get to the library? Sure, there are digital resources, but come and find out the methods different libraries use to delivery materials, including how to get started, issues to consider and best practices.


On Wednesday, April 26:

Helping the Dream: Supporting Undocumented Students and Patrons (9:00-9:50am; Wildwood 14&15)

This session 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.


Fade to Books: Barbershop Literacy Initiative (11:30am-12:20pm; Wildwood 14&15)

Discussing the cultural importance of barbershops within the Black and Latino communities, along with the creation and implementation of the Barbershop Literacy Initiative, which the NJ State Library has expressed interest in taking statewide.


Librarians as Property Managers: A Crash Course {Because Stuff Happens} (3:40-4:30pm; Wildwood 25&26)

This program will focus on how to get to know your building and keep it maintained, as well as understanding the infrastructure that makes your building work so you can communicate with outside maintenance and repair contractors as well as your public works department.


Don’t miss out - register for NJLA today! Early bird registration ends on March 25th!


Kimberly Paone and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee