Member Update on The Future of LibraryLinkNJ

 

December 6, 2018

Dear Friends,

We’d like to share some updates regarding what LibraryLinkNJ’s Staff, Executive Board, and related Task Forces have been working on regarding the future of the Cooperative. For your convenience, we’ve broken down the current information chronologically.

Please contact me with any follow-up questions you may have. I can be reached by email (kathy@librarylinknj.org) or phone (732.752.7720).

Sincerely,
Kathy Schalk-Greene
Executive Director, LibraryLinkNJ

 

 

Board Retreat: Leave No Stone Unturned
On July 19, 2018 the LibraryLinkNJ Executive Board held its annual retreat. After carefully reviewing LibraryLinkNJ’s financial situation, they decided to pursue a variety of actions to leave no stone unturned in exploring ways to continue the sustainability of LibraryLinkNJ as a viable and vibrant nonprofit organization. Many of the following activity reports originated from ideas at that retreat.

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Updates from the Meeting on the Future of LibraryLinkNJ
On October 15, 2018 LibraryLinkNJ held a meeting with key stakeholders from the New Jersey library community to discuss the future of LibraryLinkNJ. We planned this meeting in collaboration with the New Jersey State Library, which funds LibraryLinkNJ and is responsible for the coordination, promotion, and funding of the New Jersey Library Network.

Participants had the opportunity to ask their own questions, get up-to-date answers, and contribute to the process concerning the following key issues:

  • Where will LibraryLinkNJ secure funds to stay open beyond this fiscal year?
  • What will be the future of library delivery if LibraryLinkNJ dissolves in June 2019?
  • Regardless of the future of LibraryLinkNJ, how can I advocate for priority services for my library and the library community?

We invite you to review the following meeting materials:

All materials are also available on the website on this meeting’s event page.

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Delivery Library Cost Shares for 2019
In July 2018, The Executive Board approved a plan to share the cost of delivery with individual libraries receiving service for the period of January-June 2019. We are charging participating member libraries on sliding scale of 17% - 27% based on the total number of deliveries per week a given library receives. We are not charging libraries that don’t participate in the delivery service.

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Advocacy Updates
On October 31, LibraryLinkNJ Executive Director Kathy Schalk-Greene, with Executive Board President Ranjna Das, State Librarian Mary Chute, and NJLA Executive Director Pat Tumulty met with Justin Braz, Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs and Cary Booker, Senior Policy Advisor in Governor Murphy’s office.

This team met with Mr. Braz and Mr. Booker to discuss the value of the New Jersey Library Network, funded through the State budget, and the work of LibraryLinkNJ. They also responded to questions regarding our approaches to other potential funders, our current strategic plan, and the plan to lay off staff and dissolve LibraryLinkNJ at the end of June 2019, in the event that we are not able to secure sustainable funding for FY19 and beyond.

Mr. Braz and Mr. Booker remarked that we’re wise to start the FY20 budget conversation with legislators early, and praised NJ libraries as aligning neatly with the Governor's interest in shared services, innovation, and education.

We continue to welcome your LibraryLinkNJ stories via our advocacy form. Has LibraryLinkNJ played a role in shaping your career? Have we helped move your library’s services forward? We’re using these stories in our advocacy work, so please do keep them coming.

In addition, thanks to the advocacy of NJLA Executive Director Pat Tumulty and President Leah Wagner, Assemblyman Sgt. Robert Andrzejczak (District 1) will introduce legislation for additional $750,000 funding for FY19 for the New Jersey Library Network in December. Substantial education and advocacy efforts will be needed to convince legislators in both chambers to support and pass this bill.

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Virtual Town Halls
To keep member libraries up to date on both the current state and potential future of LibraryLinkNJ’s budget and services, we are hosting virtual town hall meetings each month through early 2019.

Materials for the October 17 and November 7 meetings are now available on each event’s page on our website. Materials include:

  • Recordings of the virtual town hall meetings, held in Adobe Connect
  • Presentation slides from each meeting
  • A copy of questions submitted by participants

Registration is currently open for the December 11 meeting.

We encourage you to share these materials widely with colleagues at your home library, and to contact Kathy Schalk-Greene with follow-up questions as needed. You can reach Kathy at 732.752.7720 or kathy@librarylinknj.org. You can also revisit materials from previous months’ meetings at the Support section of our website.

Dates for all future meetings are listed below. All meetings will run from 11 am to 12 noon. We will notify you via email blast that registration is open at least one week in advance of each meeting.

Future meeting dates:

  • Tuesday, December 11 -- registration is open for this event
  • Friday, January 11
  • Wednesday, February 20

Based on questions during our Virtual Town Halls, we have updated our FAQ. We will continue to update it regularly as new questions arise, and as we have more information to share.

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Transition Meetings with the State Library
LibraryLinkNJ set up a series of meetings with Mary Chute and State Library staff to manage the practical details of a possible transition of services. Our first meetings were November 14 and December 4. Future dates include: January 14, February 7, and March 6.

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LibraryLinkNJ Potential Closing and Layoff Schedule
The LibraryLinkNJ Executive Board will consider whether to close the Cooperative at their Board meeting on January 17, 2019. If the Board decides to close the Cooperative, Carol Fishwick, Sophie Brookover and Mi-Sun Lyu will be laid off effective March 31. Joanne Roukens and Samantha Adoptante will be laid off effective June 30. Kathy Schalk-Greene and Nanette Cox will be laid off when we have completed the final business details of LibraryLinkNJ’s closure.
 

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Key Ideas from Small Group Discussions
Invitational Statewide Meeting about the Future of LibraryLinkNJ
FY19 & Beyond: The Future of LibraryLinkNJ Services
Monday, October 15, 2018 - Princeton Public Library

How do we get to the Future: Next Steps -- If LibraryLinkNJ dissolves...

Q1: What services would other statewide library organizations need to provide starting on July 1, 2019, and who might take responsibility for and provide those services?

  • [All groups identified delivery as a key service to be taken on by the State Library.]
  • Of particular concern are the innovation projects and who would be able to coordinate and offer them
  • All the professional development, networking, super series, mentoring consultations -- LLNJ really is best positioned to have a neutral position. Only way State Library can do this is if had the necessary resources, possibly with a new staff member.
  • The question ignores the bigger need to analyze how shared services across NJ are administered and how the State Library budget is constructed
  • Ability to facilitate multi-type cooperation & sharing - unique LLNJ role now

Q2: How and to whom will you -- colleagues, libraries, and library organizations -- advocate for the continuation of statewide library services? 

  • There needs to be a reckoning as to the difference between short-term “gap” funding, and long-term strategic funding. Keeping LLNJ afloat for one more year is essentially useless without a more long-ranging plan. This lack of long-term financial planning is arguably what put everyone in the position in which we currently find ourselves.

Q3: If other organizations need to provide LibraryLinkNJ services starting in July 2019, what steps need to be taken to transfer the responsibilities and authority to administer those services?

  • Create a transition team including current LLNJ staff members
  • Question - transferring the knowledge for various services - CE, Delivery, Innovation Projects
  • During the transition process it will be important to pair individual staff members at LLNJ with staff members from NJSL to transfer their knowledge of what’s been done by LLNJ and their experience regarding the best way to do them, as well as pertinent records and documents as appropriate.
  • Professional organizations that are overlapping and what CE they already provide and find a way to streamline those services so that possibly there is one place for all the training opportunities?
  • LLNJ staff should act as consultants to NJ State Library staff for a certain time period until their positions are completely dissolved.
  • Establish baseline of what constitutes equitable distribution -- this must precede other changes
  • The NJSL must provide a transition plan that employs both vision and leadership.
  • Surveys are great in order to inform the creation or evolution of a vision, but ultimately the NJSL must decisively take action and make potentially unpopular decisions.
  • Charge a group (existing or otherwise) comprised of diverse multi-type entities to list and prioritize services and associated costs & chart a course to transition these to the appropriate organizations, and sunset those which are not deemed priorities. Perhaps a consultant is needed to maximize objectivity.
  • State Library has to take a leadership role

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LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative
44 Stelton Road, Suite 330, Piscataway NJ 08854
Phone: 732-752-7720 | Fax: 732-752-7785

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LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative, and its services are funded by the New Jersey State Library,
which is responsible for the coordination, promotion, and funding of the New Jersey Library Network.