Q: What is the NJ State Library’s role in addressing LibraryLinkNJ’s budget shortfall?
A: We can only speak for LibraryLinkNJ. When the FY19 budget crisis first emerged, The NJ State Library immediately identified additional funding of $85,000 from LSTA funding and approximately $8,000 cost-sharing for programs that we co-sponsored with them. Our understanding is that the increased funding is limited to FY19, and would not carry over to FY20. Our budget shortfall remains at $370,000.
Q: If LibraryLinkNJ closes, what will become of Continuing Education services like Super Library Supervisor, the On-Site Staff Development Subsidies, and Project Management?
A: We don’t know. If we dissolve, the NJ State Library is responsible for continuing to provide statewide delivery, but no other library organization is obligated to provide the continuing education opportunities -- including Super Library Supervisor, Project Management, and Technology Speed Dating -- that have been one of the hallmark services of NJ’s library cooperatives for the last 30 years.
Q: Is the $370,000 budget gap funding that LibraryLinkNJ only needs for FY19, or are you considering it as a long-term budget increase?
A: Our ultimate goal is sustainable funding for the cooperative, so we would need increased funding on an annual basis to keep the organization going & sustainable.
Q: When will you know when sustainable funding is secured?
A: The LibraryLinkNJ Board has determined that we need to know if we’ll have sustainable funding by December or January 2019 so we can make plans for the first six months of 2019. If it looks like sustainable funding is not likely to come through -- and we acknowledge that’s a likely outcome -- please stay tuned. We will keep you updated as new developments emerge in future Town Halls. This is one of those questions where we need to be comfortable with the ambiguity of not knowing the answer yet.
Q: Now that you have met with Mr. Braz in Governor Murphy’s office, if the Governor's budget is released in March timeframe, when should we plan to follow up?
A: We have been advised to stay in touch with the Governor’s staff. We have three staff members we are working with in his office. We are going to keep in touch every three weeks or more frequently, particularly if there’s movement on Assemblyman Andrzejczak’s draft request for legislation regarding an additional $750,000 for the New Jersey Library Network line for FY19. We’ll keep following up as appropriate.
Q: What happens to delivery if LibraryLinkNJ dissolves?
A: Assuming dissolution by June 30, 2019: this will be known by January, 2019, so we would have roughly a six-month transition period. We have renewed our contract with our vendor, TForce Final Mile, through December 31, 2019. LibraryLinkNJ has the legal right to transfer the contract to another entity. This would likely be the New Jersey State Library, who would have to determine for themselves what their next steps would be.
Q: Would LibraryLinkNJ consider hiring a delivery & logistics expert to assist with strategizing ways to keep the of delivery from increasing further? Would someone in academia take a fresh view?
A: LibraryLinkNJ hired an independent library delivery consultant, Greg Pronevitz in 2016 in preparation for re-bidding the delivery contract. He determined that, of all states offering statewide interlibrary loan delivery, New Jersey was paying the lowest amount.
Q: You’ve let us know that the LLNJ Executive Board will vote either to continue or dissolve LibraryLinkNJ on February 7. Regardless of the decision made in February, why wouldn't you have the membership meeting earlier than June? Waiting until then leaves no time to do anything meaningful than the status quo, and gives us very little flexibility.
A: According to our bylaws, we need to provide at least two weeks’ advance notice of the date to give voting reps time to review materials for the membership meeting. In this case, we are providing over 5 months’ advance notice. The LLNJ Staff and subcommittees of the Executive Board and then the full Executive Board work on our budget, board slate, and service initiatives. For FY19, this process took three months for the budget alone. Our Executive Board is a representative body and we encourage you to contact Board members to share your questions and concerns. We also welcome your attendance at Board meetings.
Q: Has any thought been discussed about using the State Library facilities for your office? Any thought given to working from home?
A: We have been in discussions with the NJ State Library regarding using office space there. Our rent is kept quite low thanks to our current rental agreement and thanks to staff members who already telecommute regularly.
Q: If all the cost sharing bills are paid and the legislation gives additional funding, would there then be a surplus in the budget? Or are the cost-sharing contributions not going to cover the budget shortfall?
As of January 11, about one third of all cost-sharing bills have been paid or are partway through the payment process. We are checking in with libraries regarding payment, as we have no interest in ceasing delivery for any library unless we’ve communicated directly with them and understand their situation fully. The FY19 budget includes spending down all of our remaining reserve funds. Historically, the funding furnished by the State Library has never covered our entire budget; we have always drawn on our reserve funds to fill the gap. If funding comes through legislatively through A-4815, we would be able to protect and replenish some of our cash reserves.
Unfortunately, even if all cost-sharing bills are paid, without extra funding, we will still have to lay off staff in March and possibly in June.
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Q: Who are the intended recipients of the LibraryLinkNJ advocacy campaign?
A: We see that there are two groups of advocacy message recipients. Internally, these are the library community: our members and library organizations within the state. Externally, recipients include: state government & legislators, foundations & grant-making organizations.
Q: What can you tell us about the PR firm that LibraryLinkNJ recently hired? What is their name, what is the cost, and where did the funding come from?
A: The PR firm we are working with is Kivvit. At the request of LibraryLinkNJ’s Executive Board, Executive Director Kathy Schalk-Greene budgeted $20,000 in FY19 for this purpose. The Board recognized the need for an outside firm to advise us on how to best approach the communications challenges we face this year. Seeking advice and guidance from PR professionals is akin to working with accountants and attorneys, which we also budget for annually. LibraryLinkNJ’s membership voted to approve our budget at our Spring Membership Meeting in June.
Q: Do you have statistics available regarding the number of libraries that use services other than delivery?
A: During our 2016-2017 service year, 3,387 colleagues statewide participated in LibraryLinkNJ continuing education opportunities face-to-face and online.
Our portfolio of events designed to help library staff at every level move their careers forward includes:
- Webinars on the latest trends in librarianship
- Self-paced training via Lynda.com
- Super Library Supervisor
- Project Management
- Facilitation Skills
- Library Programmers’ Jamboree
LibraryLinkNJ also funds On-Site/On-Demand training subsidies to help member libraries host their own half-day and full-day workshops, and supports continuing education efforts with funding for professional library organizations, including:
- New Jersey Library Association
- VALE: Virtual Academic Library Environment
- New Jersey Association of School Librarians
- HSLANJ: Health Science Library Association of New Jersey
- Special Libraries Association: New Jersey Chapter
- Special Libraries Association: Princeton-Trenton
- New Jersey Association of Library Assistants
- Documents Association of New Jersey
LibraryLinkNJ has always been a leader in the area of innovation in libraries of all types, often co-funding competitive contract award programs with the New Jersey State Library.
|NJ Libraries On The Go: Funding mobile apps and mobile websites||
|New Jersey Library Makerspaces: The Leading Edge||FY14||15|
|Social Media Consultations: customized analysis and recommendations for member libraries’ presences on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram||
|Powering Up: Library Charging Stations: Funding for libraries to purchase secure mobile device charging stations||FY17||14|
|Rent-a-Consultant: Defraying the cost of hiring a library consultant for targeted service improvements||FY18||13|
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Q: What is the status of LibraryLinkNJ’s contract with the vendor for the statewide delivery service?
A: We just signed a renewal of our contract with our vendor, TForce Final Mile. This renewal will expire on December 31, 2019. In the event that LibraryLinkNJ dissolves by June 30, 2019, we have the right to transfer our role in the contract to another entity. The New Jersey State Library is responsible for providing statewide interlibrary loan delivery service.
Q: How did you develop the idea of a sliding scale for delivery cost sharing? Why not a flat rate for all participating member libraries?
A: Originally the Cost Share Team of the Delivery Task Force (Eileen Palmer, LMxAC; Alexandria Arnold, Bernardsville Public Library; and Courtenay Reece, Millville Public Library; along with LibraryLinkNJ staff Kathy Schalk-Greene, Joanne Roukens, and Sophie Brookover) considered a 30% flat rate for all.
We ran the numbers, looked at the result, and decided that a “one size fits all” approach wasn’t fair to the range of resource-sharing volume represented by our libraries, large and small, active and less so.
We then experimented with two sliding scales, with the determining factor being the number of stops per week paid for by LibraryLinkNJ. We considered the extra stops paid for by individual libraries and calculated so they wouldn’t pay twice. After trying several variations, we decided on the 17% rate for libraries with 1-3 stops per week, and a 27% rate for libraries with 4-5 stops.
Q: My library would like to eliminate a stop per week, in order to pay a smaller rate. Is that possible?
A: LibraryLinkNJ, according to our contract with TForce Final Mile, can reduce the number of stops libraries receive. We need to consider your current volume of usage to see if it makes sense from a systems perspective to reduce your number of stops per week. We would need a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice in order make a change approved by the Executive Director of LibraryLinkNJ. You can initiate this by calling Executive Director Kathy Schalk-Greene at 732-752-7720 no later than November 14 to discuss this option.
Q: Will member libraries using the delivery service be sent a cost-share bill for the second half of calendar year 2019? If so, how can they budget for it, since there may not be a $500 cap on the cost-share at that time?
A: We can’t accurately predict what will happen beyond our current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2019. If we do not survive this year and the delivery contract is handled by another agency in FY20 and beyond, it would be up to them to determine if there would be a cost-share for the delivery service going forward.
Q: What effect will BCCLS’ independent delivery system have on LibraryLinkNJ’s budget?
A: At their System Council meeting in October 2018, BCCLS members voted to approve a plan to undertake their own, intra-BCCLS delivery system, set to launch by June 30, 2019. We don’t know that this will have any impact on LibraryLinkNJ for FY19. At this point, we have a commitment from and contract with the NJ State Library for funding for FY19.
Q: If LLNJ did not exist would the State Library have sufficient funds to provide delivery?
If LibraryLinkNJ were to dissolve in June 2019, our entire budget would be available in the NJ Library Network Line for the NJ State Library to disburse. Delivery currently costs $1.35 million (this figure reflects only the contract and supplies, and is not inclusive of the level of staff support needed to oversee day-to-day operations). The NJ State Library would have to decide for themselves how best to staff and administer the statewide delivery service.
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