April 21, 2020

In This Issue

Dear LLNJ Colleagues,

Greetings. We hope that you and your families are all doing well and continuing to stay safe.

The COVID-19 situation barreled upon us without warning. We have all done a yeoman’s job to respond to the situation. Thank you all for everything you have done in the last few weeks, for your library customers, your employees, and the communities you serve.

There is much uncertainty ahead, and we will continue to respond to this dynamic situation with the information that is available to us. At the same time, we must begin the process of realignment, in preparation for a new normal, when our library doors reopen again.

Below are a few updates to keep you informed and engaged:


Taskforce on Post COVID-19 Alignment, Trends & Strategies (TOPCATS)

On April 16, 2020, the LLNJ Executive Board established a taskforce on COVID-19, and charged the taskforce to explore issues, strategies, and solutions, relative to the reopening of libraries post COVID-19. The taskforce is expected to collaborate with NJSL, NJLA and other pertinent efforts geared towards reopening New Jersey libraries post COVID-19. Board member, Ralph Bingham, was nominated to serve as the chair of the new LLNJ COVID-19 taskforce.

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MentorNJ Engagement Portal for Everyone

The MentorNJ Task Force rolled out an online engagement portal on April 2nd, designed to keep the New Jersey library community connected, rejuvenating, and renewed. Information on this resource is available at: https://librarylinknj.org/MentorNJ/meetup/online. The new MentorNJ Engagement Portal hosts eight meetups every week, on topics to include: self-care, Zoom tutorials, youth services, library directors meet-up, adult services, parenting, and ideas for the working from home (WFH) library assistant. MentorNJ is co-sponsored by LLNJ and NJSL, in partnership with NJLA. Thanks to the MentorNJ Taskforce for a job well done!

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We reported in our April 3, 2020 update that LLNJ received a budget advisory from the New Jersey State Library to inform that our funding for FY20 will be reduced by 16.67% due to a spending freeze enacted by the State. This reduction represents a budget shortfall of $306,667 to LLNJ. In addition, the State of New Jersey has shifted its fiscal year end from June to September. We do not know yet, when (if) this FY20 year-end extension will be funded. The LLNJ Finance Committee has examined multiple budget scenarios and on April 16th, recommended and the Board approved to maintain the LLNJ FY20 year-end at June 30, 2020.

Under the current situation, with suspended delivery services, LLNJ is positioned to remain solvent through the end of this fiscal year, June 30, 2020. However, with prevailing uncertainties, the Finance Committee noted to the Board that it would be difficult to project an FY21 budget for membership approval in June. Therefore, the Finance Committee will present a first quarter FY21 budget to the LLNJ Board at the LLNJ Executive Board meeting on May 21. If approved, the first quarter FY21 budget will be presented to the membership on June 17th.

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Cares Act – Payroll Protection Program Loan

The LLNJ Executive Board held an emergency meeting on April 6th and authorized the Interim Executive Director to apply for the Cares Act Payroll Protection Program Loan on behalf of LLNJ. If approved, the loan will cover LLNJ’s payroll, rent and utilities for two and half months. The loan is expected to be forgiven, if 75% of the loan amount is expended on payroll.

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Membership Meeting

LLNJ’s annual membership meeting is scheduled for June 17, 2020. We previously reserved space at Rutgers University for the membership meeting, however, Rutgers has canceled all events at their campuses until August 2020. In addition, current Federal and New Jersey State laws would not permit an in-person gathering of the size of our annual membership meeting in June. Therefore, the Bylaws Committee requested and the LLNJ Board approved for the June 17, 2020 membership meeting to be a virtual meeting. In addition, the Bylaws Committee is investigating the legal guidelines for electronic voting. Additional information on the membership meeting and electronic voting will be communicated in our next update.

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Delivery Task Force

Given current uncertainties, closures and budget, the Delivery Task Force (DTF) is not able to project when LLNJ could restart delivery services. It is anticipated that all libraries would receive credits for the time that delivery was suspended in FY20, in their FY21 cost share and additional delivery invoices. LLNJ’s delivery study that commenced prior to the COVID-19 disruption has been temporarily placed on hold. The DTF is continuing to investigate information on the safe handling of library materials in the COVID-19 environment. DTF members are engaged in national conversations on library delivery and materials safety. Knowledge gained will be shared and applied to our delivery processes as appropriate. 

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Board Updates

LLNJ Board Secretary, Debby Magnan resigned as secretary due to time constraints. Debby will continue to serve in her role as a member of the Executive Board. Board member, Bonnie Lafazan was appointed as secretary through June 30, 2020. Interim Executive Director, Juliet Machie was moved from part-time employment to full time, given the additional demands of navigating prevailing uncertainties. The Search Committee reported that eight candidates have applied for the LLNJ Executive Director position. The deadline for applications is April 28.

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Your safety, health and wellbeing are of utmost importance to us. We encourage you to continue to take safety precautions. Our collective goal is to ensure that we are ready to serve LLNJ’s membership 100%, when a new normal is in place. Please be well. This too, shall pass.

Juliet Machie
Interim Executive Director
Chris Carbone