The library community under the umbrella of LibraryLinkNJ (LLNJ) has come together with representatives from across New Jersey to develop best practices and guidelines for libraries in New Jersey when the Governor’s order closing libraries is lifted. With nearly 2,600 public, academic, school and special libraries in its membership, LLNJ is best equipped to manage this initiative. With representatives from the New Jersey State Library (NJSL), New Jersey Library Association (NJLA), New Jersey Library Trustee Association (NJLTA), and Board Members of LibraryLinkNJ on the task force, this collaboration is expected to be far-reaching.

On April 16, 2020, the LLNJ Executive Board established a new taskforce on COVID- 19, and charged the taskforce to explore issues, strategies, and solutions relative to the reopening of libraries post COVID-19. Board member, Ralph Bingham, was nominated to serve as the chair of the new LLNJ COVID-19 taskforce.

Areas of inquiry for TOPCATS include but is not limited to:

  1. Coordinated efforts for reopening New Jersey’s libraries
  2. Needs assessment for providing library services post COVID-19.
  3. Communication Strategies for reopening our libraries
  4. Staff training needs for working in a post COVID-19 environment
  5. Advocacy, to ensure that libraries are included in New Jersey’s safe reopening initiatives
  6. Framework for NJ libraries’ Response, Recovery & Resilience in the post COVID-19 environment, in the context of how our communities have changed and how we as libraries should respond.

This coalition includes small, medium and large public libraries, county libraries, consortia, academic and school libraries and representatives from around the state.

The Taskforce realizes that not one shoe is going to fit everyone but wants to make sure that libraries have the information they need to make decisive, realistic, and systematic plans for reopening sooner than later.

The first meeting was held on Friday, April 24, under the stewardship of Chair Ralph Bingham and LibraryLinkNJ Interim Executive Director, Juliet Machie. At that meeting the large group was divided into 5 working works including: Best Practices, Communications & Outreach, Futures, Policy & Advocacy, and Survey. The next Task Force meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 1.

This coalition plans on sharing news and information regularly as we know that there is much “misinformation” already circulating in the Library community. The goal is to provide actionable plans and tools that can be presented to Library Boards and decision makers, to preempt something being imposed upon Libraries without input.

Members of the TOPCATS Group as of April 30, 2020 include:

Name (Last Name Alphabetically) Organization
Ralph Bingham, Task Force Chair Gloucester County Library System
LLNJ Board Member
Phillip Berg MAIN, LLNJ Board Member
Chris Carbone South Brunswick Public Library
LLNJ President
Danielle Cesena NJLA | Glen Rock Public Library
Mary Chute New Jersey State Library
Ranjna Das Burlington County Library System
Linda Devlin Camden County Library System
Corey Fleming Paterson Free Public Library
LLNJ Board Member
Dave Hansen BCCLS
James Keehbler Hunterdon County Library
Allan Kleiman Montville Township Public Library
LLNJ Board Member
Christopher Korenowsky Somerset County Library System
Bonnie Lafazan Berkeley College Library,
LLNJ Board Member
Mi-Sun Lyu MentorNJ | LibraryLinkNJ
Juliet Machie LibraryLinkNJ
Robb Mackes HSLANJ
Luca Manna PALS Plus
Allen McGinley Teaneck Public Library
Kathleen Moeller -Pfeiffer New Jersey State Library
Darren O’Neill Morris County Library
Andrea Orsini Cape May County Library
Eileen Palmer LMxAC
Kimberly Paone Matawan Aberdeen Public Library
Pat Pavlac New Jersey Library Trustees Association
Will Porter Sussex County Library System
Pamela Price Mercer County Comm College
Robert Rynkiewicz Atlantic City Free Public Library
Susanne Sacchetti Cumberland County Library
Jeffrey Trzeciak Jersey City Free Library
Pat Tumulty New Jersey Library Association
Kurt Wagner VALE
Maureen Wilkinson Warren County Library


We ask that you reach out to the TOPCATS Chair, rbingham [at] (Ralph Bingham), or the LLNJ Interim Executive Director, juliet [at] (Juliet Machie), with any areas of concern that you may have.

Allan Kleiman
Chair of Communications & Outreach