Over the last few months, LibraryLinkNJ has undertaken a concerted effort to save the organization from possible closure by June 30. On Thursday, February 7, the LibraryLinkNJ Executive Board voted to keep LibraryLinkNJ open into FY2020 (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020). We are appreciative of the board’s action and want to express our gratitude to you and the LibraryLinkNJ community for helping to make this happen.
In order to keep LibraryLinkNJ operating, the State Library has committed $1.84 million to fund LibraryLinkNJ services in FY2020, contingent on funding for their budget and the NJ Library Network budget line. This funding will allow LibraryLinkNJ to continue to serve communities statewide, through our member libraries. This development, however, is not without some disheartening news. We will have to operate with a smaller staff, providing only delivery and a very curtailed continuing education program. Layoff notices will soon be issued for several affected employees.
We will provide more information about what services via LibraryLinkNJ will look like during the February 20th Virtual Town Hall meeting. Registration for this meeting will open on February 13.
We deeply regret the loss of staff, innovation services, and a substantial proportion of our continuing education portfolio. On the other hand, this decision will allow us to continue to push our state representatives to provide a level of funding that would enable LibraryLinkNJ to operate at full capacity. In addition to providing the services you need for your local communities, identifying and securing this funding will be one of our top priorities in the coming year. Without it, we will again have to revisit dissolving the Cooperative in 2020.
That is why it is critically important that you reach out to your Assembly and State Senate representatives today and let them know you want the Legislature to pass A4815/S3395 as soon as possible. The fight to save LibraryLinkNJ is not over.
We are moving forward with the appropriate plans to make FY2020 as productive for our members as possible. Our annual Membership Meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 4 at the Monroe Township Public Library (Middlesex County). At this meeting, we will present the FY2020 budget for membership input and approval. In addition, we will provide a service plan for the year ahead and a slate of candidates for the Executive Board.
It has been an honor to serve New Jersey’s library community for over 30 years. The support we have received during the struggle to stay open has shown us just how special the communities and people we serve truly are. We know that the loss of staff is going to have an impact. There’s no way to replace decades of experience, expertise, and knowledge. But we will press on, working hard every day to provide the services and opportunities you need to keep your libraries thriving and responsive to the communities you serve.
We will continue to provide updates in a timely manner. Thank you again for all you have done to support us. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to drop Executive Director kathy [at] librarylinknj.org (Kathy Schalk-Greene) a line.