In This Issue
Spring 2015
Membership Meeting
Member Highlight:
YALSA Award Committee Chairs Sharon Rawlins & Sophie Brookover
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Spring 2015 Membership Meeting

All staff from member libraries are cordially invited to join us at one of three locations around the state -- William Paterson University, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and Rowan University -- to network, vote, and learn. Registration is open and we hope to see you there!

We hope to see many friendly faces at the Rutgers location in particular - it’s Cheryl O’Connor’s last Membership Meeting as Executive Director, and she’ll be the site host at Alexander Library. Come on down to wish her well in retirement!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Networking & Refreshments: 1:30 - 2:30 PM

Enjoy refreshments and catch up with Cooperative Members, Staff and Board Members

Voting (Business Meeting): 2:30 - 3:00 PM

The Executive Board and Executive Director have posted for Voting Representative review and action:

Many thanks to everyone who completed our membership survey - your input contributed substantively to our Strategic Service Goals for the coming fiscal year.

Election by Petition: Voting Representatives may run by petition for the Executive Board. Guidelines on how to submit a petition are available here.

Speaker & Program: 3:00 - 4:00 PM

Everything is Connected: Libraries and the Information Ecosystem
Presented by Toby Greenwalt, Director of Digital Strategy and Technology Integration at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where he works to make his corner of the web more human.

The push for libraries to transition from transaction-tallying to relationship-building presents a host of new challenges, and an even greater number of opportunities. By embracing your organization's role as a community connector, libraries of all sizes and types can better understand how their services translate into individual and community outcomes. In doing so, your users can become better library advocates - not just telling your library's story, but showing off all the great things you do throughout your community.

Toby Greenwalt

Participants will be able to:

  • Strategize ways to reposition the library as a springboard for community growth and action;
  • Develop programming, events, and in-house training for staff and library users;
  • Build relationships with individuals and organizations for the purpose of empowering the community.

Don’t delay - register today!


Member Highlight: YALSA Award Committee Chairs Sharon Rawlins & Sophie Brookover

NJ State Library Youth Services Consultant Sharon Rawlins and LibraryLinkNJ’s own Program Coordinator & Social Media Manager Sophie Brookover wore extra hats in 2014 as YALSA Award Committee Chairs. Sharon chaired the 2015 Excellence in Nonfiction Award (ENFA) Committee, and Sophie chaired the 2015 Margaret A. Edwards Award (MAE) Committee.

We asked them to share some of their experiences and advice for colleagues aspiring to national committee work.

Thanks for agreeing to share some of your experiences as a YALSA Award Committee chair with our readers! Let’s talk a little about how we came to serve on our respective committees.

Sharon Rawlins
Sharon Rawlins, NJSL

Sharon: I’ve been on various YALSA and ALSC committees -- including Michael L. Printz, MAE, Sibert, and BBYA -- for over 10 years! Like actors who take any role that comes along because they are afraid they’ll never work again, I keep serving on committees. I guess I’m afraid if I don’t, I’ll be forgotten and never get on another one again - especially since you have to decide to run for the next committee while you are currently on another one. I love it, but it is a huge commitment.

Sophie: It is a big commitment! I served on the Printz Award committee as the administrative assistant and then as a voting member before chairing MAE, and I noticed a significant difference in the quantity of reading required between the two committees. I read quite a bit for MAE, but I found I had almost just as much work to do as the chair keeping the entire process moving forward as I did keeping up with reading and evaluating the authors and their bodies of work.

Sophie Brookover
Sophie Brookover, LibraryLinkNJ

ENFA is a traditional award committee, requiring face-to-face meetings at conferences, while MAE is being piloted at a virtual committee, where all work takes place online or by phone. What tools did your committee use?

Sharon: Between our in-person meetings at conferences, the committee met virtually using a variety of online tools. When we began, we used Google Hangouts because we wanted to get a sense of what each other’s body language and facial expressions were as we discussed the books. We also used chat through ALA Connect because it archives the chats and for the last five months of the committee’s term we chatted weekly.

We used Google Sheets to keep track of what we read and to add comments about the books and Google forms for polling, and conducted conference calls using ALA’s system.

Sophie: We used Google Docs and Sheets for keeping track of authors and the critical portfolios of their work that we developed, and held regular virtual meetings using LibraryLinkNJ’s Adobe Connect platform. Both of these tools, along with the private committee listserv, worked very well. Do you have a preference for either type of committee work? Now that I’ve done both, I love the convenience of virtual, but I would strongly prefer working on a face-to-face committee next time around.

Sharon: I haven’t been on a virtual committee, but I’d choose in-person, too. I believe observing body language, facial expressions and hearing the tone of voice is important when debating the merits of the books.

Sophie: Agreed!

What advice do you have for colleagues who are aspiring to national award committee work?

Sharon: My advice to my colleagues who are aspiring to national award committee work is:

  • Go for it even if you think you won’t be elected. You may be surprised.
  • Budget your time if you’re on a committee! You think you have plenty of time to read but unexpected things happen. Use the weekends to read the longer, more in-depth books when you have more time than during the week.
  • Warn your family/friends/colleagues that you will be immersed in the committee work & that you’ll make it up to them when you’re off the committee.
  • Take notes as you read! Or at least use Post-Its to mark what you want to remember.
  • Take time to do something fun on a regular basis (exercise, etc.). You need to take regular breaks and don’t beat yourself up for doing so.
  • No question is too stupid. Don’t be afraid to ask someone who’s been on a committee any questions you might have. Most people are more than willing to help. Most of us have really enjoyed the committee work and love talking about it (what we’re allowed to talk about, that is).

Sophie: I agree 100% with all of your advice, and have some more to add for colleagues just getting started down this road:

  • Build your skills as a critical evaluator of books and other media. Start a book blog, volunteer for the Garden State Children’s or Teen Book Awards, or apply to review for one of the major review periodicals.
  • Volunteer for service on process committees as well as selection list or award committees - that’s how the work of the division gets done, and it’s a good way to build a reputation as someone who contributes to your field of practice.
  • And just to echo Sharon’s last point, definitely do ask about the ins and outs of committee work - we love to help our colleagues aim high!



Capira Mobile

LibraryLinkNJ has partnered with Capira Technologies to offer members a tiered, group discount on CapiraMobile apps for public libraries - the more libraries participating, the greater the discount.

Capira's customized mobile apps personalize your library for an optimal patron experience, including state-of-the-art functionality and services, such as digital library cards, self-checkout, remote renewal capabilities, iBeacon technology and much more.

Capira Mobile

NJ’s Somerset County Library switched to CapiraMobile. Director Brian Auger says, “Capira has been a delight to work with because they don’t treat us like 'customers'; they treat us like partners. From the start, they collaborated with us to create the perfect mobile app for our users. They’re always open to refinements and new ideas. … We are so eager to promote new ways to personalize the user experience. Bottom line: they make us look great!"​

View complete details, including full pricing and vendor contact. Please note the special “express” package for smaller libraries. The offer is good through February 2016, but Capira would like interested libraries to contact them by May 31, 2015, to determine which discount tier is applicable.



Are you engaging your local writing community? Libraries have struggled for years to find an efficient and easy way to make ebooks available from local authors.

LibraryLinkNJ has a brand-new discount on SELF-e, a solution to this problem for public libraries.

SELF-e is an innovative collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioBoard that enables authors and libraries to work together to expose independently published ebooks to patrons. LibraryLinkNJ is excited to partner with BiblioBoard to bring members this service at a great price.

The offer expires July 1, 2015 - check out the discount page for full offer details.

For more information be sure to check out the SELF-e library case studies detailing how leading library systems like the Arizona State Library, Los Angeles Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library and San Diego Public Library have implemented SELF-e. Some of the top library systems in the country believe SELF-e is a great way to serve their communities and help local writers get recognition.


LibraryLinkNJ is excited to offer a discount on lyndaLibrary, the long-awaited remote patron offering from lyndaLibrary allows patrons and staff to access's vast catalog of technology training and professional development from anywhere by logging in with their library card.


Public library members are eligible for this 20% discount. (The offer was originally tiered based on the number of subscribing libraries, but as of April 15, the vendor is offering 20% off to all new subscribers.) The offer is available through May 29, 2015. Visit the discount page for full offer details and pricing.


CE Updates: Online Learning Opportunities Abound

MentorNJ Presents: Library Bootcamp
May 21, 2015
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Registration is open through May 15

Library Bootcamp

Join a group of innovative panelists in our first online-meetup. Learn from the successes and challenges faced by these experienced librarians from diverse libraries. They will share their experiences, ideas and advice on various topics. This webinar was designed to help you grow in your career.

Presenting panelists are:

  • Katie Anderson, Paul Robeson Library, Rutgers University-Camden
  • Doug Baldwin, Piscataway Public Library
  • Ralph Bingham, Gloucester County Library System
  • Sophie Brookover, LibraryLinkNJ
  • Heidi Cramer, Newark Public Library
  • Martha Hickson, North Hunterdon High School Library
  • Karen Klapperstuck, Monroe Township Public Library
  • Heather Dalal, Moore Library, Rider University
  • Kate Vasilik, Piscataway Public Library

More information about both the program topics and presenters will be posted soon!

This panel-style webinar will be moderated by Zara Wilkinson, Rutgers University-Camden, representing the MentorNJ Project team.

Registration is limited to 100 - register today to reserve your spot!

If you have any questions, please contact us at Highlights

We’re pleased to share this free monthly benefit with our members. Registration is open to 30 participants on the second Tuesday and Wednesday of each month, and each registration entitles the user to unlimited, 24/7 access to’s vast library of video-based courses for three weeks.

Here are just a couple of the great newer topics on offer:

  • For all our productivity and organization fans, Managing To-Do Lists with Suzanna Kaye: Discover top techniques for tracking to-dos on paper as well as apps for effectively managing your digital to-do lists. Organization expert Suzanna Kaye explains how to approach to-do lists and prioritize items using various proven techniques. She then explores the top five apps for digital to-do list management, exploring their strengths, weaknesses, and functionality.
  • Writing for the Web, with Chris Nodder: People read differently online: they scan. They're trying to find information quickly. Writing with this goal in mind makes a website more appealing, and makes customers more likely to visit more often and buy products and services. In this course, Chris Nodder offers seven practical techniques for writing successfully on the web, including front-loading content, writing at the right grade level, avoiding jargon, and keeping content up to date. Test your knowledge as you complete each chapter, and make sure your writing is leading to a positive user experience.

Mark May 12 and 13 on your calendar now for your best shot at a seat!