Future of LibraryLinkNJ FAQ

 

FUNDING & SERVICES

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 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, but we are still looking at every area of potential cost savings. Though it would not save us a tremendous amount to close the offices in Piscataway, there would be some savings (about $36,000 annually including rent and utilities). With a smaller staff, we are evaluating the need for less office space as part of the budget process for FY20.

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?

A: 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/S-3395, 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.

UPDATED 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. This will not have any impact on LibraryLinkNJ for FY19, and the impact for FY20 remains to be seen as we work on finalizing our budget for FY20. Unfortunately, the savings are insufficient to maintain full staffing. I will provide that information as part of the next town hall meeting in May.

UPDATED Q: Now that we know the Cooperative will exist into FY20 at least, 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, but we are still looking at every area of potential cost savings. Though it would not save us a tremendous amount to close the offices in Piscataway, there would be some savings (about $36,000 annually including rent and utilities). With a smaller staff, we are evaluating the need for less office space as part of the budget process for FY20.

Q: We already have statewide library organizations, and it seems to me the State Library can just directly manage the delivery contract. So why continue LibraryLinkNJ, when you are cutting most of what you do?

A: LibraryLinkNJ’s staff and Executive Board are working hard to maintain as much of our core services as our budget will support.

Ever since the establishment of LibraryLinkNJ as the one multi-type statewide library cooperative in 2010, we have provided a number of unique services to the NJ library community through our contract with our funder, the New Jersey State Library:

  • Statewide Delivery of over 5 million items annually to over 400 member libraries. This is a complex service to administer in a state as densely populated as New Jersey. Its complexity is reflected in its cost -- which we continue to keep artificially low for participating member libraries -- and the staff necessary to keep it running smoothly
  • An ambitious, coherent, and affordable year-round set of Continuing Education programs for library staff. These have included high quality learning opportunities held both face-to-face and online, through our webinars, On-Site, On-Demand Professional Development Program, MentorNJ, Super Library Supervisor, Project Management, Facilitation Skills and many other events
  • Funding subsidies for major events produced by other statewide library organizations including NJLA, NJASL, VALE, The Health Sciences Library Association of NJ, The Documents Association of NJ, and the New Jersey Association of Library Assistants
  • Innovation Projects which have helped libraries around the state to develop mobile websites, establish makerspaces, and provide secure charging stations for mobile devices

The NJ State Library is currently evaluating all statewide services via surveys and a task force. We’ll have to see what results their work yields and go from there. In the meantime, LibraryLinkNJ will continue to offer as many high quality, low-cost services as possible to staff at our 2400 member organizations among the public, school, academic, and special libraries of New Jersey.

Q: Since LLNJ services are due to be curtailed in FY20, are the forums on your website one of the services that you will continue to offer?

A: We will continue to maintain & support the LibraryLinkNJ Forums on our website.

Q: Which CE programs will you continue to provide in FY20 and which will be dropped?

A: While we would love to continue to provide all of the high-quality CE learning opportunities we have been producing for years, we will have to develop those services in light of our reduced staff in FY20. We’re definitely continuing Super Library Supervisor. The LLNJ Staff and subcommittees of the Executive Board are developing our service plan, budget and Board slate for FY20. These are due to our board in April, and we will share all of these guidance documents with the membership in advance of the Membership Meeting on June 5.

In FY19, the process of developing the budget along took three months. 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, virtually or in person.

NEW Q:When will the proposed FY20 budget be available for members to review?

A: The Executive Board will finalize the proposed FY20 budget at their meeting at the LibraryLinkNJ offices on April 11. 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, virtually or in person.

Based on our bylaws, we are required to provide all membership meeting materials two weeks in advance of the membership meeting on June 5. We will share the proposed budget, Executive Board slate, and strategic initiatives for member review on Wednesday, May 22. Once these guidance documents for FY20 are available online, we will post an announcement about it on our forums and via email blast to the membership, along with links to all three documents.

We expect a high degree of interest in the Spring Membership Meeting on June 5 and must honor the maximum room capacity of 120 seats, as established by the Monroe Township fire marshal. We are exploring the possibility of streaming the meeting, but that requires staff time and capacity that we may not have at that time.

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ADVOCACY

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
  • MentorNJ

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

Innovation Projects

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.

Project Year Libraries benefited
NJ Libraries On The Go: Funding mobile apps and mobile websites FY13
FY14
21
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 FY16
FY17
FY18
48
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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DELIVERY

Q: What is the status of LibraryLinkNJ’s contract with the vendor for the statewide delivery service? Do LibraryLinkNJ and the delivery vendor TForce have the option to renew the current contract for another year or two years?

A: We signed a renewal of our contract with our vendor, TForce Final Mile. This renewal will expire on December 31, 2019. We manage the delivery contract according to the calendar year (starting January 1), which provides needed overlap throughout our fiscal year (starting July 1). We will review a renewal in the summer of 2019 for a contract starting January 1, 2020. In calendar year 2020, we will be re-bidding the entire statewide delivery contract, with a start date of January 1, 2021.

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: How will the cost sharing fees be determined for FY20?

A: With our Delivery Task Force, we will evaluate the cost sharing structure for FY20. We will need to determine how best to structure the cost share, taking into consideration affordability for participating member libraries and staff time needed to manage that process. We anticipate undertaking a single billing cycle for the entirety of FY20, and to present the cost share amounts as early as possible, to provide participating member libraries with as much flexibility as possible as to their payment timeline.

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: In 2016, LibraryLinkNJ hired an independent library delivery consultant, Greg Pronevitz, to prepare a state of delivery analysis in preparation for re-bidding the delivery contract that year. Mr. Pronevitz determined that, of all states offering statewide interlibrary loan delivery, New Jersey was paying the lowest amount.

Since we will need to rebid the delivery contract in calendar year 2020, we are considering working with an independent library delivery consultant again, with a view towards a total reimagination of the statewide delivery service.

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LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative
44 Stelton Road, Suite 330, Piscataway NJ 08854
Phone: 732-752-7720 | Fax: 732-752-7785

LibraryLinkNJ Website Use Policies

LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative, and its services are funded by the New Jersey State Library,
which is responsible for the coordination, promotion, and funding of the New Jersey Library Network.