NJ State Library is ‘On the Train!’
I’ve just come back from the HRLC Annual Meeting up at the lovely Parsippany-Troy Hills library (I really like the library’s “opening doors to the world” logo and mission). I went as an employee of an HRLC member library, and as the Chair of the HRLC Technology Committee, and also as a representative from the NJLA Member Services Committee. This is the first year I’ve been able to attend the annual meeting and I have to say it was great!
Norma Blake, the State Librarian, was there sharing about the State Library and what it’s up to and where it’s going. I just want to quickly share that everything that Norma talked about was very exciting and really “on track” from my perspective of what libraries in NJ need.
(Apologies if I’ve gotten anything incorrect here or misrepresent anything – please put me straight anyone if so!)
This presentation was similar (though much shorter) to the one presented at NJLA last month by the State Library and seemed very focused and more specific. It was also clearly influenced by the Futures Conference which was what I was so excited to see!
I heard things that came directly out of the conference such as the fact that they will have a position for Urban and Adult services – they already have teen services and now they want to focus on the needs of urban libraries and of the needs of the increasingly older population – Norma specifically said they will be working with Americans for Libraries Council which was what Mary Catherine Bateson spoke about when she did her presentation on “active wisdom,” and the importance of the relationships and value that the older generations bring, and their worth and place in society. It was also what the demography program showed us – the boomers are getting older (sorry guys!) and they are a large population! Clearly, the State Library is paying attention and responding!
Norma shared that they are “reworking” some positions – since they can’t afford to just create and hire new people. For example, Peggy Cadigan’s role is going to evolve into an “Innovations” position where she will be a member of a futures group and attend conferences and meetings about the future that are held by not just libraries and librarians, but by other fields too so that we will know what’s ahead “down the pike” not just for us, but in other areas – areas and things that will certainly impact upon us! VERY exciting – for Peggy and for NJ libraries and librarians!
They are also going to have a Technologies position and want to create a help desk and have assistance available for libraries. This is all of course in addition to the great marketing and pr work they are doing, the other initiatives and efforts they are pursuing. This is by no means a comprehensive list!
I also think the idea of creating pilot projects in each region to demonstrate the value for the constituents is great – the pilot projects also aim to attract new users.
I spoke to Norma during the break to tell her that I am very excited by everything she talked about – she even has a plan for how to proceed following the Futures Conference! The New Jersians who attended the conference will be meeting up for an “After the Futures” meeting to continue to talk about what we heard and saw and brainstorm how specifically to proceed in NJ. From this brainstorming meeting we will see what ideas shake out and then we will invite input from all and develop some plans around the ones that get the most support.
I am really excited (did I say that already?) to see ACTIONS coming out of the Futures Conference – after all, it was called Imagination to Transformation, and transforming requires action! I am really happy to see the State Library taking a strong, specific leadership role for the future of library service in New Jersey!
There was more of course, and the Strategic Plan for the Highlands Regional Library Cooperative was shared and voted on – awards were given out and food was had! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take any photos what with manning the Member Services station and attending the meeting, but I left there feeling very energized! Hopefully we will find out more about all of these things soon!
P.S. You can now blog and read about reactions to the Futures Conference on that blog and there is a new flickr page for the photos! I also see a video posted with Peggy in it but I haven’t viewed it yet! Still looking around for those slides from the presentations though ….