Hi all,

I just returned home from “Retooling 4 Tomorrow: New Jersey Library Association Annual Conference.”  NJLA 2012 took place at the new Revel Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ from Monday June 4th to Wednesday June 6th. The Revel can only be described as the new standard for luxury and grandeur in Atlantic City. Beautiful ocean front views greeted participants as they approached the registration area and continued to captivate us throughout the week. We had excellent weather all three days and many of us spent most of our official ‘coffee-break time’ exploring the Revel’s expansive outdoor decks and lush garden meeting centers.

As hinted in the conference title, NJLA 2012 was all about innovation, positivity, exploring new technologies, and creating new community connections. We were all encouraged to discover what we as library professionals do best and how to continue expanding our strengths to suit the changing needs and wants of our communities. The conference activities consisted of a mixture of practical advice concerning instruction, purchasing agreements, technologies, social media, etc.  and theoretical discussions about how to continue proving our worth in the future.

Monday afternoon hosted a preconference, while Tuesday and Wednesday were workshop days that last from 9am to 5am. At any given time, there were at least 5 different places to be; a broad range of activities appealed to librarians from wide ranging backgrounds.  Attendees were able to custom design their NJLA schedule and keep track of all their desired locations on the free NJLA 2012 iphone app. In-between sessions, we visited the exhibitors hall to learn more about companies providing a wide range of potential services to libraries-everything from publishers to architects, and smart phone application software to authors and musicians!

Laura Palumbo and I presented a poster about SCARLA’s inaugural year at the Student Poster Session Tuesday morning. 5 of the 6 student posters at the session came from our fellow classmates at Rutgers. It was exciting to learn from each other and represent our school!

After the poster session, Laura and I attended a leadership luncheon where NJLA President Susan O’Neal, introduced us to the soon to be new NJLA President Karen Klapperstuck. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Karen and her vibrant personality, creativity, energy, and passionate dedication to this organization will no doubt lead to a very successful and innovative upcoming year in the New Jersey Library Association. We wish Karen the best of luck as she begins her term in the follow weeks!

I personally chose to attend many of the events sponsored by the College and University Section of NJLA. This section hosted panel-like discussions as well as more hands-on activities to help us learn more about instruction methods and research techniques. Academic librarians from Universities in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, California and, of course, New Jersey, gave presentations and workshops. Some of these many events included:

  • E-Reader Lending at Princeton University Library
  • Harnessing Your Connections: Developing Your Personal Learning Network
  • Retooling the CUS Website with Drupal
  • Retooling Library Instruction by Analyzing Student Information Literacy Skills
  • On the Road to Information Literacy Success
  • Using the New American Factfinder and FDsys to Locate the Current Census and Other Federal E-Documents
  • ACRL-NJ’s Research Forum award and presentations

SCARLA’s own Miraida Morales hosted a session entitled “Digital Library Toolkit: Building a Small Digital Library on a Shoestring.” Miraida shared her experiences with the 1st digital library project for the National Library of Puerto Rico, sharing valuable information about planning processes, choosing platforms and metadata schemes, and providing positive public relations. Miraida’s unique skillset will serve her well in her new career as a digital archivist. We wish her the best of luck as she begins her wonderful new career and continues to take the library world by storm!

On Wednesday afternoon, I attended the NJ Colleges and Universities Luncheon. I had the pleasure of getting to know academic librarians from across the state. All were very kind and offered valuable advice about navigating the local job market and finding opportunities to continue my education. During the luncheon, awards were presented to noteworthy members of the organization. Wednesday also marked the 10th anniversary of the Technology Innovation Award. Previous winners also came to share how their work has continued to grow and develop in the years since their initial awards.

NJLA also hosted many events specifically targeted to MLIS students and librarians looking for jobs. Professional librarians volunteered to host resume review sessions to provide students with 1 on 1 advice. Some of the events specifically aimed towards MLIS students included:

  • The Art of Managing Your Brand
  • Why Didn’t They Call Me!? Dos and Don’ts to Get the Interview Call Next Time?
  • How to succeed in Job interviews for Libraries
  • Library Student & New Librarian Mixer

The conference was extremely hospitable to students and I recommend that MLIS students join in this wonderful opportunity to attend the conference next year. The Revel has been booked for the next 3 NJLA conferences, so you too can experience all that this beautiful, beach front location has to offer. For more information on the conference location, visit the Revel’s official site http://www.revelresorts.com/.

Overall, the conference was a great mixture of networking, professional development, knowledge dissemination, hands on instruction, and most imporatantly, FUN! Comical key note speakers captivated our attention with their energy, humor, and dedication to brazing new paths for the future of libraries and library professionals. NJLA Leaders provided inspirational messages to MLIS students and made us feel welcome and appreciated by the organization. For more details about conference panels, presenters, and activities, visit the official NJLA webpage:http://njlaconference.info/.

Next, join me in traveling to Anaheim for the ALA 2012 conference from June 21st to 26th. If the idea of going to a Rutgers SCI alumnae reunion in the Magic Kingdom Ballroom doesn’t excite you, imagine having the opportunity to network with librarians from across the country! For more information, visit the official conference website:http://www.alaannual.org/.

Kelly LaVoice