NJLA Strategic Priorities 2015-2018

NJLA Strategic Priorities 2015-2018


In July 2013 NJLA President Eileen M. Palmer announced that the organization would begin a strategic planning initiative.  In order to maintain our role in developing library talent, advocating for public policy issues and supporting library staff and trustees NJLA had to start thinking about the future.  We needed to take a comprehensive look at NJLA, how it was organized and funded and what resources it will need to best serve the membership in the future.  While our current plan had served us well, it was important to create a plan that will move NJLA into the future in a way that meets and exceeds its members’ needs.

A Task Force, chaired by former NJLA President and Monroe Township Library Director Irene Goldberg, was appointed and began its work in October 2013.  At the outset our process was to form information gathering teams that would report back to periodic group meetings. The three teams were looking at:

  •   Needs Study Group (Surveyed Members and Non-Members)
  •   State Structure Study Group (Surveyed other State Library Organizations)
  •   Unit Viability Study Group (Surveyed Committees/Sections/Round Tables)

After digesting all the data gathered, it was decided to partner with two Consultants from The Leadership Group.  Regina Podhorin and Barbara Lawrence held focus groups with non-members over this past summer and then met with the Committee and key NJLA members at a day long retreat.

On December 9, 2014, we were given a summary of our efforts and 4 priority areas for us to concentrate on over the next 3 years.  Those Strategic Priorities are attached, and form the basis of this recommendation to the NJLA Executive Board of the Associations strategic directions for the next several years.

These recommendations would not be possible without the hard work of all the members of the Strategic Planning Task Force:

  • Irene Goldberg, Chair
  • Brian Auger (Admin & Management)                    Jayne Beline (NJLA Member/ALA Councilor)   
  • Sophie Brookover (LibraryLinkNJ)                       Susanna Chan (Childrens Services)                        
  • Mary Chute (New Jersey State Librarian)            Cindy Czesak (Executive Board)                            
  • James Keehbler (Treasurer/President Elect)    Samantha Marker (Executive Board)
  • Michael Maziekien (Executive Board)                  Terrie McColl (President Elect/President)
  • Lindsey Meyer (Membership)                                  Eileen M. Palmer (President/Past President)
  • Kathi Peiffer (State Library)                                      Arlene Sahraie  (Member)
  • Julie Tozer (Member)                                                   Patricia A. Tumulty (Executive Director)
  • Nancy Weiner (College and Research)                  Anne Wodnick (2nd Vice President)                                     

Sarah Sladek, in her book The end of membership as we know it, cites the years 1946 through 2000 as the heyday of professional associations.  Building on the needs of the silent generation and the baby boomer generation, associations became more popular than at any time in the past and perhaps in the future.  But Sladek warns that associations that continue with service and membership models focused on the needs of baby boomers could fail.  Through this strategic planning process we recognize the unique needs of generation Y and millennials – as well as the unique contributions they are making to NJLA and our profession.  And we have asked ourselves, does NJLA offer the right services and membership opportunities to attract the best and brightest of every generation represented in our workforce?  We believe that the directions outlined in this document will guide us in assuring our services remain as relevant as they have always been to the provision of library service in New Jersey.

If we are to maintain our role in developing library talent, advocating for public policy issues and supporting library staff and trustees we need to take a comprehensive look at NJLA, how it is organized and funded and what resources it will need to best serve the membership in the future.  It is time for us to be creative about NJLA’s future and listen carefully to what our members want and need in their professional association.  We believe these strategic priorities will help NJLA to focus on its future and that the benchmarks developed for each priority will help us to measure our progress.                                                                       

                Final Strategic Priority Recommendations

  1. Open membership to others- all library staff and trustees
  2. Explore strategic collaboration/merger (win/win)
  3. Continuous Education – formalize our unique niche and maximize revenue
  4. Enhance the business model for NJLA – Enhance structure, revenue and governance for long term sustainability



Year 1

Year 3

Design member categories for non MLS

25% of members non MLS

Design campaign to attract other staff , trustees, friends groups and institutions

60% of MLS librarians in the state are members

Investigate developing a Friends of NJLA category

75% of public and academic libraries will be members


Assess the financial viability of an all inclusive institutional membership and implement if appropriate



Year 1

Year 3

Pilot – co-locate conference/programs with other associations

Increase advocacy power and credibility representing a common agenda across major association representing libraries/professionals in the field

Sponsor a joint meeting of the boards (or leadership) across associations to discuss options for collaboration or merger

Increase influence of library associations in the State through enhanced collaboration or win/win mergers


Find win/win mergers that increase sustainability of both partners and retains mission focus of NJLA


Increase smart collaborations that bring in revenue for NJLA


Continuing Education

Year 1

Year 3

Make future oriented continuing education the integrated goal of all sections/groups/committees

Annual continuing education agenda formalized in advance of year

Create process for integration of continuing education efforts

NJLA is known for supporting cutting edge, libraries of the future

Create standards for continuing education, especially fees

An online option for conference/workshops is available

Create expectations among members and others doing this work about NJLA unique role in future oriented continuing education

More online content:

  • Video
  • 8-12 webinars per year


Full complement of online tools to serve CE needs


Business Model

Year 1

Year 3

Align governance to strategic priorities

  • Board members
  • Committee structure

Easy access to management information

  • Finance
  • Membership data

Set specific financial targets

  • Fees
  • Dues by category

Create a members only section on the website

Consider an Association Management option – and evaluate space needs

Financial stability – build on our plans by Year 3

Implementation Recommendations

  1. That work begin immediately, with the appointment of the First Vice President to chair an Implementation Task Force.
  2. That the Implementation Task Force determine how to organize activities identified by the plan and make any recommendations needed for additional working groups.
  3. That the Executive Board dedicate a portion of their monthly meetings to discussion of the plan and its implementation.
  4. That the Implementation Task Force provide an annual written report to the Board and Membership on the implementation efforts.