8th Annual Adult Services Forum - Monday, October 24

Save the date! 

Please join us for a day of networking, learning, and building new skills. Just as past Forums, there will be a Keynote Speaker, and three different time blocks with various programs to attend.  Returning this year due to popular demand will be the Monmouth County Archives Tour, so sign up early to make sure there's a spot for you. Lastly, don't forget to visit the various NJLA tables and shop at the NJLA Store. 

10:00 AM Keynote:  
Please join NJLA and welcome Tonya Garcia, the 2016 Librarian of the Year, and Director of the Long Branch Free Public Library for our keynote address.  Ms. Garcia is a native of Monmouth County, New Jersey. As a teen mother, she spent most of her early adulthood as a stay-at-home married mother raising four sons. In 2004 she relocated to Long Branch and created Team Jump Off, a nationally recognized organization that ran in her own home, which worked to empower dozens of urban youth to take responsibility for their future through civic engagement and personal growth opportunities.

During her early career at the library, Tonya Garcia championed diversity services in her community and under her initiative, Long Branch was one of the first library's to create a virtual Career Center. Her initiatives such as the Back to Work Initiative, Virtual Career Center, and Fresh Start Re-Entry programs have all been referenced both statewide and nationally. In 2014 the Long Branch Public Library was awarded the Innovation Award by the New Jersey State Library. Ms. Garcia was awarded a book contract in 2013 by ALA for a book she co-authored, Reaching Underserved Communities in Your Library.

Join Tonya as she candidly shares her personal leadership journey that took her from part-time computer lab monitor to Urban Library Director and 2016 NJLA Librarian of the Year. Tonya will present Mindful Leadership - How to create an empowered, engaged and productive workplace, where she will share what she identifies as "the mindful leadership approach" to help improve employee engagement and cultivate a workplace environment of trust and innovation.

11:00 AM
Building the Ideal Library Program
If you had to design a course to be included in an ideal library degree program, what would it be? What skills are crucial to librarians today? Did your degree prepare you for working with diverse populations and the mentally ill? Was there a balance between practical versus theoretical instruction? Does a library degree need to include the word “library”? Our panel, composed of librarians in different stages in their careers, will explore these concepts and more.

Moderator: Vera Borum, Parsippany Library


  • Ally Blumenfeld, Paterson Free Public Library
  • Brett Bonfield, Princeton Public Library
  • Amelia Rodriguez, Lawrenceville Branch of the Mercer County Library System

Proving Your Worth to the Powers That Be
Raising your profile in the community should include reaching out directly to those who have the power to determine your library’s future. Learn how the Gloucester County Library System developed relationships and proved its value to the people who control the purse strings and the movers and shakers who influence them.


  • Nancy Polhamus, Reference Librarian and Public Information Officer for GCLS
  • Les Vail, President and CEO, Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce

Drop-in Clinic- Tech Accessibility  
Provide an overview on and introduction to accessibility features available on many common operating systems (including Apple ios, Android, Microsoft, Google).

  • Resources provided on how to make the library website accessible. One on one Q&A available.


  • Tara Kehoe, plus other staff members from New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center

12:00 PM - -LUNCH

1:00 PM
Branching Out: Using Pop Up and Little Free Libraries to Expand Your Library’s Reach

Learn how libraries across New Jersey are looking outside their doors to meet patrons where they are. Little Free Libraries and pop up libraries all over the state are helping libraries create unique new “branches” to expand hours and services in a non-traditional way. The panel will discuss getting started, location scouting, staffing, community support, engaging stakeholders, and how to measure your success.

Moderator: Deena Caswell, Cherry Hill


  • Jennifer Breuer, Glen Ridge
  • Melissa Kopecky, South Orange
  • Sharon Vince, The Library Company of Burlington
  • Kerri Wallace, Ridgewood
  • Maria S. Worth, Cliffside Park

Front Line Advocacy: Do You Know How Important You Are?  
It's not just your director's job! Tips for being a library advocate with every patron, every day, in every library and in your community.


  • Allan Kleiman, Montville Public Library
  • Susan Kaplan, Sayreville Public Library
  • Evalina Erbe, South River Public Library

2:00 PM

Guiding Job Seekers on the Pathway to Employment –New Jersey State Library
This session will discuss some of the best tools and resources available that librarians may be using to help their patrons find and apply for jobs, including the new Career Connections website, and highlight how these resources complement each other. There will also be an update on the 19 libraries that received Workforce and Investment Opportunity grants through a partnership between the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the New Jersey State Library in order to expand job seeker services

  • Andrea Simzak Levandowski, Project Manager, Small Business Development and Technology, New Jersey State Library

Readers' Advisory a la Carte
This presentation will touch upon new and innovative ways to provide readers’ advisory services to library users, in-person and online. Topics include: virtual resources and book discovery tools for librarians and patrons, social media as a platform for book discussions, and display tips to utilize for more traditional library users.


  • Tara Kehoe - New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center
  • Mary Piekarski - Piscataway Public Library

Tour of the Monmouth County Archives
The Archives preserves inactive county government records that are retained on a permanent basis in organized record series for historical, genealogical, and other research purposes. These records include documents pertaining to deeds, court cases, naturalizations, and many other subjects. The tour will include the Records Center and the Scanning & Micrographics department.  Take a guided tour of the archives to learn about this valuable resource!

Speaker: Gary Saretzky, Monmouth County Archivist, Monmouth County Library Headquarters—Manalapan

Registration will begin very soon.