Volume 27, Number 1, Spring 2005

Recruiting for New Jersey's Libraries

by Connie Paul, Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative

The goal of N.J.’s library recruiting initiatives is to make sure that our libraries continue to have staff as good as we are, and even more representative of the communities we serve.

How are we doing this? Recruiting brochures (we have five), our Web site, our Open Houses, our IMLS grant, our pin (Ask Me Why I Love What I Do), our pencils and mousepads, and most recently our six-minute DVD, “Make a Difference at an Urban Public Library.”

Who is involved? And who pays? Our goal is to get every library staff member to be a recruiter. (We do ask that they wear their pins only when they are loving what they do.) The recruiting effort started as a goal from the members of the Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative. Board members took up the challenge, formed a committee, and persuaded their reluctant executive director (me) that recruiting was our job. Three years ago State Librarian Norma Blake offered CJRLC a contract to take their efforts statewide.

How can I find out more about the Open Houses and brochures? The Web site has suggestions for holding open houses, information about getting the pins, and other tools for librarians, as well as lots of useful information for people thinking about librarianship as a career.

And the IMLS grant? Working with the N.J. State Library, Rutgers SCILS, Thomas Edison State College, and the N.J. Library Association, we received a grant which is testing our assumption that the best place to find librarians for urban libraries is in the libraries themselves. We have a link to that grant on our Web page also. The grant is in its second year. Our new DVD is part of that grant project. It is a six-minute program with interviews of people working in three N.J. urban libraries to find out why they love what they do. Copies of the DVD were given out at the ALA Recruitment Forum in Boston.

N.J. loves its libraries, and N.J. librarians are working to ensure that that is always true.

For more information, contact Connie Paul.