For immediate release | August 3, 2010

Norma Blake elected ASCLA vice president/president-elect

CHICAGO—Norma E. Blake has been elected to serve as vice president/president-elect of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA).

Blake has served New Jersey libraries for more than 30 years and has been the New Jersey State Librarian for the last nine years. During her tenure at the State Library, Blake has played a leadership role in many significant projects that have helped libraries to evolve towards the service and technology expectations of the future. She has led libraries toward the future through the development of innovative programs that serve as national models for delivering services to all populations of library patrons. This includes creating New Jersey’s first statewide marketing campaign for libraries; implementing a highly successful interlibrary loan system; developing New Jersey’s first Web portal and virtual reference services, providing access to statewide resources; providing statewide Internet access for libraries through JerseyConnect; expanding popular statewide programs such as the Statewide Summer Reading Program for children and teens; and encouraging the implementation of innovative programs and services for the blind, deaf and hard of hearing at the New Jersey State Library’s Talking Book and Braille Center.

This long list of accomplishments has not gone unnoticed—the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative won the Innovation award from the National Council of State Governments for helping New Jersey’s economy by providing specialized databases for small businesses, researchers, students and teachers. Numerous grants have also been awarded, including two IMLS federal grants for librarian recruitment, a federal grant for developing the New Jersey Digital Highway and Live Homework Help. Her most recent achievement was securing $7.5 million in grants from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Programs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for computer security, hardware and broadband.

"I am honored to have been selected to serve as vice president/president elect, " said Blake. "There is a great diversity among the divisions of ASCLA, and every one of its sections has been hard hit by tough economic times. ASCLA is one of the best vehicles for providing members with the tools to sustain and grow their institutions now and in better times to come."

Blake serves her profession as a member of New Jersey Network’s Citizens Advisory Board; the Board of the Southern New Jersey Development Council; SCALES, the State Council of Adult Literacy Education Services and the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. She is affiliated with the New Jersey Library Association and the American Library Association. She is also liaison to the Urban Libraries Council for COSLA, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies; secretary of Chief Officers of State Library Agencies in the Northeast; and member-at-large of the State Library Agency Section (SLAS) of ASCLA. Her professional accolades have been plentiful: she was selected as the New Jersey Library Association's Librarian of the Year, elected President of NJLA, a member in the Leadership NJ Class of 2000, received the Distinguished Service Award 2005, by NJLA-CUS-ACRL NJ, was named a 2008 Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern NJ and was selected by Library Journal as the 2008 Librarian of the Year.

Blake began her term at the conclusion ALA’s 2010 Annual Conference. A complete list of ASCLA election results are posted at the ASCLA blog.

ASCLA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a diverse organization of librarians and support staff who work in academic and public libraries, state agencies, specialized libraries and multi-type cooperatives, as well as those who are self-employed. Not an ASCLA member, but interested in discounted registration rates on conference, ASCLA preconferences and other ASCLA events? Join, renew or add ASCLA to your ALA membership at