New Jersey Library Association Responds to NJ State Library Eliminating Statewide Virtual Reference Service (QandANJ)
NJLA believes the library community must have a voice in determining the programs and services provided by state and federal dollars to the residents of New Jersey. Currently, the NJ State Librarian has two committees with statutory responsibilities in providing direction for the use of state/or federal funds. These committees are the LSTA Advisory Committee and the Library Network Review Board. In order to provide transparency to the library community, the New Jersey State Library must consult with its proper advisory board when budgetary or programmatic changes are to be made. This will give the library community the opportunity to provide input to these critical decisions.
[Our Emphasis] NJLA believes that the decision to eliminate QandANJ should have been presented to the proper advisory board for discussion and input by the library community. The loss of this service has serious implications for the residents of New Jersey and a thoughtful deliberative discussion by the library community would have been beneficial to the library community and the state library. In these days of declining resources NJLA understands that the State Library has the difficult task of balancing the needs of the New Jersey library community and determining how best to utilize these scarce resources. But we also believe the library community’s representatives to the LSTA Advisory Committee and the Library Network Review Board have much to contribute. As the voice of the library community, their advice should be sought and carefully considered.
We don’t know what cuts the final state budget might bring on June 30, but we do know we are losing $357,473 in this year’s federal LSTA money – which funds QandANJ. The QandANJ fixed costs are $300,000 annually. Seven of the 51 libraries participating in QandANJ are on hiatus due to staffing shortages and budget cuts.
Shutting down QandANJ was discussed last year with NJLA, the statewide budget task force, Infolink and the SJRLC executive director. Because NJLA based the South Jersey Works grant on having QandANJ, the program was kept one more year until the grant year ends on June 30, 2011.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.