New Jersey State Librarian Norma Blake announced that she plans to retire this July, closing the book on a distinguished career that has served New Jersey libraries for more than 36 years, including 10 years as the New Jersey State Librarian.
“Norma has played a critical role in helping New Jersey libraries meet service and technology expectations of the future,” said Dr. George A. Pruitt, president of Thomas Edison State College. “She has been a tremendous state librarian and leaves big shoes for us to fill.”
The college is conducting a national search to find the next New Jersey State Librarian and has formed a search committee comprised of members of the New Jersey library community who will work with a nationally-recognized search firm to conduct interviews and recommend a list of finalists.
During her tenure as state librarian, Blake was a trailblazer who launched many innovative projects that have helped New Jersey libraries serve as national models for delivering services to all populations of library patrons. She spearheaded the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative (NJKI), which provided specialized databases for small businesses, researchers, students and teachers. The project received over 15 million downloads in two years, and won the Innovation Award from the National Council of State Governments for helping New Jersey’s economy – saving New Jersey tax payers $68.5 million over retail prices.
Blake also led creation of New Jersey’s first statewide marketing campaign for libraries; implemented a highly successful interlibrary loan system; developed New Jersey’s first library web portal; provided statewide Internet access for libraries; expanded popular statewide programs for children, teens and adults; and encouraged the implementation of innovative programs and services for the blind, deaf, and physically impaired at the New Jersey State Library’s Talking Book and Braille Center.
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