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05.21.18 Advocacy Minutes



May 21, 2018 – 10:00 am

Ramsey Public Library


Present:  Riti Grover (Ramsey) and Jenifer May (Secaucus) co-chairs, Patty Durso (Allendale), Cindy Czesak (BCCLS Office), Darlene Swistock (BCCLS Office), Emiliana Tuohey (Fair Lawn), Ellen O'Keefe (Glen Rock), (Georgene Betterbed (Glen Rock Friend), Laurie Meeske (Hackensack), Lisa Traina (Hasbrouck Heights Friend), Shinae Hyun (Haworth), Elysse Fink (Leonia), Amy Babcock Landry (Livingston), Larry Bergmann (Livingston Trustee), Peter Wendrychowicz (Mahwah Trustee), Katie Piano (Palisades Park), Donna Perkosky (Paramus), Kerri Wallace (Ridgewood), Lynn Kloss (Teaneck Friend) and Julie Marallo (Tenafly).


Not Present:  Mike Banick (Millburn), Jeanne Sylvester (Nutley), Robin Rockman (Oradell), Susan Kumar (Palisades Park), Tom Madru (Park Ridge Trustee) and Dave Cubie (West Orange). 


1.  Welcome:

The meeting was called to order at 10:15 am by Riti Grover.  Riti welcomed everyone:  those who were members of the Friends, Government Relations & Public Policy, Public Relations and Trustee Development Committees as well as those who are new to the Advocacy Committee.  Everyone went around the room to introduce themselves and share which BCCLS committees they have served on previously.   

In addition, Trustee Development gave an update on their plans for a fall program on the Johnson Legislation:  Lynn Kloss is in the process of securing Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, author of the bill, and Tom Madru is re-contacting John Chrastka, of Every Library, to speak about helping libraries put together a campaign for additional funding.   

Also, the Friends are hosting “Building Your Capital Campaign” for Friends and Trustees at Maywood Public Library on June 6 and the Friends Breakfast on October 23.  Georgene has arranged for Harlan Coban to be the guest speaker and they are asking everyone to help with donations of prizes for the silent auction.   

Riti mentioned that she is on the NJLA Public Policy Committee and Amy is on the NJLA Executive Board.  Riti informed all that she is scheduled to speak with John Chrastka from EveryLibrary along with the Executive Director from LMXaC on June 6th regarding a multiconsortial or statewide integrated approach towards the advocacy/education for Johnson Legislature and Construction Bond Act.   


2.  Overview and Review of 2018-2019 Charges:


Provides public-facing advocacy that supports increased awareness of library issues, including sustainability and public funding.  Combines the previous Friends, Trustee Development, Government Relations and PR committees into a single committee that can better coordinate all aspects of outward-facing advocacy.   


1.  Work with Scholarship Committee to host Annual Friends Breakfast in October.

2.  Work with eBCCLS to promote new eContent platform.

3.  Keep members informed of opportunities for advocacy on local and state levels.  Evaluate possible library advocacy day in 2019.

4.  Work with NJLA to advocate for the restoration of full funding of per capita state aid.

5.  Document best practices on how to successfully advocate among trustees, friends and elected officials for increased funding under the Johnson Legislation passed last year. 

a.  1st session, focus on trustees: What is the Johnson Legislation and should your library pursue a referendum campaign to increase funding?

b.  2nd session, focus on the process: Understand two paths to get your referendum on the ballot, through Municipal sponsorship or through signatures.  How do you approach elected officials to get it sponsored?  How do you determine what is the best approach for your community and if you go the route of signatures, how do you go about that?

c.  3rd session, focus on friends:   Once you have your referendum on the ballot, how do you conduct an effective advocacy campaign that will win in your community?  What can the library do?  What is the role of advocates like the Friends?   What is the most effective message? etc.

6.  Distribute timely, relevant information related to the Library Construction Bond Act.  Prepare an informational program with best practices to submit a winning grant application. 

7.  Research and present a program on fostering thriving Friends organizations that build and strengthen relationships with library board, director, staff and the public.

Jen reviewed the above charges and asked for volunteers to get a general idea of everyone's interests:


Charge #1: 

Ellen, Emiliana, Georgene, Laurie, Lynn, Jeanne (?) and Robin (?)

Darlene will continue to be the liaison for this charge.  Georgene asked for a list of the scholarship winners and a 2-line bio to send to Harlan Coban's office.  As liaison to the Scholarship Committee, Darlene will provide that information once the awards have been decided.


Charge #2:

Donna, Elyse, Emiliana, Katie and Kerry

Cindy advised that the eBCCLS Committee really does not exist anymore.  Their charge was to increase awareness and use of e-content and to generate support for funding to purchase additional e-content.   

Donna has already created marketing material for the Libby app and will share it.  It will be helpful to have an information flyer for boards when asking for additional funding. 


Charge #3:

Amy, Ellen, Julie, Kerry, Larry, Lynn, Peter, Dave (?), Mike (?), Tom (?)

Riti mentioned that April was Advocacy Month and the National Legislative Days were held during the first week of May.  She asked about BCCLS hosting an Advocacy Day in March as a warm-up to Advocacy Month.  Amy advised that when the group meets, they will come up with a date. 


Charge #4:

Jen advised that this is an ongoing charge that can be accomplished via e-mails, but the meetings coordinated between the library advocates and state legislators need to happen soon as the state budget is voted on by June 30th.  NJLA is also working on this.  It is critical because State Aid per capital continues to go down; it is at 1/3 of its prior funding level; they are asking for $10.5MM.  This is a short-term project for everyone to approach their elected officials.  The Analyzing Expenses spreadsheet lists the names of all of the libraries and their representatives.  Riti reminded everyone to complete the advocacy efforts survey (the e-mail, with the link, was sent out earlier this month) and that 4 entries would be drawn to win a $20 Starbucks gift card.  Members of the former Government Relations & Public Policy Committee are not eligible to win, but everyone else is eligible.  Darlene will resend the survey to everyone. 


Charge #5 (a, b, c):

Georgene, Larry, Lisa, Lynn, Patty, Peter, Shinae, Cindy, Dave (?), Mike (?), Tom (?). 

Darlene will continue to be the liaison for this charge.  This may be a joint program:  half day focus for Friends and a half day focus for trustees.  Possibly it would be similar to the informative Legislative Session that Riti created last April when Rose Heck, Pat Tumulty, Jeanne Marie Ryan, Ruth Rando and her board president all spoke about the impact of the Construction Bond Act.  This could be a daylong session with someone from NJLA, Every Library, an elected official and a grant writer.  Attendees would not need to attend the full day; they could attend the sessions that are most relevant to them.  The committee hopes to save money by combining speakers with a lot of PR to promote the event to increase the number of attendees.  Lynn reminded everyone that she has been in touch with Assemblyman Johnson's scheduler and asked “what is the ask?”. Patty clarified the trustees were working on a program with Assemblyman Johnson providing a brief introduction about his bill and John Chrastka from Every Library providing the nuts and bolts.  Donna suggested educating directors, trustees, friends, staff and stakeholders at 1 event.  Amy felt that the Johnson Legislation, the Construction Bond Act and how to contact legislators could each be a different session.   

Amy mentioned coordinating with NJLA and Riti advised that the timing to receive information about the Construction Bond Act has been delayed from the spring to fall. 


Charge #6:

Amy, Julie, Laurie, Larry, Lynn, Patty, Peter, Dave (?), Mike (?), Tom (?).


Charge #7:

Ellen, Elyse, Georgene, Lisa, Laurie and Lynn.  Darlene will be the liaison for this charge.   

At this time, Jen advised that the Advocacy Committee plans to hold quarterly meetings for all and bi-monthly meetings with group/charge reps, and suggests that groups have at least a monthly meeting (in person or via phone) on their own.  She asked that the groups send a rep to the bi-monthly meeting with Riti and Jen.  Darlene will provide a list of the preliminary groups to all.  Of course, these groups can change as needed.   

Riti noted that the Advocacy Committee may collaborate with the DTF and LAMP Committee on some events/charges.  In order to advocate for funding for delivery, directors will need to educate their boards. 

There was a discussion about sending e-mails to directly to trustees, similar to how the Friends have a mailing list.  We will ask the trustees to “opt-in” and create a separate mailing list for Trustees.  Each group may receive the same e-mail from time-to-time, but we do not want to combine them into one “advocacy” mailing list because all of the information may not always be applicable to Friends and Trustees.   

Riti, Jen and Darlene will meet later to discuss how communications from members of the “Advocacy Committee” will be titled going forward.  It is important to unify everyone under the advocacy umbrella, but we need to be sure that the transition is clear to the recipients of these communications.  For example, if they receive an e-mail from the Advocacy Committee, they might not know who it is and may not open the e-mail.   


3.  Old Business:

The minutes for the last meeting of Government Relations & Public Policy Committee on February 14, 2018 were approved by Riti Grover and seconded by Jenifer May. 


4.  New Business: 

  • Welcome and introduction of members – see above.
  • Allocation of charges – 2018-2019 – see above.
  • Review of calendar – see above.
  • Friends Group - update on Build Your Capital Campaign – 6/6/18 – see above. 


5.  Next Meeting: 

  • Thu, 7/19 - 1:00 pm (Secaucus Public Library) – 1 rep from each group/charge to attend
  • TBD – full Advocacy Committee quarterly meeting 


6.  Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 12:05 p.m.



dms:  5/27/18

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