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09.25.18 Advocacy Minutes (DRAFT)

D     R     A     F     T




September 25, 2018 – 10:00 am

Paramus Public Library



Present:  Jenifer May (Secaucus) and Judah Hamer (Rutherford) co-chairs, Ellen O'Keefe (Glen Rock), Laurie Meeske (Hackensack), Lisa Traina (Hasbrouck Heights Friend), Shinae Hyun (Haworth), Larry Bergmann (Livingston Trustee), Mike Banick (Millburn), Donna Perkosky (Paramus), Tom Madru (Park Ridge Trustee), Lynn Kloss (Teaneck Friend) and Darlene Swistock (BCCLS Office Liaison).


Not Present:  Patty Durso (Allendale), Emiliana Tuohey (Fair Lawn), (Georgene Betterbed (Glen Rock Friend), Elyse Fink (Leonia), Amy Babcock Landry (Livingston), Peter Wendrychowicz (Mahwah Trustee), Jeanne Sylvester (Nutley), Robin Rockman (Oradell), Susan Kumar (Palisades Park), Katie Piano (Palisades Park), Kerri Wallace (Ridgewood), Julie Marallo (Tenafly) and Dave Cubie (West Orange).



1.  Welcome:

Jenifer welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order at 10:15 am.  She asked everyone to introduce themselves and give their library affiliation.   


2.  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.

Jenifer reviewed the above charges and re-confirmed volunteers to get a general idea of everyone's interests:


Charge #1: 

Ellen is the group leader. 

Of those present, Laurie and Lynn are assisting with this charge.


Charge #2:

Donna is the group leader.

No one else present is assisting with this charge.


Charge #3:

Tom will be the group leader for this charge when it becomes active.

Donna offered help from the PR Group to publicize this effort.


Charge #4:

Judah will be the group leader for this charge.  He advised that NJLA is focusing their efforts on restoring full funding of per capita state aid.  Larry asked how much libraries are underfunded.

Judah said that if restoration of full finding of PCSA is successful, it would more than double the amount that libraries receive from the state.  Judah stressed that full funding of PCSA would be so helpful for libraries in BCCLS is that they could use these funds to help with delivery costs.  He noted that this is a reason for every BCCLS member library to help with the PCSA effort in the coming legislative cycle.   

Judah relayed how LLNJ is also now asking the State for a funding lifeline.  If LLNJ is not successful in this effort, it will opt to dissolve.  However, because they have functioned at a deficit for years, a 1-year granting of funds only delays LLNJ's need to establish financial sustainability (and stability).  A problem with the LLNJ advocacy effort is that it sets up a competing agenda for the library community from the state, when their target for advocacy should indeed be the State Library.  This sends a mixed message to legislators about where the library community really needs the most help.   

Donna asked about rallying the public for funding for delivery or for LLNJ, similar to how the media reported on the delivery crisis.  Judah commented that he thought it inadvisable for BCCLS to set up an additional competing priority, a la LLNJ, because this only increases the chances that a lack of unity in the library community will lead to none of these requests being fulfilled.  Judah said he would be following up with an email about the next steps in advocacy for PCSA.


Charge #5 (a, b, c):

Ellen asked to be added to this charge.


Charge #6:

Due to timing issues, Jenifer advised that information will be sent electronically when there are updates.  There will not be a program focused on the Library Construction Bond Act at this time.


Charge #7:

Ellen is the group leader for this charge.  The Friends Group will be hosting a program about the impact of the new tax laws on non-profits on December 4. 



3.  Old Business:

● The minutes for the prior meeting of the Advocacy Committee held on May 21, 2018 were approved by Donna Perkosky and seconded by Lisa Traina.

● The minutes of the Advocacy Group Leader meeting held on August 17, 2018 were approved by Ellen O'Keefe and seconded by Donna Perkosky.



4.  New Business:

Recap past committee events and activities

− Donna advised that the Bergen County Senior Picnic was rescheduled twice due to the weather and was ultimately cancelled.  She and children's librarians from New Milford and Paramus participated in the Bergen County Fun Fest; they interacted with 250 families and did crafts with 80 children.  She noted the diverse group of attendees:  Korean, Indian, Japanese, Chinese.  They are also continuing to promote eBCCLS and Libby.

− Ellen reported that, so far, there are 242 paid attendees and 36 more have said they are coming to the Friends Breakfast on October 23.  She submitted a committee funding request to cover supplies purchased for the breakfast and for the thank you Lucite library card for guest speaker Harlan Coben.  If anyone on the Advocacy Committee wants to help with the breakfast, there is a work session at Glen Rock on October 17 and if anyone has connections, donations of tickets for games and other events would be very helpful.  Lastly, she mentioned the group will work on the tax presentation program in December once the breakfast is finished. 

− Tom explained that the trustees started to plan a program about the Johnson Legislation and then it was decided that something would be offered at the state level.  Then they focused their efforts on the Construction Bond Act, but that was put on hold pending directives from the state.  Ultimately, they decided to go in a different direction.  Leslie Burger will present “Futureproofing Your Library” on November 8 and 9.  It will be a 90-minute presentation followed by Q&A.  She will focus on 4 of the 12 topics mentioned in her proposal and touch upon the other 8 topics and just briefly mention the Johnson Legislation. 


Review upcoming committee events and activities – see above.


Assign charges not yet in process – see above.


Review Friends Breakfast – 10/23/18 – see above.


Discuss Advocacy Day - 3/2019

Jenifer sees this as a kick-off to the state legislative advocacy month of April.  Darlene explained that it would be set up like a pep rally with balloons, music, BCCLS materials and information about contacting local legislators.  This event would be for library staff with a possible second event for legislators.  Jenifer thanked Lynn for her efforts to secure Assemblyman Johnson to speak a BCCLS event in the fall that was ultimately canceled, but hopes that he can speak at another time.


Advocacy Committee e-mail blast

Jenifer would like a quarterly e-mail to be sent with updates from the committee, NJLA, etc. along with information about upcoming events.  Shinae will take the lead on this and Judah will assist. 


5.  Next Meeting: 

● 10/11 @ 1:00 pm or 10/9 @ 10:00 am – Government Relations & Public Policy Group meeting (Park Ridge) - location to be confirmed

● 10/30 @ 10:00 am – Group Leader Meeting:  1 rep from each group/charge to attend (Glen Rock)

● 11/29 @ 10:00 am – full Advocacy Committee quarterly meeting (Hasbrouck Heights) - location to be confirmed


Ellen asked about posting minutes/notes from the group meetings to the KB.  Jenifer asked that the groups provide a brief update in the KB; it is not necessary to post detailed notes from working group meetings. 


6.  Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 am. on a motion by Lisa Traina and seconded by Mike Banick.



dms:  9/26/18


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