Call for proposals for ASCLA online professional development series

ASCLA seeks proposals for presentations for its 2011 Virtual Convergence—a series of professional development webinars that will be held in January 2011 immediately following the ALA 2011 Midwinter Meeting.

The Virtual Convergence is an opportunity for librarians to kick off 2011 with an intensive professional development opportunity they can conveniently pursue from the comfort of their hometown. The Convergence will offer webinars throughout the day from Tuesday, Jan. 18 through Friday, Jan. 21, that are open to all interested librarians, library staff and library supporters. ASCLA is currently seeking proposals for those webinar sessions.

Successful proposals will:

  • Show plans for presentations that fit within the 90-minute session blocks, including at least 15 minutes for Q&A.
  • Show how the presentation addresses a topic either of interest to ASCLA members, or represents an area of ASCLA’s expertise that benefits other types of librarians. This may include but is not limited to: financial management; strategic planning; grant writing; services to special populations including the blind, deaf and hard of hearing and the incarcerated; and library consulting. Past topics addressed by ASCLA programming are listed in the ASCLA @ Annual 2010 guide (PDF), as well as the version of the guide that covers 2009 Annual Conference programming (PDF).
  • Include an outline of the points the presentation will cover.
  • Outline the audiences that will be interested in this topic.
  • Include a description of the presenter and their relevant experience, e.g. education, job history, that illustrates their expertise in the proposed topic area.

Proposals may be submitted using the online submission form no later than close of business on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010. Presenters for accepted proposals will receive compensation for their time and will also receive training for the webinar software. Questions about ASCLA or the Convergence can be directed to Liz Markel, ASCLA marketing specialist or Susan Hornung, ASCLA executive director at and, respectively.

More information about the Virtual Convergence schedule, registration rates and other event details will be posted on the ASCLA blog and ASCLA website in mid-October, 2010.

Norma Blake elected ASCLA vice president/president-elect

Norma E. Blake has been elected to serve  as vice president/president-elect of 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.