New Jersey Library Association Statement 

Request to Prioritize Library Workers as Essential Workers in the Vaccine Rollout

We write to you on behalf of the New Jersey Library community and ask you to prioritize library workers as essential service providers in the vaccine rollout program.

Libraries serve as community anchors, and they have continued to serve as the cohesive glue that is binding their communities together, within a COVID-19 environment. Whether it is a public library, an academic library, a school library, or a special library, libraries are a place of refuge. Often during natural disasters, weather extremes, and pandemics, people are asked to find solutions at their libraries. Libraries build community.

Library workers pivoted to many creative service models following the corona virus pandemic. As such, they are in direct contact with the communities they serve. Just like our colleagues in education, library workers serve as knowledge conduits to students, pre-school kids, parents, seniors and the community at large.

Of consequence is the fact that the current pandemic magnified digital inequities among our citizens. Majority of New Jerseyans depend on their libraries for digital access and coaching to navigate digital resources. Library workers therefore are in close contact with the public on a daily basis.

We thrive on being able to provide access to information to the communities we serve. Delaying our priority ranking in the vaccine rollout further delays our ability to support our customers who are desperate to find that next job; or the parents and students who rely on us to make sense out of digital learning.

We ask you to please include library workers in the 1B category of the NJ vaccine rollout, along with our colleagues in education and other frontline workers.

Juliet Machie, Ed.D.                                                                         Jen Schureman Brenner
Executive Director                                                                           President

New Jersey Library Association                                                   New Jersey Library Association
[email protected]                                                                             [email protected]

cc: Dr. Deborah Cornavaca, Deputy Chief of Staff of Outreach.


 New Jersey Library Association Statement
Following the January 6, 2021 Attack on Congress
January 7, 2021

In the aftermath of the insurrection on January 6, 2021 in Washington D.C., the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) condemns the violent attempt to interfere with the peaceful transition of power that is so vital to our Republic.

As information professionals, we abhor disinformation especially when it is intended to disenfranchise the public.  We call on all New Jersey elected officials to adhere to the oath of their office and to cease rhetoric designed to bolster easily disproved allegations that the election was stolen.  It was unequivocally not.

We acknowledge with gratitude the quick resumption of work by Congress and its certification of the November 2020 election results.  While delayed, yesterday’s attack on Congress did not subvert our democracy.

It’s also important that we recognize what happened yesterday.   We saw the disparities in the law enforcement response to this clear act of sedition, as opposed to the law enforcement response to the largely peaceful protests throughout 2020.  We saw the images of police officers taking selfies with terrorists intent on stopping the democratic functions of our Republic.  And while we watched, we remembered the tear gas and rubber bullets used to disperse peaceful protestors in our Nation’s Capitol in 2020.  The New Jersey Library Association recognizes that those disparities are rooted in systemic racism and must be eradicated from our society.

We stand against hate and injustice in all its forms and reaffirm our commitment to do all in our power to fight it.  We are appalled by the flagrant displays of racism and antisemitism so pervasive in the signs and clothing of the terrorists.

NJLA recognizes the need for a transparent and honest accounting of what happened, how it was allowed to happen, and why there were so few arrests.  We call on Congress to begin such an investigation immediately.

Libraries are, rightly, often called the cornerstones of democracy and freedom of speech.  We recognize our unique role in society and embrace the obligation of all libraries to provide residents of New Jersey with the tools needed to combat the dangers of the rampant disinformation infecting our national dialog.  Libraries provide trusted, authentic and vetted knowledge to all.  We must dismantle the systemic racism and other abuses of power that undermine our attempts to become a more just society.  We publicly recommit our Association and our membership to this important work.  We recognize that while there are many points of view necessary to engage in the development of public policy, there is no place in that debate for hate, disinformation, lies and terror.

Jen Schureman-Brenner                                                                             Juliet Machie, Ed.D.
President, NJLA                                                                                           Executive Director, NJLA

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Digital Equity For All Residents

The New Jersey Library Alliance is proposing that a $21 million grant program administered by the NJ State Library be established to support the development of a digitally inclusive state.  This program will give public libraries in every county of New Jersey the opportunity to receive funding to help their residents bridge the digital divide.

Learn more:

The New Jersey Library Alliance Statement: Digital Equity Final.pdf

Digital Equity For All New Jersey Residents Infographic: LLNJ TOPCATS Digital Divide Infographic.pdf

Bridging the Divide - Why Libraries: Bridging the Divide.pdf

WIFI Locator Map (Libraries): Wi-Fi Locator Map.pdf

Established in 1890, the NJLA is the oldest and largest library organization in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Library Association:

  • Advocates for the advancement of library services for the residents of New Jersey
  • Provides continuing education & networking opportunities for librarians
  • Supports the principles of intellectual freedom & promotes access to library materials for all
  • Creates opportunities for new and future librarians
  • Strengthens our professional community

Our office in Trenton, NJ provides services to over 1700 members.


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NJLA Executive Board Full statement - Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter. NJLA acknowledges the structural racism in our organization and profession, and NJLA must do better.

NJLA Executive Board Full statement - Black Lives Matter The New Jersey Library Association stands in solidarity with the Black community, librarians, library workers, library users and with members of the communities we serve. We want our Black, People of Color and marginalized members to know you are valued, affirmed and supported. NJLA acknowledges that in order to continue moving forward, there needs to be consistent work towards recognizing our own biases, welcoming change and taking actions that impact policies and create positive change in the direction of equity and inclusion.

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