NJLA College and University Section

The New Jersey Chapter of the Association of College & Research Libraries, also the College and University Section of the New Jersey Library Association, works to enhance the effectiveness of academic and research librarians. We provide opportunities for professional development, continuing education, and networking. There are a number of active committees covering a wide range of library interests allowing librarians to tailor their involvement to their own professional and personal interests.


Member Spotlight:

Getting to know: .

Amanda Cowell
Emerging Technologies Librarian
The College of New Jersey Library

  1. I grew up in Mount Kisco, NY, which is a small town about an hour north of New York City
  2. My first job ever was as a page in my local library in Mahopac NY when I was 16.The building was old and had been converted to a library from an ice cream shop in the late 60’s.It had an old fashioned rope pulled dumbwaiter and a scary, dark basement where we stored the periodicals.I spent a lot of time shelving books and shelf-reading but I also got in trouble a lot for hiding in corners reading books.A few times I even got to type up new catalog cards.
  3. How long have you been a Librarian? 4 years.I graduated from Rutgers with my MLIS in May of 2010.
  4. What drew you to Librarianship or your particular area of specialization in Libraries? I spent my childhood and adolescence hanging out in public libraries.I wanted to be part of the library but I didn’t understand how my interests and skills qualified me for librarianship.I had no idea what librarians did.I ended up going to engineering school and majoring in computer science.I worked for 6 years as a software engineer building radar systems for Navy ships, but the desire to be a librarian never went away.Finally, in 2007 I quit my job, enrolled at Rutgers and started working towards my MLIS.
  5. What has been your most rewarding experience as a professional so far? The most rewarding experience I have had so far has been helping students.I did not initially set out to be a reference librarian.I didn’t understand the role reference librarians had among modern technology, and I wasn’t looking to be a teacher, so I have been surprised and amazed by what a positive experience it has been.I love the look of relief on a student’s face after showing them how to find what they need.The overall impact is small comparatively, but the small moments of success are frequent and uplifting.
  6. What are your favorite ways to stay on top of Library trends? As an emerging technologies librarian, staying on top of library trends is an important part of my day to day work.The best way I have found is by talking to people and hearing about the things they are doing in their libraries.Reading about a new product or a new way of performing a task only gives half the story, but talking to someone who is actually doing it gives a much clearer picture of what the change will actually mean.
  7. What do you find most valuable about your NJLA CUS / ACRL-NJ membership? The best part of my NJLA CUS / ACRL-NJ membership is the opportunity to work with and meet people in libraries across NJ. I attended the NJLA Conference for the first time in 2013 while job hunting and I felt like an outsider.I knew no one.When I came to TCNJ after working in Brooklyn for a year and a half I felt very disconnected from the NJ library community.After joining several NJLA CUS / ACRL-NJ committees I had the opportunity to meet and connect with so many librarians from institutions across the state.When I attended NJLA again in 2014 I felt as if I couldn’t walk anywhere without passing someone I knew.The organization has given me a great sense of community that has meant a lot to me both professionally and personally.
  8. The best part of my day is when I pick my two children up from school. I love my job, but it’s always good to go home.
NJLA 2015 Conference Call for Proposals

Libraries on the Edge is the theme for the 2015 NJLA Annual Conference so if you are feeling edgy, why not submit a proposal? 

Don’t miss this opportunity to share your ideas and innovations and network with colleagues from the around the state at the beautiful and newly renovated Ocean Place hotel in conveniently located Long Branch, NJ. The Conference is April 20-April 22, 2015, which is a great time to visit the Jersey shore.

All proposals must be sponsored by a College and University Section Committee so check this page for committees and contact information http://cus.njla.org/   Be sure to obtain sponsorship and include this information in the proposal.

Additionally, you may wish to have another section co-sponsor your proposal to increase your chances of being accepted.  You can review the list of committees and sections here: http://www.njla.org/committeesandsections

The due date for submission of proposals is Friday, November 14, 2014 at 5:00pm. Please complete the online form at: http://bit.do/NJLA-CUS_2015  

For more information, see the NJLA 2015 Conference Website at:  http://njlaconference.info/ Questions?  Please contact Elizabeth Leonard elizabeth.leonard@shu.edu


2014 Research Award Winner and Forum Presenters

It is the pleasure of the NJLA CUS/ACRL-NJ Research Committee to announce the winner of the 2014 Research AwardDavida Scharf, Director of Reference and Instructional Services at New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Van Houten Library, for her chapter “College Students as Wikipedia Editors: New Pathways to Information Literacy,” in Successful Strategies for Teaching Undergraduate Research (Scarecrow Press, 2013), edited by Marta Deyrup and Beth Bloom of Seton Hall University.

Please join us in congratulating Davida! A formal presentation of the awards will take place at the College and University Section’s luncheon on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, during the NJLA Annual Conference at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City, NJ.  Davida will be presenting on her exciting work engaging students during the Research Award Forum later in the afternoon. A review of her chapter can be found in the November 13th issue of Library Journal: http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2013/11/reference/wiki-literacy/.

The Forum (2:30-4:30) will also feature two presentations of research in progress. Heather Dalal and Art Taylor (Rider University) will present “Student Evaluation of Internet Information Sources and Information Literacy Standards: Results from a Student Survey.”  Jenny Pierce, Lisa Price, Kevin Block, Micki McIntyre, and Jan Skica (Rowan University) will present “Incoming Health Science Students Views on Technology and Libraries.”

Registration information for NJLA 2014  is online at: http://njlaconference.info/  The early registration deadline is May 13th.


Melissa A. Hofmann, Co-chair, Research Committee
Bibliographic Control Librarian, Rider University

Karen Pifher, Co-Chair, Research Committee
Branch Director, Peapack & Gladstone Library, Somerset County Library System

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