New NELA Website!

Have you seen the new NELA website

Let us know what you think! Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section.  We’d love to hear from you!

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Member for Member Program

Want to save on your NELA dues next year?
Current members are our best source for finding new members who would benefit from all that NELA has to offer! Every time a new member joins NELA, we are made stronger. Each current member who recruits a new member is eligible for a special $10 “Thank You” coupon that can be used toward the following year’s membership or any NELA-sponsored conferences and workshops. There is no limit to the number of coupons you can earn.

Contact a prospective member and talk about the benefits of NELA:

  • Networking and mentoring opportunities with librarians in the New England area
  • Preferred rates at annual conferences and workshops
  • Leadership training through the New England Library Leadership Symposium (NELLS)
  • Financial assistance for graduate MLS programs
  • Continuing education opportunities

To receive the coupon:

  • Be sure the new member includes your name on the “Member-For-A-Member” line so that you can receive your $10 coupon.
  • NELA will mail one to you each time an application with your name listed as the recruiter is processed.
  • Send your coupon(s) in with your membership renewal or conference registration form and save!

To learn more, contact the Membership Committee at

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NELA Officers: Election Results

NELA Officers: Election Results

Meet the incoming officers.  Stephen Spohn, Amy Howlett, and Denise Van Zanten will assume leadership positions in NELA in October.  The new officers come on board at the Annual Business Meeting on October 22nd in Portland Maine.

Steve Spohn

Vice President / President Elect

Stephen Spohn

Stephen has been active professionally in the New England library community since 2008.  As a consultant and trainer, he has provided planning and assessment services to libraries and library organizations.  He is coauthor of the Library Strategic Planning Toolkit, and his projects have been showcased regionally and nationally.  In NELA he has served as Chair of the LGBT Section, as a member of the Membership committee and the Conference Committee.  Stephen’s commitment to NELA will be for three years, first as Chair of the Conference Committee, second as President of our organization, and third as advisor and Chair of the Nominating Committee

Amy Howlett

Junior Director

Amy Howlett

Amy is Library Development Consultant with the Vermont Department of Libraries working with public libraries primarily in southern Vermont.  Her recent NELA experience includes 2013 Conference Committee and 2011 NELLS mentor.  Amy is a member of ALA, PLA and the Vermont Library Association.  She will serve NELA for two years, both in helping to direct the business of the organization and in connecting NELA’s services to our members.

Denise VanZanten


Denise Van Zanten

Denise is the Director of the Manchester Public Library (NH).  She cites the New England Library Association as an asset over the course of her career providing professional resources along with the opportunity to work with many wonderful colleagues across the region.  Denise brings with her the financial experience gained as Chair of the Finance Group of the GMILCS Consortium.  She has served on the NELA Conference Committee since 2005.  Her professional memberships include NHLA, NHLTA, NELA, PLA and ALA.  As NELA Treasurer, Denise will serve a two year term.

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NELLS (New England Library Leadership Symposium)

The New England Library Association is proud to announce that twenty-eight librarians from New England have been chosen to attend the 2013 New England Library Leadership Symposium (NELLS.)  Founded in 2002, NELLS is an intensive one week symposium for early to mid-career librarians, library staff members, Friends and Trustees.  This year’s program will be held July 29-August 2 at the Rolling Ridge Conference and Retreat Center in North Andover, MA.  As in past years the Symposium will be led by nationally-known library leadership trainer and the Immediate Past President of the American Library Association, Maureen Sullivan.  Recently retired Executive Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Robert C. Maier will be a special guest speaker, and representatives from the five participating state library associations will participate in a panel discussion as well.

The 2013 Participants are:


Christine Angeli, Head of Circulation Services at the Russell Library  in Middletown.

Brandie Doyle, Business & Career Resources Librarian at the Russell Library in Middletown.

Karen Jensen, Director of the James Blackstone Memorial Library  in Branford.

Sarah McCusker, Head of Reference and Technical Services at Windsor Public Library


Devin Burritt, Assistant Director & Head of Youth Services at the Wells Public Library.

Samantha Cote, Associate Director for Youth Services & Technology at the Jackson Memorial Library in Tenants Harbor.

Sonja Durney, Business & Government Team Leader at the Portland Public Library.

Ann Filley, Circulation & Adult Services Librarian at the Rockport Public Library.

Beth Kane, Library Director at the Norway Memorial Library in Norway.

Kate Pickup-McMullin, Assistant Librarian at Southwest Harbor Public Library.

Kara Reiman, Children’s Services Assistant at the Westbrook Public Library.

Holly Williams, Circulation & Catalog Librarian at the Pittsfield Public Library.


Matthew Amory, Reference Librarian/Technology Specialist at the Wayland Free Public Library.

Jenny Arch,  Adult Services Librarian at the Robbins Library in Arlington.

Maura Deedy,  Head of Reference & Adult Services at the Weymouth Public Libraries.

Virginia Hewitt,  Director at the Brooks Free Library in Harwich.

Beth McIntyre, Youth Services Librarian at the Cambridge Public Library.

Sarah Moser, Assistant Director at the Haverhill Public Library.

Meaghan Thompson, Teen & Technology Librarian at the Turner Free Library in Randolph.

Anna Tschetter, Young Adult Librarian at the Nevins Memorial Library in Methuen.

Danitta Wong, Reference Outreach Instruction Librarian at the Healey Library of UMASS/Boston.


Catherine Callegari, Director of the Gay-Kimball Library in Troy.

Chelsea Hanrahan,  Distance Services Librarian/Assistant Professor at the New England College in Henniker.

Betsy Mahoney,  Library Assistant at the Baker Free Library  in Bow.

Sophie Smith,  Supervisor of Teen Services at the Nashua Public Library.


Barbara Ball, Director of the Windsor Public Library.

Debbie Landauer, Director of the Fairfax Community Library in Fairfax.

Lydia Willoughby, Reference Librarian at the Hartness Library System of the VT Technical College in Randolph Center.

Each year at least one Mentor Librarian is chosen from each participating state, and for 2013 six outstanding library professionals have been chosen for this role.

VLA Past President Marti Fiske of the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston will be attending the Symposium and serving as a Mentor for Vermont.

Maine will have two Mentors, two Regional Consultants from the Maine State Library, Valerie Osborne from Central Maine and the Bangor Public Library, and Stephanie Zurinski who covers Northern Maine.

The Massachusetts Mentor will be Zach Newell, Reference and Instruction Librarian at Salem State University, and the Co-Chair of the NELA Public Relations Committee and the Chair of the new MLA Social Responsibilities Round Table.

Caitlin Augusta, Children’s Librarian at the Stratford Public Library in Connecticut and Co-Chair of Connecticut’s “Take Your Child to the Library Day” will represent her state.

New Hampshire Mentor will be Dianne Hathaway, Director of the Goffstown Public Library, and a former Senior Director and Current By-Laws Chair for NELA.

NELLS 2013 is co-chaired by Mary Etter of the South Windsor CT Public Library, and Krista I. McLeod, of the Nevins Library in Methuen, MA.  Both are Past Presidents of NELA.


The five state library associations have partnered with NELA to ensure the success of this program since its inception.  The Rhode Island Library Association was also a founding partner of the Symposium.  Since 2011 the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has been a major supporter of NELLS, and this year the Maine State Library joined the partnership to support the program.  The state associations work with NELA to contribute funds to the project, to promote the program and select participants, and to provide scholarship support.

This year’s NELLS is the fifth time the Symposium has been held; previous classes have occurred in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2011.


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Spotlight: Jason Soohoo

Jason Soohoo

Jason Soohoo recently joined NELA as the representative for the Academic Librarians Section.

Jason is the new education resource librarian at Salem State University.  Jason earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Roger Williams University in 2001 and a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in 2004. He is continuing his graduate education at Salem State University and is currently enrolled in the Master’s in Education in Technology program. Jason has a love for libraries and has worked at the Melrose Public Library since the age of 14. Jason continues to work part-time at the Winchester Public Library as a reference librarian and in the Melrose Public Library children’s department. Since 2010, he has served in the additional role of visiting instructor for computer science at Salem State and teaches the course ITC 100: Computers and Their Uses.

On a personal note, Jason says: “When I’m not in my office at the library, or teaching the computer course, or working on Sundays at Melrose and Winchester, I like to spend time with my family. My wife and I have a soon to be two year old son that we cherish oh so much! We are also expecting our second child in July. I’m also a huge sports fan, especially all my Boston sports teams, and of course, being a librarian, I love to read!”


Zach Newell sat down for an informal chat (over coffee) to get to know Jason better.

Z: What drew you to NELA?

J: I wanted to get more involved in the profession.  I love that NELA is focused on all types of libraries around New England.  As you know, I have experience in both public and academic libraries.  I also have a love for all things New England.

Z: What does the NELA Academic Librarians Section do?

J:   One of our primary responsibilities is planning for the Annual conference.  It is really exciting bringing in speakers and forming programs of diverse interest to academic librarians around the region.  I really enjoy making contacts with other academic librarians.   My hope is to grow academic membership in NELA.  I am currently working with other members to create a stand alone day-long academic section conference/workshop.

Z:  How can people get involved with the Academic Librarians Section?

J: We are always looking for help.  We are looking for help with conference planning, ideas for sessions.  We are always looking for ways to grow membership and to get the word out.  Feel free to contact me.  Food always helps:)

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Maine Library Association, in cooperation with New England Library Association, has planned several special events to show off the many attractions of Maine’s largest city.  Our thanks to MLA and the Portland Public Library for their work on this effort.


Staff-guided tours of the recently renovated Portland Public Library will be offered on Saturday at 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

A two hour cocktail cruise sails at 5:00 pm from the Casco Bay Lines docks. You may drive to the dock area, or take our shuttle

service from the hotel beginning at 4:15 pm.  Complimentary snacks accompany the cash bar, and we should be able to see the sunset over the water.

Dinner on your own in the waterfront area is an excellent option following the cruise.  We will offer a list of suggested  restaurants near the dock.  The shuttle bus will run until 9:00 pm, picking up at the Casco Bay Lines stop.  It is about a 15 minute walk to the hotel, partially up hill.  You can also hail a taxi for a reasonably priced ride of about a mile.


The early morning Limber Librarian features a historic walk led by a librarian/fitness specialist from Falmouth Public Library.  A similar walk in a different neighborhood will be conducted  n Tuesday morning.

The new Portland Public Library bookmobile will be parked at the hotel for your inspection from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Following the afternoon programs we will depart by shuttle bus for a reception at Portland Public Library, to include the NELA Games and an opportunity to view the traveling retrospective collection of 50 art works by Maurice Sendak with quotes from those inspired by his work, in the 50th anniversary year of the publication of Where the Wild Things Are.

The Dine-Around will depart from Portland Public Library at approximately 7:00 pm, either on foot or by shuttle bus depending on the distance to your chosen restaurant.  Each group will be hosted by a staffer from Portland Public Library.  Sign up for this event at the Registration Desk.

An alternative evening event is the Pub Crawl, featuring a series of craft beers and lighter food selections.  It will travel on foot, working its way back to the hotel with four refreshing stops along the way. Sign up at the Registration Desk for this also.




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Annual Conference Lunch Speaker Tuesday, October 22

Stay Tuned for our Tuesday, October 22nd Lunch Speaker–John Searles!

Publicity Contact

Sharyn Rosenblum, 212.207.7470/

Abigail Tyson, 212.207.7692/

Help for the Haunted

Two Sisters. One Dark Secret.

From critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author John Searles comes a riveting, chilling new novel about what one girl will do to find the truth


“Searles has a knack for building tension…a well-paced journey, wrapped in a mystery, that will keep readers guessing until the revealing conclusion.”Kirkus Reviews

“I was completely consumed by HELP FOR THE HAUNTED; I read it in one sitting. John Searles has drawn a delicate portrait of the gap between what we know to be true, and what we desperately want to believe.

— Jodi Picoult, NYT bestselling author of Lone Wolf and The Storyteller

“John Searles has given us something wonderful with HELP FOR THE HAUNTED. A coming of age tale that is poignant and touching…and will scare the living hell out of you. I just may never go downstairs into my basement again.”

— Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives and The Light in the Ruins

“A quickly paced and boldly rendered ghost story, Searles’s dark novel about a young girl haunted by the murder of her parents had me up reading all night. And checking the doors. I found it impossible to put down.”

— Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House

HELP FOR THE HAUNTED grabs you by the throat in the opening chapter, and shakes you to the core… This is edge-of-your-seat reading of a very     high quality, and, be warned, it is seriously spine-tingling.”

— Robert Goolrick, bestselling author of A Reliable Wife

The author of the critically acclaimed Boy Still Missing and Strange but True returns with HELP FOR THE HAUNTED (William Morrow; On-sale September 17, 2013; Hardcover; $26.99; ISBN: 9780060779634), an unforgettable story of a most unusual family, their deep secrets, their harrowing tragedy, and ultimately, a daughter’s discovery of a dark and unexpected mystery.

It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping “haunted souls” find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church’s red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

 – MORE –

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, Rose, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter.

As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family’s past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.

Capturing the vivid eeriness of Stephen King’s works with the compelling quirkiness of John Irving’s beloved novels, HELP FOR THE HAUNTED is that rare story that brings to life a richly imagined and wholly original world. From the very first page, it takes readers on a captivating journey, told in the heartbreakingly resonant voice of a young heroine who is determined to discover the truth about her family and what went wrong one snowy winter night.

John Searles is the author of the best-selling novels Boy Still Missing and Strange but True. For ten years, John has appeared regularly as a book critic on NBC’s Today Show and CBS’s The Early Show. He is also the Editor-at-Large of Cosmopolitan. His essays have been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Beast and other national publications. He lives in New York City. Follow John on Twitter: @searlesbooks.

John Searles


by John Searles

William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

On-Sale: September 17, 2013

ISBN: 9780060779634

Price: $26.99

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