About BELS

Contact Info

Via email:
belsnj@belsnj.org

Via phone:
(201) 265-4242

Via fax:
(201) 710-7586

Via mail:
BELS Consortium
P.O. Box 450
Lodi, NJ 07644

Profile

Mission Statement

The BELS Consortium for School Library Media Centers strives to provide all the necessary services for a fully functional school library in the 21st century. In order to facilitate this mission, BELS is committed to the sharing of its diverse resources, the professional development of school library staff, and the integration of Core Content State Standards (CCSS) and American Association of School Librarians 21st Century Learning Standards into the classroom.

 

Vision Statement

BELS views the library as a school’s learning center: a place where students can develop academically and personally. It is BELS’s vision to expand its resource-sharing membership. This growing partnership will foster a powerful integrated library system, public access catalog, interlibrary loan program, and dynamic website.

 

Organizational History

Founded in the early 1990’s through the auspices of the Bergen County Technical School District (BCTS), BELS once stood for Bergen Electronic Library for Schools. It was at this time that BELS helped dozens of school libraries automate their collections and offer their students online catalogs capable of searching schools’ holdings for the very first time. Due to budgetary constraints at BCTS, BELS became an independent entity in the summer of 2009, and was approved for 501 (c) (3) status on April 18, 2010. The BELS Consortium is now composed of schools calling four different counties home, and now simply refers to itself as “bells.”

 

Structure

The BELS Consortium Council is comprised of each school librarian working in a BELS school. Each year the Consortium Council elects a five-person Executive Board, who then in turn elect a President. The President then appoints a fellow Executive Board member to Vice President. Among other tasks, the Executive Board is responsible for hiring and supervising the Consortium Coordinator, who manages the day-to-day operations of BELS.

 

Bylaws

BELS operates in accordance with its set of bylaws and conflict of interest policy, which were adopted by the Consortium Council and Executive Board upon formation of an independent entity, and are updated as necessary.

How to Join

Interested in world-class services and resource sharing in a consortium environment? Have a school library? Have a professional librarian working at least 20 hours per week in your school district? If you answered, “yes” to each of the last three questions, then you are eligible for membership!

 

Geographic Limitations

Please note that due to the location of our current membership, it would be difficult (albeit not impossible) to accept members from outside the immediate northeastern New Jersey area. Public school districts and private schools calling Bergen, Essex, Hudson, or Passaic counties home are strongly encouraged to contact the Consortium Coordinator to discuss pricing.

BELS unfortunately cannot accept membership from out of state public or private schools at this time due to the current designation we possess from the Internal Revenue Service.

Benefits of Membership

Listing every benefit to joining BELS would be just about impossible. However, check out some of our highlights:

  • No hidden fees– everything BELS has to offer is included in your annual membership fees
  • Follett Destiny integrated library system and online public access catalog
  • Transfer your district’s own Destiny system to BELS’s Destiny system at no charge
  • Bulk Purchasing Program reduces costs for Destiny and its add-on products, databases, print magazines, and other subscription-based products (print books and eBooks coming soon!)
  • Inter-library borrowing between all BELS locations and each BCCLS public library
  • Personalized tech support five days a week; no 800 numbers or robots
  • In-person or electronic-based training for the entire school library staff
  • Professional development programming
  • A consortium atmosphere: ask other members through individual communication or by utilizing private message boards and listservs, coordinate programs and coursework between different school districts
  • Think something can be improved or more efficient in BELS? Members let us know and we take action
  • The BELS website is packed with information and content is constantly being added. Hosting for wikis, message boards, and other web 2.0 technology is on its way.

Executive Board

The Executive Board is selected at the beginning of each new school year from among the BELS member librarians.

Kathleen Maynes, Dumont HS

Karen Dey, East Rutherford – McKenzie ES

Krista Welz, North Bergen HS

Courtney Reinfried, Northern Valley Regional, Demarest

Janice Cooper, Northern Valley Regional High School – Old Tappan

Peter Richer, Westwood HS

Committees

BELS Committees are comprised of volunteer members from the BELS Consortium Council, and make recommendations to the BELS Executive Board to support new initiatives, create new policies, or address BELS services.

 

Website Committee

The Website Committee’s scope includes but is not limited to such specific tasks as:

1.) Suggesting improvements for website layout and content
2.) Soliciting contributions from the membership to include in the website

Current Committee Chair:
Krista Welz, North Bergen HS

Current Committee Members:
Susan Grover, Leonia HS
Pat Gordon, Paterson Eastside HS
Peter Richter, Westwood Reg. Jr./Sr. HS

PAC Committee

The PAC/Circulation Committee’s scope includes but is not limited to such specific tasks as:

1.) Suggesting improvement for reports’ structure and function
2.) Aid the consortium in understanding and familiarity with the layout and features of the catalog
3.) Requesting guides and manuals for catalog functions

Current Committee Chair:
Karen Giblin, Paterson JFK HS

Current Committee Members:
Jolie Kurz, Dumont ESs
Courtney Reinfried, Northern Valley HS Demarest

Outreach/Inreach Committee

The Outreach/Inreach Committee’s  scope includes but is not limited to such specific tasks as:

1.) Fostering further collaboration between BELS members
2.) Making BELS more attractive to prospective members

Current Committee Chair:
Courtney Reinfried, Northern Valley Regional HS- Demarest

Current Committee Members:
Kathleen Maynes, Dumont HS
Veronica Alfonso, Elmwood Park MS/HS
Janice Cooper, Northern Valley Regional HS- Old Tappan
Laurel Hanczaryk, Rochelle Park Midland School

Bulk Purchasing Committee

The Bulk Purchasing Committee’s  scope includes but is not limited to such specific tasks as:

1.) Investigating new discounts for bulk ordering
2.) Coordinating presentations for bulk service providers
3.) Communicating with BELS members about trials and evaluation

Current Committee Chair:
Andrea Romano, Cliffside Park HS

Current Committee Members:
Betty Chiu, Hasbrouck Heights MS/HS
Donna Konrad, North Bergen HS
Courtney Reinfried, Northern Valley Regional HS- Demarest
Katie Nellen, Park Ridge Jr/Sr HS
Eileen Layman, Wood-Ridge Jr/Sr HS

Affiliates

The BELS Consortium is a proud supporter and/or member of the following organizations:

 

Bergen/Passiac affiliate of New Jersey Association of School Librarians (BPASL)

We advocate for high standards for librarianship and library media programs in the public, private and parochial schools in New Jersey to inspire excellence in school librarianship and learning.

LibraryLinkNJ

The New Jersey Library Cooperative has over 1,100 voting representatives from over 2,000 public and private school, public, academic, institutional, corporate, health sciences, and special libraries and library-related agencies.  A member-elected Executive Board meets regularly to oversee the programs and services of the organization.

 

New Jersey Educational Computing Cooperative (NJECC)

NJECC’s mission is to promote and support the integration of technology in education as it applies to student learning, professional development, and instructional planning.

 

New Jersey State Library

The State Library has been offering the highest quality service to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government for more than 200 years. The State Library’s mission has expanded since its establishment in 1796 to lead in the provision, promotion and support of high quality library and information services to all the people of New Jersey. The State Library’s mission is filled through the efforts of the State Library Information Center, the Library Development Bureau and the Talking Book and Braille Center.

 

New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL)

NJASL advocates high standards for librarianship and library media programs in the public, private and parochial schools in New Jersey to ensure that students and staff become effective users of information. Discover information about the annual NJASL Conference here.

 

American Library Association (ALA)

Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, ALA was created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. Information about the New Jersey chapter of ALA, NJLA, can be found here.

 

New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA)

Today’s NJSBA consists of nine departments, plus the Executive Office. The staff provides direct services, training and representation for boards of education across the state. The core of NJSB’s mission remains the “advancement of public education.”

 

New Jersey Education Association (NJEA)

The mission of NJEA is to advance and protect the rights,  benefits, and interests of members, and promote a quality system of public education for all  students.

 

New Jersey Parent-Teacher Association (NJPTA)

The PTA organization is a volunteer organization of adults and students whose sole purpose is to advocate for children and youth. The NJPTA has nearly 750 local PTAs in all 21 counties of New Jersey and a total membership of approximately 175,000 members.