Special Collections Librarians Take the Reins of NJSAA

New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance logoFounded in 1992, the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance (NJSAA) is a 501c3 educational organization promoting research and teaching in the multidisciplinary field of New Jersey studies. The NJSAA’s approximately 100 members include teachers (primary school through college), historians, geographers, museum and historical organization personnel, archivists, and librarians. Membership is open to anyone interested in the study of New Jersey, and membership dues are $5 annually. (Yes, $5.)

The NJSAA regularly meets four times a year in Alexander Library’s Pane Room to hold business meetings, present awards, and hear presentations in New Jersey studies. Meetings are open to all.

Among its central activities, the NJSAA recognizes notable work in New Jersey studies by presenting awards in the following categories:

Starting on September 1, 2018, three Rutgers University special collections librarians will be assuming leadership roles in NJSAA for three-year terms. The incoming chair is Bob Vietrogoski, the special collections librarian for the history of medicine at George F. Smith Library in Newark. He currently serves as chair of the NJSAA’s Roger McDonough Librarianship Award. As chair, he is succeeding Maxine Lurie, professor emerita of history at Seton Hall University. Dr. Lurie is a co-founder of NJSAA and has served as chair or co-chair since NJSAA’s founding 26 years ago. She is the author and editor of several award-winning works in New Jersey studies, including New Jersey: A History of the Garden State (2012), and the Encyclopedia of New Jersey (2004).

The incoming secretary is Christie Lutz, New Jersey regional studies librarian and head of public services for Special Collections and University Archives at Alexander Library in New Brunswick. She has been acting secretary for the past year, and is succeeding Marc Mappen, the former executive director of the New Jersey Historical Commission and a historian whose books include There’s More to New Jersey Than the Sopranos (2009) and Prohibition Gangsters: The Rise and Fall of a Bad Generation (2013).

The incoming membership chair is Tara Maharjan, processing archivist for Special Collections and University Archives at Alexander Library. She currently serves as the NJSAA’s webmaster. As membership chair, she is succeeding Karl Niederer, the former director, state archivist, and chief records administrator in the former state Division of Archives and Records Management, and current coordinator of outreach and strategic partnerships at the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office.

The next NJSAA meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 in the Pane Room. The business meeting will begin at 3pm, and at 4:15pm, William Kroth, president of the Sterling Hill Mine Museum in Sussex County, will speak on the “Great Zinc Mines of Sussex County” and will have samples on hand to view.

For more information about the NJSAA, see its website here, along with News of NJSAA’s recent activities and its Calendar of Events. The NJSAA is also on Facebook, and “likes” are strongly encouraged.

Robert Vietrogoski