Jennifer R. Nelson has been chosen to serve as the new state librarian for the New Jersey State Library, an affiliate of Thomas Edison State University in Trenton..
Selected after a nationwide search that drew nearly 40 candidates, Nelson will replace Mary L. Chute, who will retire in February.
Nelson has more than 30 years’ experience and currently serves as the director of Minnesota State Library Services, a division that administers Minnesota’s state and federal programs for libraries and the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library.
She also a member of the national Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, where she recently played a role in efforts focused on developing the organization’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion statement and advancing efforts in data collection regarding evolving library service models. In addition to her state-level work, Nelson has 20 years of experience at large urban and county libraries.
“Jen’s state-level experience provides a strong advantage that will allow her to dive right into the library construction bond cycle and join in New Jersey libraries’ ongoing pandemic related operations,” said TESU present Merodie A. Hancock. “She has experience working with federal programs and supporting innovative statewide programming.”
“I am delighted to be coming to the state library, . . .” Nelson said. ““I have family ties to New Jersey and I’m looking forward to becoming involved in the community.”
Nelson holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a master’s degree in library and information studies and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Chute is retiring after serving as the state librarian for 8 1/2 years. Chute’s focal areas have been on promoting equity of access and developing collaborative alliances. Her leadership paved the way for grant-funded innovative model programs in areas including workforce development, cultural competency and translation training for bilingual library staff, preservation and digitization, and disaster preparedness and recovery.
“Mary led the successful expansion of an agency-wide focus on both internal and external collaboration and partnerships during a time of limited library funding, and, although she is not one to take credit, I am very proud of her accomplishments,” said Hancock. “I would like to thank Mary for her years of service, and I wish her the very best in her retirement.”