NJKI Wins National Award

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Our friends in New Jersey have won a national award for their statewide Knowledge Initiative. NYSHEI congratulations NJKI on this recognition of a program that has been an inspiration and a model for NYSHEI and our ARIA proposal. The full release is below.

TRENTON, N.J. – A project developed by the New Jersey State Library that has spurred economic growth and saved millions of dollars for hundreds of small startup companies in New Jersey – the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative – was recently honored with an Innovation Award from the Council of State Governments.

NJKI was selected from among hundreds of other projects vying for an Innovation Award, which brings greater visibility to exemplary state programs and practices that can serve as models for other state governments.

“We are so proud to receive the Council of State Governments Innovation Award for the New Jersey Knowledge Initiative,” said New Jersey State Librarian Norma E. Blake, who played a key role in developing the initiative. “The initiative has proven to be a model that other states have expressed interest in emulating.”

NJKI provides convenient, free and unlimited access to expensive proprietary informational resources, including millions of articles published in the top scientific, medical, technology and business journals, to entrepreneurs, small businesses, researchers and students. This information is not available in book stores and accessible online only through costly fees and subscriptions.

To date, NJKI has provided over 300 small startup companies and every college and university in New Jersey with access to databases that would have cost nearly $75 million if each site had to purchase them individually.

Blake said the award recognizes the foresight of the New Jersey State Library, its partners and the New Jersey Legislature. The efforts of State Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden) were vital in helping to secure funding for the initiative.

“The New Jersey Knowledge Initiative provides a unique portal to information and research that can help small businesses get off the ground and flourish,” said Greenwald, who serves as chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “Enabling the State Library to serve as the central access point to this valuable data saves small startups millions of dollars and serves as a major catalyst to economic development growth in New Jersey. The Knowledge Initiative is the exact type of ground-breaking program that the state needs to promote to support our small business community.”

During the first 18 months of NJKI’s operation, more than 10 million articles and records were accessed and many of the 315 registered companies have been awarded major grants or have gained venture capital funding.

Small, high-tech startup companies face a great challenge in getting essential scientific and technical information because many scientific journals are too costly for them to buy themselves. NJKI helps high-tech startups overcome this challenge.

“Hundreds of applications for this prestigious award competition were submitted by state governments this year, and only eight awards are given annually,” said Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer, associate state librarian for library development. “We can be proud to be in this elite group of creative and forward-thinking colleagues from around the nation. Under the leadership of New Jersey State Librarian Norma Blake, NJKI project manager Susan Kaplan and the members of the NJKI Task Force, we have proven that great things can happen with collaboration and cooperation.”

Initial funding of $6 million for NJKI was made possible by the New Jersey State Legislature. Additional funding of $2 million was made possible by the Governor’s FY 2007 Budget Recommendation that was approved by the New Jersey Legislature.

The initiative is provided by the New Jersey State Library, an affiliate of Thomas Edison State College, with support from the New Jersey Library Association, the Virtual Academic Library Environment of New Jersey, the four regional library cooperatives of the New Jersey Library Network (Central Jersey, Highlands, INFOLINK and South Jersey) and numerous state and local business-friendly organizations, including the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Jersey Small Business Development Center, New Jersey Technology Council, Biotechnology Council of NJ, Southern New Jersey Development Council, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the Mercer County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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