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Library Snapshot Day 2012: The Jewish Edition

Library Snapshot Day 2012

The People of the Book have spoken---libraries make new stories as much as hold them!
In November 2012, during Jewish Book month, Judaic libraries in synagogues, community centers, historical institutions, and day schools across North America participated in Share the Library Love, a variation of the American Library Association's Library Snapshot Day. The event, sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries, was created to display the diversity of library services and programming throughout Jewish libraries. Each participating library shared a typical day in their facilities, recording patron and circulation statistics, their unique public programs, as well as patrons' personal reflections of their own libraries. Collectively, the participating libraries served 2,015 patrons and circulated 1,490 books throughout 33 libraries.

Public Programming and Community Efforts 

From Jewish hubs like Flushing, NY to smaller Jewish communities in Tulsa, OK, from historical centers to elementary schools, Jewish libraries held author visits, book sales, storytimes, craft projects, book clubs, children's creative writing clubs, movie premieres, Holocaust survivor support groups, Righteous Gentile programs, teacher Holocaust education programs, adult school, knitting clubs for charity, religious services, homework help, Student Advisory Board meetings, information literacy classes, library tours and a mock student presidential Election Day. Other community efforts included Sefer Mitzvah Magic a book program encouraging patrons to donate a book in honor or in memory of someone they love; and a weekly cyber newsletter featuring new titles, personal reflections, and announcements of library events.

Patron Responses

Patrons had overwhelmingly positive feedback about their libraries. Patrons praised the up-to-date collections, wealth of quality resources, computer clusters, wi-fi, the helpful and nice librarians, the DVD collections, Yiddish archives, and poster and realia collections in their libraries. In addition, patrons expressed gratitude for their libraries' patron-driven purchases, flexible pick-up and book-drop hours, teacher resources, short waiting periods for popular titles, free coffee, the convenience (between dropping the kids off at Hebrew school and looking for both Jewish and secular resources, it helps when they are all in one place!), and book cart programs for surrounding schools. Additionally, patrons noted the atmosphere of their libraries, saying it has "a warm feeling" and leaves "warm memories." One patron explained "it is usually the only place I can get work done on Sunday." Other libraries were appreciated for their bean bag chairs, comfy pillows and the Yiddish Vinkl.

The Librarians

When asked what they love most about their own libraries, the librarians had diverse and colorful answers. Some librarians embraced their historical collections and others the architecture of their facilities. At the Temple De Hirsch Sinai Library in Seattle, Washington, the librarian shared that the library is "a very large, beautiful and historical reading room with lots of dark wood...anyone who walks in and especially those who grew up at our Temple adore this room!" Other librarians responded enthusiastically to both the challenges and successes in their libraries, such as in redesigning the facilities and assisting in helping teachers pick classroom resources. One librarian in Indianapolis, IN praised her library for "providing members with a link to their Judaism." Another librarian in Boca Raton said, "I love watching the wheels turn in the children's brains when they are really taking in a story and asking intelligent questions about it."

The Snapshots on YouTube

In addition to sharing their library love and community programming, librarians and patrons captured the images of their library which can be seen in our slideshow video: tinyurl.com/AJLlove.
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