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Entries for 'marie'

This year, AJL will participate in Library Snapshot Day, an ALA library advocacy initiative.

It's easy and fun to participate and we want your library to be part of it!

Here's all you have to do:

1. Pick a single day during the week of November 1 - 7, 2010 (Monday through Sunday) for your Library Snapshot Day. During your chosen day, you will keep a head count of the number of people who visit your library.

You may wish to plan a program that will bring in lots of people, but you are welcome to record a "typical" day in your library if you choose. Sunday November 7, 2010 is also the Global Day of Jewish Learning; if you are planning an activity tied to that event you are welcome to double dip and use it for Library Snapshot Day too. If you are already planning a crowd-pleasing event for the following week, you may choose to use that date for your Library Snapshot Day, as long as you can send in your results by the deadline, November 17, 2010.

2. Along with your head count, please collect comments from visitors about how wonderful your library is (written, audio, videotape, whatever works for you), and please take photographs. Pictures, pictures, pictures!

3. By Wednesday, November 17, 2010, send your head count, your comments, and your pictures to Please be sure to include your name, your library name and address, and the type of library it is (synagogue, day school, community center, academic, special, other).

The results will be publicized during the first week of December, which coincides with Hanukkah. Our theme will be "Your Jewish library - a gift to your community!" Feel free to use the results of Library Snapshot Day as an advocacy tool within your own community to show the value of Jewish libraries in general and your library in particular. We anticipate publicizing our results through ALA, via the AJL website/blog/Facebook page/Twitter, via Hasafran and by e-newsletter to nonmembers, and through a press release to the media. AJL will also provide a fill-in-the-blanks press release that you can adapt to your library and use with your local media.

Posted by Marie.

UPDATE: When taking photos of patrons, please make sure that they have given permission for their pictures to be used by AJL. AJL will use selected photos on our website/blog or in our newsletter.
Posted in: Events, ALA

[caption id="attachment_488" align="alignright" width="284" caption="Mitchell James Kaplan. Photo by Renee Rosensteel courtesy of Other Press."][/caption]

Recently I had the opportunity to interview author Mitchell James Kaplan, whose new book BY FIRE, BY WATER has recently been published by Other Press. The book is an intriguing and engrossing novel set during the time of the Spanish Inquisition and Colombus's voyage to the Americas and focuses on a diverse community of Spanish Jews.
You can find reviews of BY FIRE, BY WATER in  Ha'aretz (, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (, and the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle (

1. What was it that drew your attention to the topic of converso Jews and the Inquisition?

I did not set out to write a book about converso Jews or the Spanish Inquisition. I set out to write a novel exploring the background of Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage of discovery. It became clear that Columbus's voyage was as much the symptom of a world in profound disarray as it was a harbinger of change. As I explored that disarray, the Spanish inquisition and the condition of conversos came into focus as important elements in my story.

2. Why do you think this subject is important for today's readers?

Most of us are conversos today, in the sense that we must navigate between different identities and ghettos. Few of us in the western world any longer have the privilege of remaining confined within one narrow belief system or ethnicity, to the exclusion of all others. Like it or not, we are exposed to competing world-views and absorb elements from them. The conversos of fifteenth century Spain were precursors of modern man.

3. Why did you choose Luis de Santangel as the central figure of your book? How is the real life Santangel different from your fictional creation?

Santangel stood at the center of all four events that changed the world at the end of the fifteenth century: the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the “reconquest” of Granada, and the discovery of the New World. Despite his importance in history, most Americans had never heard of him. The fact that his personal life was so complex, and in some ways tragic, made him all the more compelling as a character.

My initial question, with regard to Santangel, was: What could possibly motivate such an astute and well-grounded courtier to take the risks associated with supporting Columbus's voyage, even when the preponderance of scholarly opinion found no merit in Columbus's ideas? After researching Santangel's life, I came to feel that Columbus's dream must have represented a prayer of hope for Santangel, uttered from the murky depths of a world whirling into chaos.

The Luis de Santangel of my story, like most of my characters, is closely based on the historical individual. He really did have a cousin who was murdered by the Spanish Inquisition. His son did have to pay penance in much the way I described. Santangel was accused of murdering the first Chief Inquisitor of Aragon. King Ferdinand did intervene to save him from the consequences of that accusation. Columbus really did write first to Santangel, following his 1492 voyage.

Santangel's love interest, Judith Migdal, I invented to show the condition of the Jews in Granada leading up to the expulsion. But her nephew, Levi Migdal (later baptized as Luis de Torres) was Columbus's interpreter on the Santa Maria. As Columbus describes him in his diaries, he was a Jew who spoke Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew, as well as Spanish, so it is likely he grew up in the Islamic emirate of Granada.

4. You clearly did a lot of research into the period. Did you learn anything that surprised you? Was there something particularly interesting or unusual that you learned, that didn't make its way into your book?

I learned so many surprising things, among them the aforementioned fact that the Spanish Inquisition was unique in its focus on the “judaizing” heresy among conversos. It was interesting to me to learn that the pope did not initially authorize the Spanish inquisition, and indeed continued to express qualms about it even after it was established. As I researched Queen Isabella, I came to the conclusion that she was a usurper, although most history books gloss over that fact. It would take me much more than another whole book to describe everything I had to leave out.

5. What do you want your readers to take away in terms of an understanding about converso Jews and Jewish culture of the period? What lessons can be drawn from the book?

Regarding the conversos: I like Santangel's question, "what is the advantage of knowing, with absolute certainty, what one believes? There's much to be said for doubt." This intrusion of doubt into the medieval world – a world of certainties, at least with regard to faith – marked the beginning of the process that would lead to the Enlightenment, the Existential age, and our current age which, in my view, is evolving toward mutual respect between the faiths. Karen Armstrong credits conversos with the invention of atheism.

Regarding “lessons:” What I want most of all is not to preach but for my readers to feel that their sojourn in the world of my novel has been a valuable and enriching experience.

A good novel, in my view, is an experience of language, of characters, of complexity and nuance. The best novels evoke an entire world. Like real life, a good novel teems with ambiguity, connotation, and subtlety.

For this reason, I was thrilled to discover that many of my Christian readers identified Luis de Santangel as a Christian facing a crisis of faith, while many of my Jewish readers felt he was a Jew. Similarly, some of my readers asked why I made Torquemada so “human,” as if I were trying to vindicate him, while others saw him as a psychopathic villain. When I receive a wide range of responses like that, I feel I have succeeded in at least one of my aims: to faithfully hold a mirror to a complex world.

Within that complex world, there is room for a Torquemada (whom I see as sincere and intelligent but misguided) as well as a Caceres (whose understanding of Christ's message of love and forgiveness seems to be more aligned with our own) and a Talavera (a man of contradictions, moderate and analytical). The Islamic rulers of Granada can be seen as protective (from Judith's point of view) or ruthless (from the point of view of Sarah's mother). The Jewish scribe Serero is sincere, but causes great damage to those who trust him.
Posted in: Authors, Interview
Here's this week's collection of great links about libraries, books, and Jewish libraries and books.

Heather from AJL's Greater Cleveland chapter lists some of her website Picks.

Jewish, a new e-journal, makes it debut.

The Book of Life Podcast has a new post on Jewish Presses.

The Age of Big Access, second in a series of guest posts from academic librarians at ACRLog.

From the Jewish Book Council, Twitter Book Club: The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer. (Full disclosure: I loved this book!)

From the New York Review of Books, A Library Without Walls.

Ocotober is National Reading Group Month; find a lineup of events at Book Club Girl.

Got a link to share? Thoughts? Suggestions? Email me at mcloutier at

Posted by Marie.

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel. Illus. by Amy Cartwright. Price Stern Sloan. Preschool. The familiar words of the children’s Hanukkah song flow along the pages of this charmingly illustrated board book. There’s a nice surprise waiting at the end: a pop-up scene with a spinning menorah.

Eight Winter Nights by Laura Kraus Melmed. Illus. by Elizabeth Schlossberg. Chronicle. Preschool-Kdg. Short verses tell the story of a family’s enjoyment of Hanukkah, from lighting the menorah to singing, dancing, eating, and giving tzedakah. The pencil and pastel illustrations in shades of rust and magenta bathe the story in a warm, cozy light. End notes give background on the holiday and its traditions.

The Hanukkah Trike by Michelle Edwards. Illus. by Kathryn Mitter. Albert Whitman. Kdg. – Gr. 2. A little girl named Gabi is thrilled to receive a new tricycle at the end of the first night of Hanukkah. She names it “Hanukkah” but is daunted when she tries to ride it and falls off. The story of the Maccabees inspires her to persevere and her success is captured in bright paintings as well as in a rather bland text.

Happy Hanukkah Lights by Jacqueline Jules. Illus. by Michelle Shapiro. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Preschool. Rhymes, counting, and Jewish traditions are combined in this board book that shows a family’s joyful Hanukkah celebrations on all eight nights. The illustrations are cheerful and child-like.

Jackie’s Gift: A True Story of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson. Illus. by E. B. Lewis. Viking. Gr. 1-4. When young Steve Satlow helps his neighbors, the family of the baseball great, Jackie Robinson, trim their Christmas tree, he tells them that his family has no tree of their own. Not realizing that the Satlows are Jewish, Jackie delivers them one. After a few awkward moments, the Satlows decide that for this year only, they’ll have both a menorah and a Christmas tree. Jackie Robinson’s daughter wrote this handsomely illustrated story based on real events and it abounds with friendship and understanding.

The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah by Bill Berlin and Susan Isakoff Berlin. Illus. by Peter J. Welling. Pelican. Preschool-Kdg. There is no joy in Oyville when the local kvetch steals all of the menorahs. But fear not: the town’s brave children confront the old man, regale him with the story of the Macabbees and the true meaning of Hanukkah, and accomplish a miracle by opening the kvetch’s heart and mind to the joy of the holiday. Unpolished but energetic illustrations abound in a zany story that is meant to remind children of Dr. Seuss’s Grinch.

Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsley. Illus. by David Harrington. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Kdg. - Gr.3. The story of how Judah and the Maccabees fought the tyrant Antiochus for religious freedom o the Jews and the restoration of the Temple is retold in this animated rhyme punctuated by a repeated refrain: "Sometimes it only takes a few,/ Who know what's right, and do it, too." The rhythmic narrative is enhanced by bold paintings and would lend itself to readers' theatre.

Chag Sameach. Here are some great links from around the blogiverse on Jewish books, libraries and more.

From, Noshin' Review: Quiches, Kugels and Couscous by Joan Nathan.

From Stephen's Lighthouse, How Many Books Are There In Your Library?

From ACRLog, On Being Valuable: Point-Counterpoint.

From Tablet, Ban My Book- Please!

From the Jerusalem Post, A Succot Harvest with a Charitable Twist.

From Resource Shelf, Tweets and Reports from the "Libraries at the Tipping Point" Online Conference by Sue Polanka and the Librarian in Black.

That's it. As always comment or send me an email at mcloutier at with links, feedback or ideas.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Link Round-Up
It's Banned Books Week this week, September 25-October 2. Banned Books Week is the American Library Association's annual spotlight on books that have been challenged or banned from libraries all over the United States.

You can click here for ALA's main Banned Books Week page, including free downloads and other resources.

Does your library have a policy in place to deal with challenges? What happens in your library when a patron says a book should be removed, or that access should be limited? Have you ever had to remove a book or move it to another section because a patron complained?

The State of Oregon compiled this useful page of resources and tips for dealing with challenges.

The National Coalition Against Censorship offers the Book Censorship Toolkit.

Last year 460 challenges were reported to ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom. See the 2009 Top 10 List here.

Leave a comment with your thoughts on this important issue!

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Events, ALA
Here's some great links from around the blogosphere this week. If you know of a great blog you'd like me to read and include in these roundups please send me a note at mcloutier at

From Tablet Magazine, Sukkah of the Soul.

A Sukkot Link Round-up from Jewesses with Attitude.

From Stephen's Lighthouse, Pew/Nielsen: The Rise of Apps Culture.

From ACRLog, Ready, Set, Teach: You in the Classroom. This is the first in a new series of academic-librarian guest bloggers.

Netflix in libraries and hypocrisy, from Information Wants to be Free.

J Literary Links from the Jewish Book Council.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Link Round-Up

Several weeks ago I had the privilege to interview Alix Strauss, author of Based upon Availability, published this past summer by HarperCollins.

Alix and I talked about the book, her own story and her history with libraries and Judaism.

The interview is about 18 minutes long in two parts:

Alix Strauss Part 1

Alix Strauss Part 2

We are hosting a giveaway of a finished, signed copy of Based Upon Availability in conjunction with this interview. To enter, simply  leave a comment on this post with your email address. I will pick a winner using random-number generator on October 7 and notify the winner on October 11. The winner will have until Friday, October 15 to reply. The contest is open to United States addresses only.

Don't forget to comment with your email address for a chance to win a paperback of the book!

Posted by Marie.
Here are this week's links from around the blogosphere on books, librarianship and more.

Ray Frank's Historic High Holy Day Services, from The Sisterhood.

Inspiring Stuff to Read, Take 2, from Information Wants to be Free.

Favorite Fictional Jewish Characters, from the Jewish Book Council Blog.

Rising Through the Ranks: On Upward Mobility in Librarianship, from In the Library with a Lead Pipe.

Yom Kippur Machzor Translated for Brazilian Jews, from the Jerusalem Post.

New Jewish Poetry from Yehoshua November from the Jewish Literary Review.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Link Round-Up

Today is the Jewish Book Carnival!

This month the Carnival is hosted by The Jewish Publication Society here.

The carnival was started by Heidi Estrin and Marie Cloutier to build community among bloggers and blogs who feature Jewish books. It will run every month on the 15th.

We have hosts lined up through the end of 2010 but if you are interested in hosting the carnival on your blog sometime in 2011, feel free to contact Marie at

Click here for the full schedule and list of participating blogs.

Feel free to download and save the logo, and use it on your blog posts or sidebar. Please do not link directly to the picture.

The Jewish Book Carnival has a GoodReads page, where we host discussions and more. Whether or not you’re participating, we hope you’ll stop by, join and take part!

For now, head over to the Jewish Publication Society and check out this month's collection of great links.

Posted by Marie.
Association of Jewish Libraries

Call for Papers 2011

The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) will hold the 46th Annual Convention at the Marriott Chateau Champlain in Montreal, Quebec June 19-22, 2011. Librarians, archivists, scholars, educators, authors and others will meet to share their interest in Judaica librarianship and related topics.

AJL is soliciting proposals for papers and presentations on aspects of Judaica librarianship as it pertains to libraries, archives, museums, schools, synagogues and related institutions. Past topics have included literature and other resources, collection management, programming, reader advisory services, special and rare collections, cataloging and classification, digital and electronic resources, technology and local Jewish history.

A special focus this year will be the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Montreal Jewish community.

Submissions should include the following:

Presenter’s name, address, affiliation , telephone and email contacts.

Brief biography.

Title of proposed presentation.

Summary of proposal.

Specific technology or equipment requirements, if any.

All submissions must be received by November 30, 2010. Please submit proposals by email to:

or by mail to:

Marsha Lustigman,

Bialik Library,

6500 Kildare Rd.,

Cote St. Luc, QC, Canada, H4W 3B8

Proposals will be reviewed by the Program Planning Committee, which is composed of national and local AJL members. Notification will be made in January, 2011.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Convention

We have returned with some great links on Jewish books, libraries and librarianship.

The Melbourne Writers' Fest produced this video on 10 Facts You Won't Read in a Book About Books.

From Schocken Books, Ruth Gruber Inspires New Movie.

From the ACRLog blog: Is There a Rescue Plan at Your Library?

From Information Wants to be Free: What's the Deal, JSTOR?

From the Jerusalem Post: French Teacher Suspended for Teaching 'Too Much' Holocaust

From the Jewish Literary Review: Elie Wiesel's The Sonderberg Case.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Link Round-Up

A recommended reading list from AJL's Jewish Valuesfinder:

Engineer Ari and the Sukkah Express. Illus. by Shahar Kober. Kar-Ben/Lerner. The chipper trio of railroad engineers first met in Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride builld a sukkah and place it on the train to share with all their friends along the tracks from Jaffa to Jerusalem. ( Kdg; Primary)

Even Higher: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Eric A. Kimmel. Illus. by Jill Weber. Holiday House. A skeptic is convinced of the rabbi's holiness in this lively retelling of one of I. L. Peretz's best-loved stories. (Primary; Elementary)

Greater than Gold and Silver
by Rav Naftali Ehrmann. Illus. by Chedvah Rubin. Feldheim. A lavishly illustrated Sukkot story about the mitzvah of the etrong, written from an Orthodox point of view. (Primary; Elementary)

New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland. Illus. by Stefane Jorisch. Dial Books for Young Readers. Izzy, his family, and members of their congregation gather at the pier to symbolically cast away their sins in the ceremony of tashlich. Action and emotions are captured by the lilting illustrations. (Preschool; Primary) WINNER OF A SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD.

Sammy Spider's First Simhat Torah by Sylvia A. Rouss. Illus. by Katherine Janus Kahn. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Sammy and his human buddy, Josh, learn what the holiday is all about and Sammy takes a ride to shul on a candy apple! (Preschool; Primary)

The Secret Shofar of Barcelona
by Jacqueline Dembar Greene. Illus. by Doug Chayka. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Secret Jews find a way to blow the shofar in plain sight during a concert for the Spanish nobility. Set in Spain during the Inquisition, the story celebrates faith and courage. (Primary; Elementary)

Sukkot Treasure Hunt by Allison Ofanansky. Photographs by Eliyahu Alpern. Kar-Ben/Lerner. After building their sukkah, an Israeli child and her parents search the hills and valleys of the Gallilee for myrtle, willow, palm, and citron. Color photographs add realism to a story set in Israel. (Primary; Elementary)

Tashlich at Turtle Rock by Susan Schnur. Illus. by Alex Steele-Morgan. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Primary. A family custom - walking in the woods on Rosh Hashanah - offers an idyllic view of the ceremony of tashlich. (Primary)

Today is the Birthday of the World by Linda Heller. Dutton. A beautifully illustrated story about animals and children doing their best. Although Rosh Hashanah is never mentioned, the theme reflects the holiday's meaning. (Preschool; Primary)
The American Library Association has launched a new page rounding up all of their online learning resources in one place.

Here you will find links to many programs, forums, webinars and webcasts covering a range of topics from collection development and management, to advocacy, to service delivery, and more. The programs are even sorted by ALA units and delivery type- it's like one-stop shopping for your remote learning needs.

Most programs are open to anyone, ALA member or not. Many are free; others have fees attached depending on the course type, length and membership status of the librarian taking the course.

I know I'm going to be spending some time investigating ALA's offerings, now that they're gathered together on this page; it looks like there's something for just about everyone!

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: ALA
Here's our weekly roundup of posts from across the internet and the blogosphere on books, Jewish books, libraries and more.

Librarians as___________: Shapeshifting at the Periphery, about  the changing roles of librarians in the information age, from In the Library with the Lead Pipe.

Adding Irena Klepfisz to the Canon, from Jewesses with Attitude.

Strike a Pose...Yale UP, from the Jewish Book Council blog.

Rosh Hashanah Books from the Jewish Literary Review.

Open Access and the Library's Missing Mission, at Inside Higher Ed.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Link Round-Up
You can see the full press release here:

Nominations are being accepted through September 20, 2010 for this  year's I LOVE MY LIBRARIAN AWARD.

The award is open to MLS-holding librarians in the following categories:

  • School Library

  • Public Library- including synagogues and community centers whose libraries are open to the public, and

  • College, Community College and University Libraries.

The Promotional Tools page includes sample press releases, logos, badges- and flyers to distribute to your patrons.

When you make them available in your library, your patrons have the chance to recognize the work you do.

ALA will select up to ten winners; what a great opportunity to create some buzz in our communities and even nationally, for AJL and for all the work you do to promote Jewish books, scholarship and reading.

Good luck!

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: ALA

Welcome to the second monthly Jewish Book Carnival!

The Jewish Book Carnival is your chance to participate in People of the Books.

The Carnival was started by Heidi Estrin and me, to promote blogs that cover Jewish books. It’s an effort to build community, so that blog writers and readers can share posts on Jewish books. We’ll read each others’ blogs, support each other and promote each other- and Jewish books-  throughout the blogosphere.

Every month on the 15th, someone will host the roundup; in September, you can find it at the Jewish Publication Society.

On the Carnival's home page you can find a list of participants, links to past carnivals and other information.

The Jewish Book Carnival has a GoodReads page; we’d love for you to join, to keep up with Carnival news, join in our discussions and share what you’re reading and writing about.

This month we have several new participants- and lots of great links.

We hope you have time to visit and comment on lots of the featured blogs.

And if you'd like to join the Carnival or host, please email me at mcloutier @

The Links:

Bagels, Books & Schmooze reviews Sima's Undergarments for Women, by Ilana Stanger-Ross

Boston Bibliophile reviews The Frozen Rabbi, by Steve Stern

Here in HP: Review with Carrot Watercolor and  Sharkskin Suits and Cairo Longings

Homeshuling: Bible Stories for Children- Does the Torah Belong in Picture Books? Rabbi Harvey Interviews Gary Shteyngart

Jewish Book Council: Israeli Fiction Roundup reviews Tough Questions Jews Ask: A Young Adult's Guide to Building a Jewish Life

The Jewish Publication Society shares The Top 5 Jewish Book to Film Adaptations and Introducing our new CEO, Barry Schwartz!

JewWishes reviews Displaced Persons, by Ghita Schwarz

My Machberet: Recent Reads- The J-Word, by Andrew Sanger

Needle in the Bookstacks asks Is Jozefow Close to Chelm?

Rhapsody in Books reviews Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, by Peter Manseau

Sylvia Rouss: Lessons I Learned When I Wrote My First Book

The Whole Megillah reviews Once and Sharing Our Homeland

Thanks once again to all the participants, and to you for visiting and commenting on their blogs.

Posted by Marie.
It's that time again. Here's a selection of links on books, libraries and more for the week.

AJL's Lisa Silverman published a great article, What's New for Kids to Read, at

Treasures of the Bavarian State Library, including a section on Hebrew books, available as an iPhone app.

My Jewish Learning is running a poetry contest for the High Holy Days.

The American Association for School Librarians posted is Top 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning

Calling Dibs on Culture, a fascinating article from the Jewish Publication Society.

From the Jewish Literary Review, Jonathan Papernick: A Modern-Day Book Peddlar.

From Points of Reference, OverDrive Customers Can Add Project Gutenberg Titles to Their Virtual Collections.

AJL's monthly Jewish Book Carnival post will be up on Sunday, August 15. Hope to see you here!

As always feel free to contact me if you have a link you think would be good for our weekly roundup. My email is mcloutier @

Posted by Marie.
So you're interested in AJL and want to connect with a group of AJL librarians local to you? Here's a list of some of the websites and blogs set up for and by some of AJL's regional chapters.

Greater Cleveland AJL Chapter

Judaica Librarians’ Group (Israel) (in Hebrew)

Judaica Library Network of Metropolitan Chicago

New England AJL Chapter

AJL of Southern California

South Florida AJL

Some of these are fully-functional website and some are blog-style; all of them provide great basic information on what folks are up to elsewhere in the United States, and elsewhere in the world.

This list is also included in AJL's blogroll, which is linked to on the right hand side of this page. The list is updated regularly. If you are part of a regional chapter and you don't see your chapter's site listed, please email me at mcloutier at and I'll be sure to include it.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Uncategorized

The Jewish Publication Society has honored People of the Books with the "Beautiful Blogger" award for our efforts at building community in the Jewish book blogosphere through our Jewish Book Carnival initiative (and they're going to host in September!).

In return, the rules of the award state that we must share seven interesting facts about AJL and pass the award along to seven of our favorite blogs.

The facts:

1. AJL has held 45 annual conventions in the US, Canada and Israel, beginning in 1966 in Philadelphia. Ohio and California are tied for hosting the largest number of conventions over the years - six each, and Canada will catch up by holding its 6th AJL convention in 2011 in Montreal. While conventions are always exciting, we have persevered through many outrageous adventures such as the SARS scare (Toronto in 2003) and the transvestite beauty pageant being held at the convention hotel (Miami Beach in 1991).

2. AJL is the Association of Jewish LIBRARIES, not LIBRARIANS. We have members from all streams of Judaism and members who are not Jewish. What we all have in common is an interest in sharing Jewish culture and knowledge through libraries.

3. AJL is a volunteer-run organization with no central office. Members volunteer their time for everything from running local chapter meetings to writing publications to organizing international conventions.

4. AJL has been podcasting its convention sessions and other events since 2008. You can hear recordings of lectures, panel discussions, author talks, and workshops at

5. AJL has two divisions- the Research Libraries, Archives and Special Collections division (RAS) for academic libraries and the School, Synagogue, and Community Centers division (SSC) for general interest libraries.

6. AJL publishes a quarterly Newsletter and an occasional scholarly journal called Judaica Librarianship, as well as various guidebooks and bibliographies available through the Publications Department [link:].

7. AJL recognizes great Jewish literature through several annual awards: the Sydney Taylor Book Award [link:] and Manuscript Award [link:] for children's literature, and the Reference and Bibliography Awards for scholarly works [link:].

The seven blogs we'd like to nominate are:

Jewish Book Council

Jewish Publication Society

Jewish Womens Archive

Kar-Ben Publishing

My Machberet

The Sisterhood, a blog of The Forward

Tablet Magazine

Thank you to JPS for this honor!

Posted by Marie

Posted in: Uncategorized

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