"People of the Books" Blog

Preservation Survey Results Released by ATLA

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) and its partners the Catholic Library Association (CLA) and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) a National Leadership Grant for the project ”In Good Faith: Collection Care, Preservation, and Access is Small Theological and Religious Studies Libraries.” A report on the project’s main activity, a survey on preservation and collections care issues at small libraries and archives based at theological and religious studies organizations, has just been published and is available at (URL to be included here).

Key findings of the survey included:

  • A lack of policies for preservation and digitization, although the number of organizations which include preservation in their mission statements and those with collection policies was high
  • The need to develop disaster plans, digital collection plans and policies, and environmental monitoring and control procedures
  • A need to conduct preservation needs assessment surveys of collections, policies, and buildings;
  • A strong need to improve overall financial and staff support for preservation at institutions with budgets below $100,000;
  • Expanding capacity for collection processing, cataloging and finding aid development to increase discoverability of collections and their usage is also a strong need.

ATLA Executive Director Brenda Bailey-Hainer noted, “This collaborative effort reached a wide array of library and archival institutions in theological and religious studies communities, and we were able to learn about preservation needs from many of the smaller organizations in the field. ATLA, CLA, and AJL will continue to work together to provide information, education, and support to help these organizations build preservation programs that address the identified needs.”

The Spring 2014 survey was targeted to organizations with staff sizes of less than 5 full time equivalent, and budgets under $500,000. In addition to ATLA, CLA, and AJL members, the project partners reached out to other religious libraries and archives. The resulting 235 responses represented one of the largest surveys on preservation and digital practices in theological and religious organizations which has ever been completed. Responses were received from a wide variety of organizations, including those which are part of educational institutions, organizations affiliated with churches, synagogues, or other houses of worship, independent libraries and archives, and various other types of theological and religious based collecting organizations.

The partner organizations defined the target audiences as cultural heritage organizations which are part of a formal or established organization, have a library, archive, or other research collection which includes religious and/or theological materials, have religious and/or theological historical or rare materials as part of the library, archive, or research collection, and have at least one contact person (volunteer or salaried, full-time or part-time) responsible for the care/management of the research collection that could serve as the contact for the survey.

The partner organizations will be addressing the findings of the survey in communications with their membership, and will explore other collaborative preservation and digitization initiatives in the future.

IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects that address challenges faced by the museum, library, and/or archive fields and that have the potential to advance practice in those fields. IMLS offers grants to help make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.

About ATLA

Established in 1946, the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) is a professional association of individual, institutional, and affiliate members providing programs, products and services for theological and religious studies libraries and librarians. For more information visit http://www.atla.com/.

About AJL

The Association of Jewish Libraries promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship. The Association fosters access to information, learning, teaching and research relating to Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience and Israel.  To learn more, please visit http://www.jewishlibraries.org/.

About CLA

Established in 1921, the Catholic Library Association is an international membership organization, providing its members professional development through educational and networking experiences, publications, scholarships, and other services. The Catholic Library Association coordinates the exchange of ideas, provides a source of inspirational support and guidance in ethical issues related to librarianship, and offers fellowship for those who seek, serve, preserve, and share the word in all its forms.  To learn more, please visit http://www.cathla.org/.

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

The Jewish Book Carnival

The September Jewish Book Carnival is here! The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly round-up of some of the great reviews, interviews, and articles about Jewish books and authors from around the web. This month's Carnival is being hosted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter, blogger at The Prosen People, the blog of the Jewish Book Council. Naomi says "Hosting an early fall Jewish Book Carnival is particularly exciting, as we get to provide you with lots of interesting reads to munch on right before the holidays!"

Read the September Jewish Book Carnival here: 


If you are a blogger and would like to participate in a future Jewish Book Carnival, learn more here:


Facebooking the AJL Conference

The 49th Annual Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada starts in just over a week! I am looking forward to seeing many of you there, but I hope that those who can't join us in person will keep an eye on Facebook for the duration of the conference (June 22-25). We'll be posting photos and status updates live from Vegas towww.facebook.com/jewishlibraries.

If you are not a Facebook user, don't worry! You don't have to sign up or log in to view AJL's Facebook page! Just go towww.facebook.com/jewishlibraries and you'll see everything we post!

If you ARE a Facebook user, please click Like on AJL's page if you haven't already. This will allow you to receive our posts in your news feed, and it will mean you can post comments on our photos and status updates. We would LOVE to hear from you, so please do add your "likes" and comments once we start posting from the conference!

See you all soon in Vegas and on Facebook!
Heidi Rabinowitz Estrin
Association of Jewish Libraries

AJL Election Results 2014

Thanks to all who voted in the AJL elections! The slate is now officially elected:
Amalia Warshenbrot -- VP/Pres-Elect
Sheryl Stahl -- VP Membership 
Jim Rosenbloom – VP Development
Debbie Stern – Treasurer 
Marga Hirsch – Secretary 
Sharon Benamou – RAS President 
Rebecca Jefferson – RAS VP
Aimee Lurie -- SSC President 
Chaya Weisman – SSC VP

Incoming President Yaffa Weismann was voted in during the previous election as Vice President/President-Elect.

Heidi Lerner Receives AJL's Life Membership Award

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the AJL Awards Committee comprised of Joan Biella, Fred Isaac, Amalia Warshenbrot, and myself, I am delighted to announce that this year’s AJL Life Membership Award will be given to our esteemed colleague Heidi Lerner of Stanford University. A citation that includes some of Heidi’s numerous achievements is below. Special thanks to the committee members for their thoughtful deliberation and to Joan Biella for crafting this citation. Please join me in congratulating Heidi on this much-deserved award!

With best wishes,

Aaron Taub, Chairperson
AJL Awards Committee

For the past 25 years, Heidi Lerner has worked as Metadata Librarian for Hebraica and Judaica in the Catalog Department of Green Library at Stanford University. She performed original cataloging of monographs and serials in Hebrew and related languages and Judaica in those and Western languages in the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN) and local bibliographic systems using the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules/2nd edition (AACR2), Library of Congress (LC) subject headings and LC classification schedules until the advent of the new cataloging system known as Resource Description and Access (RDA). Then she chose to become an early student and eventually an expert user and teacher of the new rules. An experienced participant in LC’s Name Authorities Cooperative Program (NACO) and Monographic Bibliographic Record Cooperative Program (BIBCO), she also coordinates and provides specialized training for fellow catalogers worldwide through the Hebraica and Judaica funnel projects sponsored by the Library of Congress. At Stanford she performs as liaison with the Curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections and with every other library service with personnel handling Hebraica materials. In particular she participates in planning efforts for the processing of large-scale Hebraica acquisitions. In addition she assists in cataloging of humanities and art monographs in a variety of languages, and her well-rounded career includes valuable service at the Green Library Reference Desk/Information Center.


She earned her Master’s of Library Science (MLS) degree in 1982 at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she performed her first cataloging and classification as a music librarian. Returning to the United States, she served as a music librarian for the San Francisco Opera. Moving through a variety of cataloging and reference posts, she eventually found a home in the Stanford University Libraries system. Her fluency in Hebrew and her cataloger’s reading knowledge of Arabic, Yiddish, Ladino, French, Russian and German led her to her present work in Hebraica and Judaica, fields in which she is an acknowledged master and teacher.


Heidi is a vital force in professional organizations, especially as a member and often as an officer of the Association of Jewish Libraries. She served two terms, one ongoing, as Chair of the Research & Special Libraries Division’s Cataloging Committee. She has also contributed expertise to the University of Pennsylvania/Cambridge University Genizah cataloging and digitization project, the digital library JSTOR’s Hebrew Journals project, and the editorial board of AJS Perspectives, the newsletter of the Association for Jewish Studies. She is a founding member of the NACO Hebraica Funnel Project of the Library of Congress, which since 1994 has provided online coordination and training for a multinational group of Hebraica catalogers who provide high-quality records to the world’s bibliographic databases. She also coordinates the sister projects for Hebraica/Judaica subject headings and bibliographic records, which increase through standardization the shareability of records for Hebraic materials.

Mazal tov, Heidi!