"People of the Books" Blog

Conference 2019 - Preliminary Program and Grid

Get the first look at the 2019 conference program and grid. While the program is still being tweaked, you can get an idea of the exciting sessions and speakers.


logo for 2019 conference Monday, June 17, 2019 to Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Warner Center Marriott
21850 Oxnard St.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367


Join AJL in June for our 54th annual conference at the Warner Center Marriott located in the popular suburbs of the San Fernando Valley, in the city of Los Angeles. It is ideally situated near public transportation and shopping, with a multitude of dining options nearby. More importantly, Woodland Hills has a vibrant Jewish community waiting to meet with Judaica librarians from around the world.

Most of our conference will be held within the beautiful conference center inside the hotel, but we do have special optional tours planned offsite. The conference will begin with a noon luncheon on Monday, followed by a variety of interesting afternoon sessions, and then you are on your own for dinner.

Our Tuesday keynote luncheon speaker will be Russian-born author and artist Eugene Yelchin, 2018 National Book Award finalist, and winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Newbery Honor Award and Golden Kite Award among many other notable honors. 

Featured among the many Tuesday sessions will be presentations on research skills for high schools, some well-known literary stars of the Los Angeles Persian Jewish community (including author Gina Nahai), and the best new Jewish fiction for adults.

Tuesday evening will continue with our Literary Awards Banquet, honoring the winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Award and the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award, the Judaica Reference and Bibliography Award, as well as our newest award: the AJL Fiction Award for best adult fiction book with a Jewish theme. 

After morning sessions on Wednesday, we will board busses to travel to American Jewish University in Bel Air to tour the library and grounds and enjoy our final lunch together.  Optional tours will be available to visit either the Getty Museum or the Skirball Cultural Center, both within one mile of the university.

For those needing to catch a flight home from LAX on Thursday morning, the Hilton LAX hotel has been reserved at a special rate for our members and the airport shuttle ride is included in the price. (Check the website next month for the link to this hotel rate.)

The registration link  for the conference and the Marriott hotel is now available at our website: https://jewishlibraries.org/meetinginfo.php?id=20&ts=1548037786 

to get the Early Bird full conference rate of $400 until April 15th!

We look forward to seeing you in June!


Jackie BenEfraim, Local Conference Chairperson

Lisa Silverman, National Conference Chairperson


Call for Papers: 54th Annual AJL Conference

The AJL 2019 Conference Committee is now soliciting paper proposals for our upcoming conference at the Warner Center Marriott, Woodland Hills, CA from June 17 - 19th, 2019.

We are seeking papers and presentations on all aspects of Judaica librarianship as it pertains to libraries, archives, museums, schools, synagogues, and related institutions. This year we would like to emphasis hands-on sessions. We are especially soliciting proposals dealing with digital humanities and Jewish Studies and sessions aimed at the needs of high school librarians.

Past topics have included: collection management, programming, reader advisory services, special and rare collections, cataloging and classification, digital and electronic resources and emerging technologies.   Presentations on Jewish resources in Los Angeles Jewish library collections and local authors would also be welcomed.

Submissions should include the following: 

*       Presenter's name, address, affiliation, telephone and email contacts.
*       Brief biography
*       Title of proposed presentation
*       Summary of proposal not to exceed 300 words
*       Specific technology or equipment requirements, if any

All submissions must be received by November 30, 2018.  Please submit proposals by e-mail (PREFERRED) to: [email protected]

Proposals will be reviewed by the Program Planning Committee, composed of national and local AJL members. Notification will be made in January, 2019.


50th Anniversary of the Sydney Taylor Book Award

The Sydney Taylor Book Award is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. To honor this amazing milestone, we have planned events to take place before and during the Boston AJL Conference:

On Sunday, June 17, 2018, we invite you, your family and friends to join us from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM at the Boston Public Library - Central Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston for an afternoon of Story Time, Singing, Arts & Crafts, A Raffle, and a Panel Discussion. This event is FREE and fun for he entire family. See more information on the flyer below.

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 12:30 PM, we will host over 30 writers and artists at our Author & Illustrator lunch at Temple Israel. In addition, Caldecott-winning illustrator Paul Zelinsky will give us a sneak peak and speak to us about creating his new book, All-Of-A-Kind Family Hanukkah. (The cost of the lunch is included in your Conference Registration or can be purchased separately on the conference website.)

Of course the celebration continues during the afternoon sessions with presentations by the 2018 Sydney Taylor Award winning authors and illustrators speaking about their books and ends with our giving Harold Grinspoon and PJ Library the Sydney Taylor Body of Work Award at our annual Awards Banquet along with the 2018 Sydney Taylor Awardees, the Sydney Taylor Manuscript winner, the new AJL Fiction Prize winner and the RAS Winners. (The cost of the Awards Banquet is included in your Conference Registration or can be purchased separately on the conference website.)

Also, please look in the upcoming Judaica Librarianship for an article by Fred Isaac and Diane Rauchwerger about 50 years of Sydney Taylor Award Winning Books.

We want to thank our Sponsors: Follett, Kar-Ben Publishing, Albert Whitman & Company, Apples & Honey Press, Candlewick Press, Charlesbridge, Macmillan Children's, Random House Children's Books, American Girl, Boston Public Library, HarperCollins Children's Books, PJ Library & Seven Stories Press for their generous donations to make these celebrations possible.

There is so much happening. You don't want to miss it.

Conference Countdown! - Final Program

With the conference only two weeks away, we are thrilled to give you this sneak peek at this year's program book.