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History & Mission

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Mission

The Association of Jewish Libraries is an international, professional organization that fosters access to information and research in all forms of media relating to all things Jewish. The Association promotes Jewish literacy and scholarship and provides a community for peer support and professional development.

Goals

  • Maintain high professional standards for Judaica librarians and recruit-qualified individuals into the profession.
  • Facilitate communication and exchange of information on a global scale.
  • Encourage quality publication in all formats and media, print, digital, etc.; stimulate publication of high-quality literature for children and adults.
  • Facilitate and encourage the establishment of Judaica library collections.
  • Enhance information access for all through the application of advanced technologies.
  • Publicize the organization and its activities in all relevant venues:
  • Stimulate awareness of Judaica library services among the public at large.
  • Promote recognition of Judaica librarianship to the broader library profession.
  • Encourage recognition of Judaica library services by other organizations and related occupations.
  • Ensure continuity of the Association through sound management, financial security, effective governance, and active membership.   

Constitution

The AJL constitution was last updated in 2014.

History and Background

The Jewish Librarians Association, founded in 1946, was composed of academic, archival, and research institutions. The Jewish Library Association, founded in 1962, emphasized work in synagogue, school, and community center libraries.  These two associations merged in 1966 and became the Association of Jewish Libraries. We are currently composed of two divisions: Schools, Synagogues, Centers and Public Libraries (SSCPL), and Research, Archive, and Special libraries (RAS).  

AJL is the leading authority on Judaic librarianship. AJL has always been a vibrant volunteer-run non-profit organization that relies on its members’ energy and enthusiasm. Our membership includes libraries in synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, day schools, yeshivot, universities, Holocaust museums, museums, archives, national libraries, and public libraries. Many of our members are not librarians. We provide professional advocacy and development to our members via a supportive worldwide network. Our individual members represent North America and beyond, including Aruba, Barbados, China, the Czech Republic, Holland, Israel, Italy, Panama, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. We do not discriminate based on race, color, age, sex, gender, or religion.