Committees

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The Association of Jewish Libraries has a variety of committees that provide service to the membership and to the field of Judaica librarianship. If you would like to serve on one of the committees described below, please contact the chair of the committee listed, or contact AJL president Heidi Estrin for general inquiries about participation in AJL activities.

Accreditation Committee
The charge of the Accreditation Committee is to: 1) design accreditation instruments for Synagogue, School and Center Division libraries; 2) review completed accreditation forms and award Basic and Advanced Status to those libraries who qualify; 3) advise and mentor libraries who request help reaching accreditation status; and 4) publicize the accreditation process in appropriate venues and publications. Contact: Leah Moskovits.

Chapter Relations Committee
The Chapter Relations Committee has the responsibility to form geographic chapters by studying the demographics of the national membership. It consults with all chapters and is available to answer questions and advise chapters as well as to assist members in setting up programs. The Committee arranges for the annual meetings of chapter presidents at the annual AJL convention. It encourages every chapter member to become a member of national AJL. Chapters should be helped to understand that membership in National AJL increases their professional stature and gives the profession of Judaica librarianship more influence in matters that affect them such as salary levels, rank in institutions and topics relating to Jewish libraries. Contact: Etta Gold.

Local Conference Committee
The Local Convention Committee plans and coordinates all aspects of the annual convention, including: working with the national chair to locate a hotel, arranging for meals and entertainment, planning the programming, soliciting vendors for the book fair, recruiting volunteers, and coordinating with national committees—everything necessary for those attending to have an enlightening, educational, and enriching experience during the convention. The 2013 Conference will be held in Houston, Texas. Contact: Judy Weidman.

National Conference Committee
The National Convention Committee serves to advise, support, and assist the local convention chairs in planning and presenting the annual AJL National Conference. The committee also encourages and fosters an interest in presenting Regional Conferences to address the professional needs of members who cannot attend National Convention and to attract librarians who may not be familiar with AJL. Contact: Toby Harris.

Convention Stipend Committee
The Convention Stipend Committee reviews all applications requesting funds to attend the annual convention. The committee makes every effort to accommodate all in need of a stipend. Contact: Lenore Bell.

International Liaison
The charge of the International Liaison is to organize a panel or panels at international conferences that have a library or Jewish studies component. The committee makes contact with appropriate organizations sponsoring the conference and arranges sponsorship or joint sponsorship of one or more panels devoted to Judaica librarianship. The committee then solicits papers and decides on which papers to accept. The panel is then organized and the information is forwared to the sponsoring organization. The committee maintains contact with the participants, and publicizes the event. Contact: Rita Saccal.

Mentoring Committee
The AJL Mentoring Program endeavors to assist fledgling Jewish librarians find the answers they need through a personal relationship with an experienced librarian best suited to help them. We strive to match library type, classification system and automation software, as well as geographic region as much as possible. The committee has compiled a bibliography of mentoring resources. Contact: Stephanie (Sara Leah) Gross (phone: 212.960.5442).

Librarianship and Education Committee
The Librarianship and Education Committee develops and promotes specialized courses (online and/or in person) for individuals interested in Judaica librarianship, both those in library school and those seeking continuing education. Contact: Yelena Luckert.

Public Relations Committee
The Public Relations Committee's charge is to publicize the work of AJL via traditional and social media, assist committees in sharing their news, and assist AJL with networking and outreach efforts.

RAS Cataloging Committee
The charge of the RAS Cataloging Committee is to act as a liaison with the Policy and Standards Division of the Library of Congress on issues affecting Judaica cataloging including subject problems raised by RAS Division members, and suggest possible solutions; and to educate members as to new policies or procedures affecting Judaica cataloging in the form of workshops at AJL conventions and/or a cataloging column in one of the AJL publications. Committee members maintain a wiki containing meeting agendas and minutes as well as notifications of changes in romanization. Contact: Heidi Lerner.

Reference and Bibliography Award Committee
The seven-member Reference and Bibliography Award Committee is charged with annually selecting the winners of the Reference and Bibliography Award. The committee is chaired by the vice-president of the RAS Division. Committee members review and evaluate books submitted by publishers for the awards. Members of the committee must be members of AJL National and have expertise in Judaica reference sources and writing reviews. The committee hosts the winners at the convention banquet where awards are presented. Contact: Sharon Benamou.

Scholarship Committee
The Scholarship Committee is responsible for sending announcements of the AJL scholarship competition to all accredited American and Canadian library schools; selecting the winner(s); publicizing the fund via the AJL News and announcing donations in the newsletter; sending notes of acknowledgement to those in whose honor, or family of those in whose memory, donations are made. Contact: Shuli Berger.

Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
The six-member Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee is charged with annually selecting the winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Award and with implementing the process by which the winners are selected, publicized, and presented. Committee members review and evaluate books submitted by publishers for the award. Usually two are selected—one for older readers and one for younger readers. In addition, several books are chosen for honors in each age category. The committee compiles an annual list of notable children's books of Jewish content, a bookmark listing all of the winners, and a collection of all of the committee's reviews written within the year. It also presents a program at the annual AJL convention and hosts the winners at the convention banquet where awards are presented. Members of the committee must be members of AJL National and must have broad knowledge of Judaic children's literature as well as experience in writing evaluative reviews. They are expected to meet deadlines and to participate in annual conventions. A committee term lasts for four years. Contact: Aimee Lurie.

Sydney Taylor Manuscript Competition Committee
The six-member Sydney Taylor Manuscript Competition Committee is charged with annually selecting the winners of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award and with implementing the process by which the winners are selected, publicized, and presented. Committee members review and evaluate manuscripts submitted by authors for the award. The members read the submitted manuscripts, after the committee chair has determined that they meet the basic criteria of the competition, such as length, age appropriateness, content, etc. Each member votes on whether or not they feel the manuscript is a contender (the committee chair votes only in the case of a tie). If at least 2 members agree that it is a possible contender, those are submitted to everyone at the end for the final vote. The manuscripts are sent around to the committee members as soon as they are received so that the evaluations begin immediately. An effort is made to have a committee that is geographically and philosophically diverse to reflect the makeup of AJL. Contact: Aileen Grossberg.