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3,548 Library Lovers Celebrate Jewish Library Snapshot Day



Library Snapshot Day 2010

The People of the Book really do love libraries! In November 2010, during Jewish Book Month, 30 Jewish libraries participated in Library Snapshot Day.  The event, sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries, was created to let all types of Judaic libraries record what happens in a day in the life of a library. Across North America, libraries in synagogues, day schools, community centers and universities picked one day during the first two weeks of November to hold the event. Collectively, participating libraries served 3,548 patrons on Library Snapshot Day.

The Activities

From Jewish hubs like Chicago, IL to smaller Jewish communities like Tulsa, OK, from sunny Miami, FL to chilly Montreal, Quebec, Jewish libraries held author visits, study groups, literary and computer quizzes, artist receptions, book discussions, book sales, scavenger hunts, craft projects, parenting programs, charity drives, and children’s story times. Eleven of the participating libraries shared their circulation statistics, revealing that at least 745 books were checked out during Library Snapshot Day.

The Feedback

Every participating library reported overwhelmingly positive feedback from its community. Common themes included praise for the library as a quiet, peaceful environment in which to read and work, kudos for the hard work of librarians (many of whom, apparently, “rock”), and appreciation for the many print and digital resources provided. A patron at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School in Great Neck, NY said “The library is a great place to study and clear your head. I always feel relaxed and very welcomed when I come to the library, and I love the librarian.” A sixth-grader at the Sheila Sporn Library at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, CA said “Libraries are important because they let people who don't have enough money get books to read.” A patron of the Brenner Library at Temple Emanuel in Denver, CO drives 150 miles from the mountains to make use of the facilities. Perhaps the general sentiments of library users are best summed up by a patron at the Feldman Library at Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, FL, who said “The library helps us to continue to be the People of the Book!”

What It All Means

Library Snapshot Day captured the diversity of services offered by Jewish libraries and underscored the importance of libraries in Jewish life. “Libraries and librarians often fly under the radar in their communities,” said Association of Jewish Libraries Vice-President, Heidi Estrin. “We are thrilled that, on Library Snapshot Day, over three thousand people expressed their love of Jewish libraries. We hope that the event will encourage even more people to use these amazing resources year-round.” A slide show of selected photographs submitted by participants may be viewed on AJL's blog "People of the Books" at jewishlibraries.org/blog.

The concept of Library Snapshot Day originated with the American Library Association, of which AJL is an affiliate. Click here for more information on ALA's Library Snapshot Day.

Please feel free to share this article and/or video on your site or via social networking. You can find AJL online at jewishlibraries.org, at facebook.com/jewishlibraries, and on Twitter @jewishlibraries.
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