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Heidi Estrin, Association of Jewish Libraries' Public Relations Chair has issued the following press release:

                         NEWS RELEASE


November, 2008 

The Association of Jewish Libraries has released its new "Israel@60" suggested reading list, with over thirty titles on Israel for adults and children. The list includes fiction and non-fiction, and offers a brief description of each book. Websites and videos on Israel for adults and children are listed as well.The Israel@60 reading list is available in pdf format on the Association of Jewish Libraries website at"Books about Israel are written from so many points of view, some friendly, some not," said Susan Dubin, President of the Association of Jewish Libraries. "With the sixtieth birthday of the state of Israel being celebrated this year, we felt the time was right to showcase books with a positive view of the country's history and achievements."

The Israel@60 reading list was compiled by Association of Jewish Libraries member Andrea Rapp, librarian at the Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio, and an expert on the topic of Israel. A Judaica librarian for over twenty years, Andrea holds a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree in History from Northwestern University, and a Master's in Library Science from the University of Minnesota. Her article on  Israel-related literature, "Lies in the Library," was published in Reform Jewish Magazine (summer 2005).

This is an outstanding resource to learn more about Israel!


Susan Dubin

AJL President

Posted in: Uncategorized
 For immediate release--November, 2008



Author talks, lectures on Jewish literature, panel discussions, and workshops are among the offerings of the newly launched Association of Jewish Libraries Podcast. Available at, the program provides audio that enhances and enriches the listener's appreciation of Jewish book culture.


The podcast will include material recorded at the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention, as well as recordings of Jewish literary events across North America. A wide range of topics will be covered, from the academic to the hands-on, from children's literature to technology.


"Jews are book lovers, and Jewish librarians even more so," says Susan Dubin, President of the Association of Jewish Libraries. "The AJL Podcast gives us a way to share our enthusiasm with others, without geographical or scheduling restrictions. Now everyone can learn and enjoy!"


New podcast episodes will be posted every few weeks. Listeners can hear the show online at, subscribe via iTunes or other feed readers (using the feed, receive episodes by email via FeedBlitz, or listen by phone at (651) 925-2538.


To celebrate the launch of the podcast, AJL is offering a Jewish book give-away. Forward this press release or post its contents on a blog or web page to be entered into a drawing for five Jewish interest books from Hachette Book Group. Be sure to CC on any forwarded messages or to email us about any posts. Complete contest rules and information about the give-away titles can be seen at - click on the Contest page in the sidebar. Deadline for entry is December 12, 2008.


Posted in: Uncategorized

For the last week in August and the first two weeks of September I was visiting Turkey. While there, I managed to explore several ancient sites of famous libraries. Here I am at Pergamon, where the second largest library of the ancient world once stood. The library once rivaled the famous collection in Alexandria with over 200,000 volumes. It is said that Egypt stopped sending papyrus to Pergamon to keep the library from growing. The people in Pergamon met this challenge by inventing parchment to write on!

 The picture below is of the beautiful library in Ephesus. It was three stories high with a two story tall reading room! At its height, it contained 12,000 scrolls. Scrolls were kept in temperature controlled cupboards to preserve them. Although the card catalog is not still in existence :), historians tell us that the scrolls were organized by subject for easy retrieval.



Unfortunately, I did not get to see any Jewish libraries while there. There are still Jewish communities in Turkey (most Jews live around Istanbul), and Turkey has good trade relations with Israel. Historically, Turkey has provided a safe haven for Jews, offering sanctuary after the expulsion from Spain and during the Holocaust. Although most of the population are Muslims, Turkey's government is still a secular democracy. I found the people that we met to be very friendly and easy to talk to. It was definitely a marvelous trip!

Wishing everyone a joyous Sukkot,

Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Trips
Right after returning from the AJL Convention, I headed out to Mickey Mouse Land  (Anaheim, California) to attend ALA. I spent all day on Friday at the Library Advocacy Workshop . It was very valuable even though much of the information had to do with influencing state and local governments to fund public and school libraries. There were some good suggestions for fundraising and a few good lists of how to present your case about the need for libraries and librarians. The AJL Convention also had a workshop on Valuing Libraries given by Joanne Roukens. If a chapter would like to bring Joanne Roukens to present a regional workshop, they should contact me to arrange it. It is well worthwhile!

I also spent time visiting the exhibits and speaking to some of the vendors about attending the AJL Convention next year in Chicago as well as trying to set up some agreements for AJL members to get discounts. More on that as agreements are worked out! For now, AJL members can get discounts from KarBenand Pitspopany Publishers.

'Til Next Time,

Susan Dubin, AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized
The Chicago Convention Committee has arranged for Mrs. Barbara Schneider-Kempf, the Director General of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preuischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin State Library- Prussian Cultural Heritage), to address the AJL membership about an ongoing project of the Berlin Library to identify and find the owners of many books that were taken from Jewish homes and libraries during the Holocaust. According to an article in Der Welt that was cited by AJL Past-President Phil Miller, the Berlin Library holds up to as many as 150,000 books suspected of being stolen from Jewish owners and others persecuted by the Nazis. The Library has identified some of the former owners and returned books that were taken from Arthur Rubinstein and Leo Baeck to their legacies. Mrs, Schneider-Kempf will speak about the project to identify the books and their owners and tell AJL members how they can help as librarians.

The AJL Convention will be held in Chicago, July 5-8, 2009, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. It is an event open to all 1100 AJL members and others interested in Judaica Librarianship. See the Association of Jewish Libraries web page for more information.
Posted in: Events
One of our members from Argentina, Rita Saccal of the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano, just got back from the VII Convention of the RLIT (Red Latinoamericana de Informacion Teologica - Latin American Network of Theological Information) in Paraguay where she was the only Jewish librarian. Because of her input, for the first time in the history of this Red de Informacion Teologica (Network of Theological Information), to add Judaica in the Theological Librarianship Studies. She even taught the Convention participants to say the "Ha-Motzi" before meals! Many thanks, Rita, for introducing Judaic librarianship to this important South American organization.

This weekend, Vice President/President-Elect David Hirsch and I will be visiting Seattle to meet with the 2010 Convention committee and to check out the hotels we are considering for the Convention. While there, I will speak to a group at the Seattle Public Library Northeast Branch about the importance of libraries in our society and the role of librarians in building bridges with books and libraries. If you know anyone in the Seattle area, please invite them to attend!

'Til next time,

Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized

Canadian Flag   Happy Canada Day to all AJL Canadian Members!

Many of our AJL members hail from our Northern neighbor. In fact, our current School, Synagogue, and Center Division President is from Bialik Hebrew Day School near Montreal. We have been fortunate to have several of our annual conventions in Canada. Most recently, we travelled to Toronto during the height of the SARS scare. Despite the news media hype, those of us who attended the Convention in 2003 had a marvelous time, completely germ-free.

We are just starting to plan our 2011 Convention in Montreal. If you live near there, please volunteer to help or join us for l'event fantastique!

'Til next time,

Susan Dubin, AJL President

Posted in: Uncategorized

Hi! I am Susan Dubin, President of The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), and we are "The People of the Books." I just came back from our annual convention. This year we met in Cleveland at the Cleveland Marriott East, with some of the friendliest and most helpful hotel staffs I have ever known. The Cleveland chapter of the Association of Jewish Libraries organized the convention and provided learning, entertainment, and comraderie beyond excellent. Many of the sessions were recorded for podcasting and will be available soon on our website at . In the meantime, you can read thoughts and observations from some of the convention attendees as well as some photos of the event at the 2008 AJL Convention Blog. Check it out! Nothing replaces the excitement of meeting old and new friends and being able to network in person, however.

The tone for the Convention was set by the keynote address by Dr. Ellen Frankel, CEO of the Jewish Publication Society. Dr. Frankel is a well-known author and publisher. She gave an overview of the history of Jewish publishing in the United Sates and left us with many words of wisdom.

One of the highlights of the Convention was a workshop on library advocacy. Unfortunately, libraries are very much undervalued in our society and several libraries have closed or reduced their services due to budget cuts. This workshop helped librarians to become their own best advocates and gave very practical tips on how to do that. The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) plans to offer this program to chapters or regions around the country as a way of supporting those members who are being faced with budget cuts or lay-offs.

Another amazing event was the post-convention 40th anniversary celebration of the Sydney Taylor Book Awards. This one-day workshop brought together authors, illustrators and publishers to reflect on the history of Jewish literature for children and speculate about future trends. One of the panels I attended on teen literature featured three prominent authors -- Sonia Levitin, Carol Matas, and Margo Rabb -- and had attendees in tears over the authors' personal stories. The Newbery Medalist and Sydney Taylor Book Award-winning author Sid Fleischman was the luncheon keynote speaker.

Hopefully you will join us next year when we go to Chicago!

'Til next time,

Susan Dubin

Posted in: Uncategorized
Have you ever been asked why the library should be part of the school curriculum? At the California School Library Association Conference held this past November, Doug Achterman gave a presentation on the latest study to confirm the relationship between school libraries and student achievement. Here is a quote from his email to the calib list serv:

" Here are some of the highlights from the new California study on the relationship between school libraries and student achievement:

--At the elementary, middle school and high school levels, the presence of certificated teacher librarians was significantly related to higher STAR test scores.

--At the secondary level, the more total library staff (certificated and classified), the higher the STAR test scores tended to be, even when controlling for school and socio-economic conditions.

--At all three levels, STAR scores were significantly related to the number of services a library staff provided. More services were a good predictor of higher test scores, even when controlling for school and socio-economic conditions.

--At all three levels, both certificated library staffing and total library staffing were significantly related to the number of services the library program offered. The more staffing, the more services.

You can download a copy of the presentation at"

Have you some statistics about how your library has affected learning? An anecdote? Please share them with me, so we can start to gather our own information about the unquestionable value of libraries and librarians!

Susan Dubin

Association of Jewish Libraries


Posted in: Uncategorized

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