Wednesday, July 18, 2007
This is the first story published in
Jewish News of Greater Phoenix about the 2007 convention (Scottsdale, AZ).
We've made it to the front page!
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
But this year ... enter Rabbi Harvey. The kids fought over the Adventures of Rabbi Harvey : a graphic novel of Jewish wisdom and wit in the Wild West by Steve Sheinkin. And as soon as one of them put it down, I picked it up.
In this graphic novel, Harvey is the kind, wise, and crafty
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Jonathan did phone in a greeting on the June 17 podcast - click on posts in the "listen in" box to the right and then select the June 17 selection to hear him.
His talk was called "Animal skins and God's bones: how the making and keeping of books has enriched the world and ensured the survival of the Jewish people"
He began his talk by explaining that the designation "people of the book" was a Muslim reference to both Jews and Christians. Jews embody the principle by not only reading books, but creating and interpreting them.
Although we received the Torah from the mouth of God, we were only able to "access" it by Moses' efforts - through his hand. In this way, human hands finish God's creative work of the Torah.
Kirsch also gave a wonderful little drash (I didn't catch the reference) that if the heaven's were parchment, the blades of grass brushes, and the oceans ink it would still not be enough the describe the wonders of the Torah.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thanks for a wonderful convention. It was a joy and a pleasure to see so many of you, the sessions were great, and I learned so much as always.
I am collecting Convention photos to post for our enjoyment. So a couple of requests.
I have created a Flickr Group called Association of Jewish Libraries. If you have a flickr account, you can join this group and post photos directly to the Group Photo Pool. Please tag all convention photos "ajl2007" and "convention".
If you do not have a flickr account, consider creating one at www.flickr.com and doing as suggested above.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, or want me to do the work, please send photos by email to email@example.com, and I will post them to the Flickr group.
Photos can be found at http://www.flickr.com/groups/435496@N22/ or just go to www.flickr.com and search for ajl2007.
AJL Advertising Manager
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I wanted to second Sheryl's comment that the food was excellent. Now I wish I'd thought to take a picture of dessert at the banquet: an amazing chocolate (flourless?) cake with raspberries, and giant chocolate-dipped strawberries, SO delicious! You'll just have to use your imagination. I did not have the mysterious vegetarian option, but from what I saw, my guess was risotto.
We'd love to know if this blog was entertaining/informative for you, and also what you thought of the phonecast. Please, please, please: post a comment to this blog, or email firstname.lastname@example.org so we'll know whether we should do it again next year and if there are any ways we can improve its usefulness to you.
For those who missed my handout (that little scrap of paper) the site is here
Thanks to everyone who shared hints about how they use wikis and blogs. I realized that I steered you wrong in one thing. You can attach files to wikis!
happy blogging! and wonderful wikki-ing!
For the most part, the food and service at the hotel has been excellent - with the one exception of the vegetarian entre at the banquet. I still haven't quite figured out what it was - an undercooked potato kugel maybe?
Anyway, its great to hear about wonderful books and to see how much the award winners appreciated the recognition.
The top picture is Heidi Estrin with Jo Taylor, daughter of the inspiring Sydney.
Here are a bunch of the honorees!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Sorry about the sideways pix- turn your head sideways to enjoy these scenes from some of the many sessions we've had with our award winning authors. left to right: Brynn Sugarman displays photos of her adopted daughter Rachel, model for Rebeca's Journey Home; Esme Raji Codell & Jennifer Roy signing autographs; Stephen Krensky showing art from Hannukah at Valley Forge; Greg Harlin was his own model for the Valley Forge soldier; Brenda Ferber shows her diary with a positive review of Julia's Kitchen pasted in; Linda Press Wulf shows the British and US covers for Night of the Burning.
Once again, one of the highlights of the convention was to wander among the vendors and drool over the books and gifts. I always especially enjoy the artists and craftspeople who show up.
Avima Darnov modeled one of her hand woven Tallitot. She had a variety of gorgeous soft wool and silk tallitot and crocheted kippot. Contact her at: TheTallitCorner@aol.com
Bobby Harr had a variety of mezuzot, jewelery, plates and other pieces in luminous kiln fused glass. They truly glowed and sparkled. Check him out at www.BobbyHarr.com
Randy Zucker brought in digital fine art prints that managed to look traditional, contemporary, and inspiring. See more of her work at www.virtualconceptions.com
JTS has Google search on their homepage - it searches all sections of their website. This searching also improves their standing in the Google listing.
The Solomon Schechter collection has been microfilmed. The finding aid database is available on the web and is searchable.
Joel Kushner talked about the establishment of an Initiative at HUC to train Rabbinic students and other Jewish professionals about homophobia and working with LGBT issues. HUC received a grant to set up and online resource center. They looked at other library and resource center sites and found that many were not visually appealing and that they just listed their content - not annotated it. They also wanted their site to be interactive and to have a strong educational component.
Monday, June 18, 2007
She found that libraries have embraced e-serials and e-reference books.
She asked "why haven’t they embraced e-books?"
- Could not afford to buy duplicate works in different formats
- Were afraid that patrons would only want e-version and books would be eliminated
- Readers still wanted to read from paper.
Some e-book collections include
- Otzar ha-hochma (subscription-based)
- Netlibrary (Suject collections)
- JNUL - digitized books (over 500 books)
- Google book
- Live.com (Microsoft project)
- Jewish Theological Seminary - digital projects
- Online books - Univ. of Penn. list
- Project Ben Yehuda
- Yizkor books at New York Public Library
- Put list of links on our homepages
- Add links to individual records in the OPACS
- Have some kind of federated search that searches different collectionns
- Provide A-Z list of available e-books
One example was the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
I somehow missed the handout, I'll try to find more links that she mentioned.
Libby pointed out that writing a review is not a plea to feed the author's children. She stated the importance of knowing the subject that you are reviewing. You should be able to verify the facts, compare the work in question to similar works, and determine if the book adds to the reader's understanding of the subject.
She also emphasized the need to act as a professional: READ THE DIRECTIONS (her emphasis), and get the review in on time.
Some other hints are: avoid long strings of adjectives, "cutesy" expressions, avoid passive voice, avoiding restating the title or the opening sentence, and leave out the author's (or reviewers) biographical information unless it's directly relevant.
Ellen continued the talk with a discussion of the place of the book review. She mentioned that 95% of books published have no advertising; book reviews might be their only exposure.
Ellen shared her 4 secrets:
Know thy audience. You are providing them a service by helping them make collection choices which basically means budget choices. If you are writing for AJL, you need to be aware of all branches of Judaism. You also have to be aware that non-Jews may also be using your review.
Know thy publisher. Get guidelines from the publisher. AJL has a pamphlet "Excellence in Jewish Children's Literature" (This is also available from the AJL website) Guidelines of this type will tell you what criteria to use in judging the book. Remember to keep to the word limit.
Know thy book. Judge if it's appropriate to the age range you've been given. Decide if it's Jewish. Determine if the text and the illustrations match each other in age appropriateness, tone, and accuracy. Reviewing books for teens can be especially tricky. The book should contain the teen perspective, not what adults assume would be the teen perspective. Make sure to mention if the books contains sex, drugs, or death so that librarians and parents can decide if the themes are appropriate to a particular teen.
Know thyself. Did you like the book? Describe why or why not. You are absolutely entitled to your opinion based on your own experience and taste.
We all know that librarianship can be a thankless profession. Its only appropriate that AJL take a few minutes to thank and recognize a couple of the people who have made a difference in our profession.
Zachary Baker presented the AJL Life membership award to Phil Miller, my colleague on the HUC
Libby White presented Ellen G. Cole with the Fanny Goldstein Merit Award. Ellen is enthusiastic about her work and especially about her family, her children and grandchildren. Ellen said that her motto is to be “MAD” to “Make A Difference.”
Sarah Barnard awarded the AJL scholarship to 2 library school students: Kimberly Guise and Russell Neiss. Russell was here to accept the scholarship. Sarah mentioned that they had a large pool of qualified students which made her committee’s task very difficult.
Yelena Luckert presented the Doris Orenstein award to 7 AJL members who had not attended the conference before.
Susan Greening presented accreditation certificates to many library who had worked hard to achieve this.
Marsha Lustigman began with Library 2.0: are you ready for the class of 2020?
We must reach outside of the library walls to the web, where our students ‘live’
What is Library 2.0?
- It is user centered (they create and contribute)
- Its is multi-media
- It is socially rich
- It is communally innovative
We need to move from content providers to content creators.
Marsha asked: are we teachers, techies, or technocrats? And what about the books? and copyright (are we enablers or gatekeepers?) information literacy.
She mentioned LibraryThing.com which is a more intuitive tool for library lists and catalogs. Some libraries are beginning to use it as their OPAC.Karen Ulric continued the discussion of Web 2.0
A chronological list of posts. One person can use it as journal, there can be group blogs, such as classroom or book club discussions.
You can manage your blogs through a blog reader such as bloglines.com which brings together all the blogs you want to read. The information is brought to you - you don't have to go to each page to read them.
You can also customize a homepage for yourself through Google and pull in information from lots of different resources.
community driven websites - many people can edit or add to the website. You can control who is able to edit the pages.
An example is AviChai's wiki for Jewish School Libraries.
flickr - a photo site
Youtube - online videos
LibraryThing - do-it-yourself books lists
del.icio.us - tagging site -links to others' tags
She recommend the TRAILS site for information literacy testing and resources.
Heidi Estrin concluded with a discussion of podcasts.
These are similar to blogs, with audio files attached. She mentioned that podcasts are like radio shows on the internet. This format is great for obscure topics, because you don't have to worry about drawing a huge audience.
Her handout is available at: http://ajlhandout.wordpress.com/
You can also add video images.
You can listen to podcasts by either streaming the file or downloading the mp3 file and listening to the program from your own computer or you can subscribe to the podcast through a feedreader (in Google, or iTunes or other)
Podcasts can be used to record live programs to make them available to people who couldn't attend; they can be used for PR; involving patrons in book reviewing, etc.
As with any of the new technological toys and tools, make sure you have the content!
There a few options for setting up a podcast. You can use gcast (see the sidebar). If you have a microphone on your computer, you can record at your computer too. You'll also need some editing software. One example of a free software is Audacity. A third option is to use a digital voice record and download the file. This can be connected to the phone. Skype (voice-over IP) can also be use to talk to anyone who has Skype or use Skype to call a regular land-line. (Make sure the other person has given permission to be recorded!)
To put in a plug for my own session - I will be also be talking about wikis and blogs tomorrow afternoon and will focus on how to set them up.
Karen started off by recapping the union of OCLC and RLG. She went over some of the reasons for the mergers which include: they duplicated services; it would save money for libraries who were paying both OCLC and RLG; RLG would be able to focus on research, not on providing services.
Currently, there are about 150 RLG partners. They’ve added new partners since the union: UCLA, U Washington, Oregon State U,
Her main focus though was on library research in the age of “Amazoogle.” Most students now look at search engines first when they start research. Only 1% go to the library catalog first.
The challenge to libraries is to get the resources out to the patrons. We need to our internal processes from study, deliberate and finally maybe change to “try it out” if it doesn’t work, take it down.
She showed off one of OCLC’s exciting new programs called “WorldCat identities” which brings together all forms of a name – including different alphabets. It also gives the number of works, publications, and languages and a publication timeline.
Web 2.0/Mobile generation – make the resources viewable on mobile units.
The long tail – scholars want to more obscure things that are not widely held – we should digitize the more unique items – not the most popular.
Unfortunately, the technology wasn’t working to show the Powerpoint, but by not having it, Karen really showed when you absolutely do or don’t need it. Most of the talk went very well, with Karen’s enthusiastic delivery. Occassionaly though, she really could not show her point without the hookup.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
If you have any feedback about the phonecast, or requests of topics we should cover, please post a comment to this blog.
~ Heidi Estrin
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Ruth Diskin Films Ltd. represents the best contemporary independent Israeli filmmaking and filmmakers. As one of the highly acclaimed Israeli distributors, Ruth Diskin Films Ltd. works with organizations and institutions that utilize non-commercial, educational media in their programs. This includes colleges and universities, archives, art cinemas, libraries, museums, galleries, symposiums etc. For more information, contact Ruth at email@example.com.
Sunday morning at the convention (9am-noon), the following Ruth Diskin films will be screened:
Jews of Iran - http://www.ruthfilms.com/html/fs_jews_of_iran.html
First Lesson in Peace - http://www.ruthfilms.com/html/p/fs_first_lesson_in_peace_p.html
The Children's House - http://www.ruthfilms.com/html/j/fs_the_childrens_house_j.html
The majority of AJL's award-winning books will be sold in the convention exhibit hall by Barnes and Noble.
Two important notes from B&N:
- Please make sure to bring a copy of your tax free status documentation!
- They can only accept POs from organizations with B&N accounts.
Rachel Kamin (STBA Committee) and Suzi Dubin (Convention Programming) have arranged to have an incredible and impressive roster of children's and YA authors presenting, being honored and signing their books.
A number of these signings will be taking place in the Exhibits Hall during breaks. Books being signed after the keynote on Sunday, after the play reading on Monday, and at the Awards Reception on Tuesday evening will be available for purchase at those events. Stay posted for the full schedule of book signings!
~ Sara Ravid
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee will be selling the following items during the annual two-part presentation on Tuesday morning, June 19 (8:30-10:00 AM/10:30 AM – 12:00 PM). Please plan to bring cash or a check with you to the session. We can not accept credit cards.
SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD KIT
1 Quest for the Best CD-ROM with all reviews written by the committee members for submissions published during 2006. The disc also includes shelf-talkers (gold and silver medal signs that you can put on the shelf near your copies of winning titles), images of the gold and silver seals for your own use in creating displays, and other valuable resources. In addition, the disc has audio files of interviews with this year’s Sydney Taylor Book Award winners: Stephen Krensky and Greg Harlin, Brenda Ferber, and Markus Zusak.
1 full-color copy of the Association of Jewish Libraries NOTABLE BOOKS OF JEWISH CONTENT FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS, listing all titles recognized by the Award Committee in 2007.
20 BOOKMARKS featuring the 2007 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners.
3 GOLD SEALS for the 2007 Award Winners: Hanukkah at Valley Forge, Julia’s Kitchen, and The Book Thief.
10 SILVER SEALS for the 2007 Honor Award Winners: The White Ram, I am Marc Chagall, Shlemazel and the Remarkable Spoon of Pohost, Rebecca’s Journey Home, Vive La Paris, Solomon and the Ant, Yellow Star, The Night of the Burning, Incantation, and A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life.
$5.00/pack of 20
Package of 20 full-color, cardstock bookmarks featuring the 2007 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners
$5.00/pack of 20
Sydney Taylor Book Award Seals are available in the following packages: 20 Gold Seals, 20 Silver Seals, and 10 Gold + 10 Silver Seals
These items will also be available by mail after the Convention. Contact Nancy Austein at firstname.lastname@example.org after June 25 to place your order. Hope to see you in Scottsdale!
Rachel Kamin, Chair
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
Thursday, June 7, 2007
If you are considering coming to that session, and if podcasting is one of the topics that interests you, I'd like to give you a little homework assignment.
Please go to www.podpresentation.blogspot.com and listen to the 20-minute audio presentation you'll find there. This discussion of podcasting in libraries and education will provide some context for the topic.
See you soon in Scottsdale!
~ Heidi Estrin
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Native Cultures and Plants of the Southwest Tour; Sunday, June 17, 2007
7:00AM Pick up from Hilton
7:30AM Arrive at
10:00AM Arrive at Heard Museum
12:30 PM Arrive at King Solomon's Pizza for a kosher lunch
1:30PM Return to Hilton
For your attention, Board and Council members (or anybody wishing to take the shorter tour), the bus will go in between the hotel and tour and drop you off just in time for either the 9:00AM or 12:00PM meetings. You will only pay for the activities you participate in.
Fees (paid on site):
For the full tour, inclusive of admissions, guided tours, lunch, and transportation: $31.
For those leaving at 8:40: $12 for the
For those leaving at 11:40: $21 for both tours (DBG and
The tour transportation is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program at
Please contact me directly, at email@example.com.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
By clicking the play button, you will be able to hear audio reports from the convention! That's right, we are phonecasting! (i.e. podcasting by phone) We'll be calling in reports from the convention, and hopefully interviewing attendees and guest speakers too.
We probably won't be able to use this service to record convention sessions because a cell phone won't pick up voices that aren't speaking directly into the phone. However, if there are particular aspects of the convention or speakers you want to hear about, post a comment to this blog and we'll see what we can do.
For now, there is just one phonecast on there: a welcome message recorded today, labeled "May 16, 2007 Phone call." Check back closer to the convention for new recordings. You can also subscribe to the phonecast and have it delivered to you by email (see the Subscribe Free link below the player) or even add the player to your own web page or blog (see the Add to my Page link).
Friday, May 11, 2007
This is the last call for those interested in taking the guided tour, Native Cultures of the Southwest (Sunday, June 17th, 7:30AM-1:00PM; with option for earlier leaving, at 9:00 and at noon).
What's in the tour?
* A tour in the Desert Botanical Garden, "rated #1 for all Phoenix things to do" in Yahoo Travel (http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2808344-desert_botanical_gardens_phoenix-i). This botanical garden specializes in cacti and succulents, with some 20,000 specimens, including some from the geographic area of Erets-Israel (for those of us who miss hatsavim in the fall, this is the place to find them!). The gift shop offers small cacti in well-packed boxes to take home with you, and decorative objects made of saguaro ribs. Start practicing the word Saguaro... (pronounce: sa-wa-ro).
* A tour in the Heard Museum, which according to Frommer's, "should be your very first stop" in Arizona when it comes to learning about its native cultures (http://www.frommers.com/destinations/phoenix/A19065.html). The Heard Museum is located in a beautiful building, and its educational exhibits are impressing. The gift shop is well-known for quality, though pricey, selections.
* A pizza and salads lunch at the kosher King Solomon's Pizza (http://azjews.blogspot.com/2006/11/king-solomons-pizza-dairy-vaad.html).
Both the tours are guided, but there will be free time for you to wander around and explore for yourselves.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org by May 18th (Friday next week) to register. A few more seats are available.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
The idea behind AJL's Convention wiki is that presenters can easily add information about their sessions, and even provide links to handouts or resources that they want attendees to know about. All presenters, convention organizers, and attendees are welcome to add their content to the wiki.
You can find the wiki at http://ajl2007.pbwiki.com.
Monday, May 7, 2007
2007 is the first year AJL presented a book award for teen readers, and convention organizers are particularly pleased to welcome Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, the Teen Book Award Winner. Zusak will travel all the way from his home in Australia to receive the award. Other award-winning authors and illustrators who will be present include:
- Author Stephen Krensky and illustrator Greg Harlin, creators of the picture book Hanukkah at Valley Forge, the Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers
- Brenda Ferber, author of the novel Julia's Kitchen, the Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers
- Ann Redisch Stampler, author of the picture book Shlemazel and the Remarkable Spoon of Pohost, a Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner for Younger Readers
- Brynn Olenberg Sugarman, author of the picture book Rebecca's Journey Home, a Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner for Younger Readers - who will travel all the way from Israel for this event
- Esme Raji Codell, author of the novel Vive La Paris, a Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner for Older Readers
- Jennifer Roy, author of the novel Yellow Star, a Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner for Older Readers
- Linda Press Wulf, author of the novel Night of the Burning: Devorah's Story, a Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner for Older Readers
- Dana Reinhardt, author of the teen novel A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, an AJL Honor Award Winner for Teens (this award will take on the Sydney Taylor name beginning in 2008)
All ten authors/illustrators will be presenting sessions during the convention on either Monday, June 18 or Tuesday, June 19. A reception and book signing will take place on Tuesday, June 19 followed by the evening awards banquet.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
As you may know, our keynote speaker will be Jonathan Kirsch. He's the author of really interesting analyses of the Bible, including:
- The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible
- Moses: a Life
- King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel
- The Woman Who Laughed at God: The Untold History of the Jewish People
- God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism
- A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization
His keynote address will be called "Animal Skins and God's Bones: How the Making and Keeping of Books Has Enriched the World and Ensured the Survival of the Jewish People." You can hear a sneak preview of this keynote in an interview with Jonathan Kirsch on The Book of Life podcast. And of course, you should also take a look at his website.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
AJL has an area guide and a shopping guide on the convention page.
I'm sure you'll be hearing this a lot - but plan to drink lots of water!
We hope this will give a 'taste of the convention' to those who couldn't be here and to start conversations with those who could! Feel free to add comments to any post. I would love to get other perspectives on the same sessions or to hear about sessions that I couldn't attend.
If you haven't registered yet, go to the AJL convention page for the forms.