Conference: 2014 Conference Proceedings

The 49th Annual AJL Conference was held at the Westin Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA June 22-25, 2014.
The descriptions for the sessions are listed below. Proceedings may not be available for all sessions.

Las Vegas, NV

Proceedings

This roundtable with the new AJL Board members discussion will give AJL members a chance to hear from the incoming leaders of the organization and to share what they want AJL to provide.

Go behind the scenes of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee! The first part of this 2-part session featured the winning authors and illustrators in attendance. The second part offers a revealing discussion of the criteria the committee uses to evaluate books. Get new insight into the positive merits to the winners, honors and notables and discover other noteworthy titles for your collections and classrooms. The committee will be sharing practical tips to share these books with your students and programming ideas.

The session will provide an overview of new services and developments at OCLC with a focus on cataloging and other issues of interest to AJL.

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At the Awards Banquet, awards were presented to the winners of the RAS Reference and Bibliography Awards and the SSC Sydney Taylor Book Awards. Winners received awards and gave remarks.

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The purpose of this presentation is to provide a bibliography of some of the books written by well known and highly respected Israeli authors which were published in English in the first dozen years of the 21st Century. Literature is often a great mirror of a society and these books can be used by book discussion groups as well as for informative, pleasure reading.

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This session will be a discussion and follow-up to the plenary address by Dr. Schrijver. The members of the panel will share how they are using digital humanities and present some of their current projects.

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From the eighth through the fifteenth centuries, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together on the Iberian Peninsula, creating a dynamic culture with artistic, technological, intellectual, and scientific achievements unparalleled elsewhere in Europe. Was this peaceful coexistence real or superficial, or perhaps a fantasy created by a modern world eager for such coexistence ourselves? What do these centuries of living together have to tell us about our chances for “convivencia” (living together) today?

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• Once upon a time, a Jewish grandfather told his granddaughter who was being bullied about a woman who had to figure out how to pull three hairs from a lion’s mane.
• Once upon a time when times were hard, a rabbi told the community the story of the miracle that occurred after the Baal Shem Tov’s secret spot for praying for his people was lost.
• Once upon a time, a stranger helped a lost young man find his way in the world by telling him the tale where King Solomon loses his whole identity in one moment of arrogance and needs to start again.

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After almost ten years building, updating, adding and expanding the Hebrew literature database, The Lexicon of Modern Hebrew Literature, Yossi will describe the history of the project, its challenges and its future

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With many schools and synagogues closing their libraries or severely cutting back on hours and services, this session will seek to explore new ideas for keeping the idea of a Judaic library collection viable in today’s (and tomorrow’s) world.

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In the past year the National Library of Israel (NLI) has advanced on many fronts towards its goal of transforming itself from a Judaica research-centered academic library to a broad-spectrum institution serving all sectors of Israeli society and the Jewish people. The Library has initiated a number of projects to enrich its bibliographic and authority data from outside sources, as well as to allow other institutions to link to the library's own data and to add to the library's authority file.

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With the establishment of Food Studies programs at universities in North America and elsewhere over the past several decades, cookbooks are now fully recognized by academic libraries as valuable troves of all kinds of information. Foodways researcher Barbara Wheaton uses cookbooks to document the use of ingredients; kitchen equipment and the workspace; and cooking techniques across time and space. And as NYU professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health Marion Nestle writes in her foreword to 101 Classic Cookbooks, “food history is inscribed in cookbooks.

Our patrons are looking for a "Good Read" - how can we help them find an appropriate book? How can we keep up with all of the new releases? What are Jewish book groups reading? Explore the latest and greatest in Jewish fiction for adult readers and come prepared to share some of your favorite new titles. Tips for running a successful book group and reading lists will be shared.

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Representatives from the Israel and Judaica Section at the Library of Congress will discuss developments in acquisitions and cataloging during the past year and will address questions submitted in advance by AJL members.

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In this presentation, I will explain the features of the Jewish Valuesfinder. Also, I will demonstrate how to access the database from the AJL website and the different access points to search the database

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What does the Jewish tradition have to share with regards to questions concerning netiquette and online ethics? What is the relationship between the internet and civility? Has incivility in America increased due to social media and what are its effects on democratic public discourse? How can we measure the effects of online incivility by objective scientific criteria? Does online anonymity encourage harassment of women or does online anonymity protect marginalized groups? Why is cyberbullying a serious problem from the standpoint of Jewish ethics?

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Juan Domingo Perón appears in the Argentine history during the Década infame (infamous decade, 1930-1943), when the ultranationalists took power. There was an important German influence on the Argentine military which assured a pro-Nazi and fascist sentiment spreading totalitarian ideas among the army and creating an anti-American and anti-British sentiment. How did this affect the Jewish Community??

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Do you want to bring more people into your library? Are you wondering where to begin? Learn about planning and presenting programs which will work best for your library's or institution's particular needs and interests. We'll also talk about different kinds of programs and how to find presenters.

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There is a need to write Jewish children’s books that speak to the recent fascinating and much discussed poll of the American Jewish community by the Pew Research Center’s Religion &Public Life Project, the first major survey of American Jews in more than 10 years, which finds a significant rise in those who are not religious, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish. How will the Jewish community (and by extension Jewish libraries) cope with these changes and how will good Jewish children’s books help us succeed in raising Jewish kids?

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Poems from several published books of poetry by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub will be read.

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Dr. Weinberg will give a paper on how concordances are structured.

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Yaffa Weissman, incoming AJL President and Chair of the Strategic Planing Committee, will share the process we followed in developing our strategic plan as well as the plan we are proposing to steer AJL in the future.

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Yaffa Weissman, incoming AJL President and Chair of the Strategic Planing Committee, will share the process we followed in developing our strategic plan as well as the plan we are proposing to steer AJL in the future.

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Today, most people think that if a book is damaged, it’s time to throw it out as everything is online. Besides the fact that not everything is online, there are many titles that are costly to acquire digital rights, and a 15 minute book repair costing just a few dollars would preserve the currently cataloged copy, saving acquisition dollars and staff time. Most librarians treat damaged books by slapping tape on them, which is almost as bad as assuming that everything is online.

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The Iraqi Jewish Archive, a group of 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents found in Saddam Hussein’s flooded intelligence building, came to the United States in 2003 for preservation, cataloging, and exhibition. The books and documents all relate to the Baghdadi Jewish Community. After nearly ten years, the material is now all available through an online database ensuring access. This paper will discuss the unique challenges of the collection plus the exciting discoveries of materials from the basement.

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When Shuli Berger was a student in an introductory Yiddish course, her mother showed her a group of Yiddish children’s books she had owned since her childhood. Shuli will lecture on these books, which upon investigation were discovered to be rare Yiddish children’s books, written and illustrated by Moshe Levin, under the pseudonym Ber Sarin, published in Vilna in the late 1930s. The presentation will include a discussion of the books and their author, and the backstory of the books; how they traveled from Kovno, Lithuania, to Chicago, IL.

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Geoff Schumacher, a professor at College of Southern Nevada, will speak about the Jewish involvement in the Mob and their relation to the early beginnings of Las Vegas. Elliot Karp, director of the Las Vegas Jewish Federation will share information about the current Jewish community and its history.

Jewish genealogy's "other side," Sephardic research focuses on families originating in Spain and Portugal, but whom today live globally. In the past few years, resources have grown exponentially with many new books, websites and databases. Topics include geography; customs, traditions, history; languages, documents; basic online and archival resources; new books and journals; new projects and conferences.

In this digital age, it is easier than ever before to honor our ancestral communities, preserve resources and recreate memories for all descendants of a particular place in history. Why this is important - Internet/Digital presence vs brick-and-mortar presence - Who will be interested? - Where and how to locate interested collaborators and descendants - What to include - examples of successful projects.

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The Common Core State Standards in English language arts and literacy present a great challenge for students and teachers. Librarians are crucial allies, uniquely able to take three essential steps. First, they can help disseminate the research on reading comprehension underlying the standards. This body of research, which will be fully explained in the presentation, boils down to this: reading comprehension depends chiefly on prior knowledge. That’s why the ELA standards have such a strong emphasis on informational texts.

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Presentation will focus on how to teach good practices on the internet. It is designed to
create greater awareness amongst high school students to:
• Participate positively (no cyberbullying or risky behavior)
• Protect privacy and security
• Build identities
• Respect intellectual property

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The history of the Jewish Book includes numerous forgeries and false authorships. In my presentation, I want to focus on a specific event that demonstrates how scholars and rabbis can be easily fooled by forgeries. In the early 20th century, an unknown scholar, Shlomo Freidlander, presented a Seder Kodashim from the Talmud Yerushalmi which was thought not to exist. Many were eager to accept this new addition to the canon of Jewish sacred texts.

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EBSCO’s has advisory boards for business, medicine, art, music, law, political science, and other academic disciplines, but it is not feasible to have a board for every subject area. As a result, EBSCO complements its boards by running informal focus groups with library experts in other disciplines. The company would like to receive feedback on how it can improve its platform in the area of Jewish Studies. EBSCO has a comprehensive discovery service and wants to ensure that it contains the most comprehensive coverage in all disciplines.

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Miriam Brysk, a Holocaust survivor, author, and artist, and Margaret Lincoln, a school librarian and teacher, will share the lessons they use to introduce Holocaust studies to students using art.

Dr. Brysk will describe her family's life in the Lida Ghetto in Belarus and how they narrowly escaped death by an Einsatzgruppe because the Germans needed her father, a surgeon, to operate on wounded German soldiers. In late 1942, when she was nearly 8, Jewish Partisans rescued her family from the ghetto and brought them to the Lipiczany forest where she became a Partisan. In order to protect her from rape by Russian partisans, she was dressed like a boy and given a gun of her own.

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This session will consider the establishment of a working group to prepare for potential BDS activities in college settings, professional associations, and public library communities. In addition, the discussion will address increasing bias against Israel’s perspective in mainstream library resources, such as reference tools, databases, journal literature, and video collections. Although most evident in academia, public librarians have a role and are welcome to join the discussion.

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As a little girl growing up in a post-World War II Jewish suburb of Detroit, Michigan, Joanne Gilbert was profoundly influenced by her Grandmother’s vivid stories of the beloved family members and friends who were so brutally murdered in Vilna, Lithuania during the Holocaust. She was particularly troubled by the images of Jews going to their deaths “like sheep going to the slaughter,” and wondered if any of them fought for their lives. She was also curious about their Gentile friends and neighbors--did any of them try to help the Jews?

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Learn how to flaunt your assets, get attention and practice library advocacy. This session will be directed to synagogue and center libraries but can also be applied to schools and other settings. We will go through the AJL Advocacy Toolkit, its talking points, value calculator and other resources. We will also touch on community assessment as well as share ideas for effective action and programming to improve visibility for your library.

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Based on my experiences curating a portion of the exhibit Jewish Refugees in Shanghai (1933-1941) at UCLA in Fall 2013, I will present a brief history of the Shanghai Ghetto, an overview of the exhibition, and my work with Shanghailanders who live in Los Angeles, contributed artifacts to the exhibit, and participated in the symposium. Local Shanghailanders will present 5 minute “stories” of their experiences. Questions can be directed to me and to them in a discussion afterwards. There will be artifacts to display.

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Rockwern Academy’s All-School-Read programs began with a seed that grew into a huge tree branching in many directions. Julia Weinstein, the school librarian at Cincinnati’s Jewish day school, and Language Arts teacher Elaine Kaplan were discussing Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea. Then Ms. Weinstein learned the book had both a young adult version and a picture book companion, Listen to the Wind.

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Historical fiction and history nonfiction for young readers bear the obligation to make history come alive. They also bear the obligation to create a credible world. Many do so through a mixture of seven components: painstaking research, contextual setting, tone, focused storytelling, engaging characters, vetting by subject matter experts, and compelling back matter. Yet, others suffer from the lack of these things. This presentation celebrates the books that do it well (promoters) and shows why others do a disservice to young readers (detractors).

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The Old Jewish Library of Mainz was saved during World War II. The books were hidden in a coal cellar and survived in rather good condition. The collection of almost 5500 volumes, among them rare Hebraica and manuscripts, is one of the very few libraries saved from the persecutions in Germany. In 1946 the books were brought to the newly founded university of Mainz. Most interesting is the reconstruction of the ownership of some of the books.

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An essential part of the library program, the library web site has become a primary tool for disseminating information in the current electronic environment. Your site should support the curriculum of your school and provide continuing education for synagogue library patrons by offering a wide range of resources tailored to their needs. Online Jewish resources abound. How can they be organized in logical and attractive ways on your synagogue or school library website? How can you provide your patrons with diverse sources, especially avoiding bias in coverage of Israel?

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The evidence of the Common Core is right before us. Librarians, like Robin Gluck and Ben Pastcan, are implementing the Common Core in conjunction with state school library standards. How? With the assistance of the book Inquiry and the Common Core: Librarians and Teachers Designing Teaching for Learning edited by Violet H. Harada and Sharon Coatney. There are three techniques to exercise the state library standards and the Common Core that I use in lessons: Inquiry, Reading, and Complexity of Text.

There are numerous definitions of Digital Humanities, most of which tend toward an incorporation of digital technology and innovative research questions in the humanities. The applicability of such a definition to the field of libraries is problematic to say the least. Libraries typically provide access to the results of research and do not produce new knowledge per se.

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The paper discusses the acquisition of a collection of over 1500 manuscripts from North Africa with a particular emphasis on Morocco dating from 1800-1950. The documents consist of rabbinic decisions, poetry, liturgy, mystical texts, homilies and more. In addition to the content of the manuscripts, the process by which it was made available for scholarly research will also be discussed. Experts in the field were enlisted to assist in identifying content, outside funding was obtained to help cover expenses, preservation needs were determined, and a finding aid was created.

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The Shia Szrut Holocaust Memorial Collection gives agency to lost voices. People also become cognizant of their own agency as they explore our materials. They learn about people who have been muted, hurt, broken, tortured, and destroyed, as well as the frightened, the fighters, and the saved. The collection encourages the general public to ponder the “when, why and how” questions of the Holocaust, genocide, and intolerance. Our Washoe County Library Statement of Values encourages inclusiveness to the idea that we are all part of the human family.

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A discussion session for school librarians on working with faculty and administration for establishing standards and benchmarks in information literacy and digital citizenship, and on developing rubrics to asses student achievement in these areas. The discussion will include tying the concept of digital literacy to Jewish ethical values.

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Over the past three years, the Harvard Library Judaica Division has been undergoing a systematic review of its contemporary holdings of Western Judaica. This has involved a country-by-country extraction and synthesis of bibliographic data from national, university, and Jewish community libraries, as well as WorldCat, based on a honed series of keywords and author headings. Automated searching techniques are then used to compare the compiled country lists with Harvard holdings, and sources are identified for books not held.

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The lecture will focus on the role of the Talmud as one of the most central texts in Jewish life. For generations, scholars have poured over the pages of the Talmud as an unparalleled compendium of rabbinic wisdom that discusses halakha, philosophy, midrash, history and more. The Talmud scholars at Koren Publishers share a common vision that the Talmud goes far beyond an in-depth book of rabbinical literature; it holds the key to the ongoing renewal and vitality Jewish life and Jewish culture.

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