Conference: 2015 Conference Proceedings

The 50th, Jubilee, conference was held at the Sheraton in Silver Spring, Maryland from Sunday, June 21, 2015 through Wednesday, June 24, 2015. Proceedings will be posted as they become available. Note that proceedings may not be available for all sessions.

Washington DC (Silverspring, MD)

Proceedings

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee will discuss recent trends in Jewish children’s literature and will highlight selected books received in 2014. Bibliographies for all ages will include inclusivity, young adult love stories, graphic novels and Holocaust literature.

In the past year, The National Library of Israel (NLI) has continued to develop and upgrade services serving libraries, researchers, and the general public. The library has taken over management of the Israel national union list (ULI) and introduced a new user interface. It is also actively expanding its name authority data with both biographical data and multi-script headings towards becoming a national authority file. The Library is also linking its bibliographic records to those of the Bibliography of the Hebrew Book.

In the 20th century Jewish museums expanded, were built, and grew across the United States. Now a new Jewish museum is on the horizon in Washington, D.C. (projected opening 2020). What elements will distinguish this new facility? How will the core exhibition be a reflection of the unique Jewish community in Washington - a city that is at once local, national, and international. Attendees will be among the first to hear plans for the new facility and about the challenges building a Jewish museum presents in the 21st century.

Anti-Semitism on American college campuses has been growing in recent years. While the Arab-Israeli Conflict and the BDS movement have been major themes in this rise, they are by no means the only ones. This talk will examine the specific threats that anti-Semitism poses on today’s college campus and will frame them within the context of a resurgent global anti-Semitism.

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In 1997, a student interested in learning about a Jewish topic would be hard-pressed to find it on the Internet. Most of what was available was hard to find, spread across many sites and not always good or credible. As students began to look first to the Internet for information, AICE decided it was necessary to create a one-stop shop where the answers to most questions could be found.

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Of all Jewish diaspora communities in modern times, social conditions unique to South Africa allowed Jewish women, part of a privileged white European settler minority, to play a pioneering role in fields, such as politics, law, literature, theatre and art, to a degree beyond that in the older, larger and more established Jewish communities of the United Kingdom and the United States.

When an author is asked "What was your inspiration?" or "Where did the idea for your book come from?", the answer usually involves a singular story or event. The Jewish Comix Anthology is a varied mixture of stories and artistic styles. The sources and experiences which led to its eventual publication were varied, as well.

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In the Vilna Ghetto during World War II, the ghetto library drew thousands of patrons and circulated more than 100,000 books. Today, a group of young Lithuanians are hoping that the now-empty building, currently owned by the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, will again become a place where Lithuania’s magnificent Jewish cultural heritage can be remembered, mourned, and honored. The first event – a reading of poetry by ghetto prisoner Avrom Sutzkever, in Lithuanian translation – was held in September.

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As a result of a working group on the history of the Jewish book, four scholars got together and decided that they wanted to take their research to the next level. The result was Footprints - a database on the movement of the Hebrew book through time and space. This session will discuss the many aspects of creating a crowdsourced digital resource from scratch with no technical knowledge or funding, and the many lessons learned along the way.

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DigiBaeck was launched in 2012 and is the gateway to LBI's digital collections, a growing treasury of artifacts that document the rich heritage of German-speaking Jewry in the modern era. DigiBaeck not only provides instant access to almost all the archival holdings of the LBI which include more than 3.5 million pages of personal documents, correspondence, family and community histories, genealogical materials, business records, and audio files but also to materials ranging from art works, photographs to rare books and periodicals.

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Moses Gaster (1856-1939), Sephardi Chief Rabbi, Zionist leader and polymath, left behind a vast archive of over 170,000 items, including correspondence, diaries, notebooks, unpublished memoirs, photographs, press cuttings, ephemera and more. This paper will explain the history and content of the archive and how it illuminates both Gaster’s life and work, as well as the Anglo-Jewish community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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On May 13, 1939, nearly 1,000 German-Jewish refugees boarded the MS St. Louis in Hamburg and set off for Cuba. When the ship arrived at its destination two weeks later, only 22 passengers were allowed to disembark. After a week in the harbor and failed negotiations between the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the volatile Cuban government, the ship was forced back to international water. The shipping line ordered the St.

By setting clear goals and expectations, information professionals can make the most of their meetings with vendors and develop mutually beneficial relationships with content salespeople. Get strategies, tips, and techniques from a longtime sales executive, supporter of libraries, and recent author of Buying and Selling Information: A Guide for Information Professionals and Salespeople to Ensure Mutual Success.

This presentation will focus on the work of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to “rescue the evidence” of the Holocaust. The collection - which is inextricably bound to the Jewish experience - supports the Museum’s overall objective to ensure the permanence and relevance of Holocaust memory. As America’s national collection on the Holocaust, the Museum seeks to build the collection of record on the Holocaust that is fully accessible and preserved for posterity.

Christopher Huh started writing Keeping My Hope when he was 13, after learning about the Holocaust in his middle school. Created entirely with just paper and pencil, it took him about 1½ years to complete the book. To write Keeping My Hope, Christopher spent over a thousand hours conducting research on the subject. When the book was published in February 2013, Christopher was 14, and an 8th grade honor student attending public school in Montgomery County, Maryland. Keeping My Hope is a 169 page historical fiction graphic novel.

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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.

Historian Zosa Szajkowski (1911-1978) was responsible for the transfer of French-Jewish archives to a number of research libraries in the United States after the Holocaust. While some see these transfers as a form of rescue from certain destruction in the war and its wake, others see them as a form of theft, carried out at a time of crisis for French Jewry. This paper seeks neither to condemn nor to exculpate Szajkowski. Instead, Ms.

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For the past several years, and really throughout the majority of her professional life, Joan Nathan has been digging into the roots and routes of Jewish cooking investigating how food has changed and adapted as Jews moved throughout the Diaspora, and how the foods themselves have been transported across countries after centuries of exploration and conquests.

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Fundación Judaica´s commitment for the future is to ensure continuity, enhancing Jewish identity through the spiritual and real connection with Israel and other Jewish communities of the Diaspora. This means Argentine Jewish life with all its components: synagogue, education, tzedakah, integration, participation and culture. Fundación Judaica trains and educates a new generation of leaders who will be able to lead the community by the Jewish values and principles of respect, plurality, and inclusion.

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Advances in scholarship and the digital revolution are shaping the translation, commentary and presentation of Judaism’s sacred texts, including the Bible, in dramatic new ways. This session outlines the history of American Jewish Bible translation and commentary and discusses the challenges with this enterprise in the coming decades. The session will be organized as follows:
I. A brief introductory word on the place of the TANAKH and the history of Hebrew Bible translation and commentary through the ages.

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Learning about Israel is not about the kibbutz anymore. How do we foster a love of Israel and a connection to the Jewish state through children's books in challenging political times? Join Kar-Ben Publisher Joni Sussman and the panelists as they discuss the current state of children's books about Israel. They'll discuss how topics and story-lines are selected, how they're different from past stories about Israel, what inspires the authors to write their stories, the research that goes into them, as well as the illustration process and marketing of the books.

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The story of a little known community of Jews who lived and prospered in the Sudan when it was still a British colony will be discussed. This presentation, based on Eli S. Malka's book, Jacob's Children in the Land of the Mahdi, will tell the group's history from its origins as an isolated group of eight Jewish families trapped in the turmoil of the Mahdi's revolt in 1881, through its period of growth, to its final demise a mere eighty years later.

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Many of us have stage fright getting up in front of our peers to present topics relevant to AJL or librarianship. This workshop will give seasoned and new AJL members an opportunity to learn how to prepare and present at a session to dazzle peers. We will look at tools for presenting, like PowerPoint and Prezi, some basics like how to create slides and come up with an intriguing topic, and how to present in a panel, poster session, forum, or other ways.

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Duke University libraries hold a significant collection of illustrated Haggadot, ranging from limited edition facsimiles of early manuscripts to a rich variety of Haggadot published all over the Jewish Diaspora and in Israel in the last hundred years. Among the 450 Haggadot in the collection are facsimiles of the 13th century Birds-Heads Haggadah and of illuminated medieval Haggadot created in Germany, Spain and Italy, as well as of Haggadot printed in Prague and in Amsterdam during the Early Modern era.

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From picture books to young adult series fiction, secular books can be used to illustrate Jewish values and culture. Though there are certainly many high quality Jewish stories available to us, bringing Jewish perspective to a secular story demonstrates the value of Jewish texts and insight for our students. Learn about some popular and not-so-popular titles for a range of ages along with crossover authors who write secular and Jewish books.

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Attracting and holding children’s attention during library period is not easy in these times when children spend hours watching TV or movies and surfing the web. Ellen has found beginning a library period with an introductory activity which serves to transition and focus is important. An origami demonstration or yoga posture quiets the class as a whole, blocks out distractions and focuses the attention. The origami figures can also be integrated into storytelling and used as an easy and clean art project in the library. NO ARTISTIC ABILITY IS REQUIRED.

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Jacqueline Jules, Debbie Levy, Erica Perl, and Madelyn Rosenberg have all written children’s books of Jewish interest and books for general audiences. In a panel discussion, these authors will discuss the following questions pertinent to librarians acquiring children’s books for their libraries. What factors help an author decide to include a Jewish character? Do authors sometimes choose to make a story less Jewish (or more so) for marketing reasons? Is it difficult to sell a story with Jewish content? Has the market for Jewish children’s books grown or shrunk in the last decade?

Award winning author and illustrator Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock, Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners for Young Readers, will discuss their book My Grandfather’s Coat. Editor Sylvie Frank will discuss Storm, by Donna Jo Napoli, Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers. Diane Rauchwerger will discuss Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust, by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers.

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This presentation will consist of reading portions of Merowitz’s translation of Nahman Krochmal's Moreh Nevuchei HaZeman, (A Guide for the Perplexed of Our Time), a book which seeks to analyze both the uniqueness of the Jewish people and its history. Krochmal (1785-1840), a Galician businessman and autodidact, was a rather reclusive individual, who evidently saw himself as an 18th century Maimonides.

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Fields of Exile is the first novel about anti-Israelism on campus. Nora is frequently asked why she chose to write a novel on this difficult topic, rather than a non-fiction book. This question is understandable given that Fields of Exile contains considerable intellectual content - so much that both Phyllis Chesler and Thane Rosenbaum called Fields of Exile a “novel of ideas.” The above question, though, seems to express a common attitude toward fiction (i.e., that it is less “truthful,” and therefore less valid, than non-fiction) which Nora doesn’t share.

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This presentation will address how careful digitization of Jewish historical newspapers can influence and inform new forms and fields of research. Front-page headlines, classified advertisements, marriage and death announcements, comic strips, reviews, display advertising, editorials, birth notices, photographs, and many other article types can – when digitized and indexed carefully – be used to help today’s researchers not only access this important primary source material, but crucially also understand the context in which it was written and consumed.

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The objective of the American Jewish Newspaper project is to build “The Jewish Press in the USA” section, hosted by JPress, in collaboration with the National Library of Israel, Tel Aviv University, the MaRLI (Manhattan Research Library Initiative) partners (N.Y.U., Columbia University, New York Public Library), and additional partners. This presentation will talk about the genesis of the project and address how it was conceived.

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Political cartoons offer an important but overlooked resource for learning about the Holocaust. Exhibits of select cartoons from 1930s-1940s U.S. newspapers can be used, both in classrooms and as library displays, to shed light on the plight of Europe's Jews - and the world's response. When juxtaposed with political cartoons about more recent genocides, such as Darfur, such displays can foster greater understanding of the way Americans have viewed human rights crises around the world.

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This presentation will provide an overview of recordings from the first decades of the 20th century that were directed at the Jewish market in the United States. From the beginning of the century, record companies, both large and small, produced music and spoken word recordings intended for Jewish immigrants, in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English. Many of these recordings may be heard through the internet, on the Library of Congress National Jukebox website and on websites of other institutions.

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In 1948, Ben Stonehill, a lover of Yiddish culture, employed newly established wire recording equipment to collect over a thousand songs and the spoken words of Holocaust survivors. This collection was from men, women and children, who informally gathered in a hotel lobby, where they were temporarily housed in Manhattan. This presentation explores the range of the thousand songs gathered, mainly in Yiddish, and what the archive tells about the psychological condition of people in transition from DP camps.

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For decades, performers of Yiddish music have been recycling the same few "shlagers" (hits), ignorant of the wealth of Yiddish theater songs now almost extinct but still - just barely - findable. When the last 78 of a pre-war song is broken, the song disappears from our world forever. Jane will discuss a spectacular primary resource found at the Chabad library in Brooklyn: a collection of seven booklets of "Newest and Most Beloved" theater song lyrics published in Warsaw, Poland 1929-1934.

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This paper explores the role of music in shaping individual and collective memories. In particular, it examines ways in which members of Brooklyn's Sephardi Jewish community — a transnational group comprised of Jews from North Africa, the Levant and Iraq — use music in sacred and secular contexts to construct and express a paradoxical identity.

Are you a librarian in a small Midwest synagogue library? Have you ever wondered if your library is “up to par”? Did you ever have a gut feeling that your collection might be lacking some books? This presentation will answer these questions and more by providing tools that can assist you in evaluating your collection to better help you organize and maintain your library.

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In 2012, divisions of The Heschel School in New York City moved to a new campus. This, of course, meant the library moved as well. This was a monumental task on many levels. In this multimedia presentation, Stephanie will discuss the process - from start to finish - of moving the library including major involvement with design (which included visiting other libraries for ideas) and the technicalities of the move itself. Practical applications for modifying an existing library or designing a new library will be discussed.

Presiding over the culling and transfer of a 10,000 item Jewish public library, a few challenges and questions surfaced. Is there any way to defend sustaining a public Jewish collection in the age of the Internet and in the face of sharply declining client traffic? How may we practice sacred contraction to preserve collections of resources (media and human) and continue our quest for a literate Jewish community? What are the flexible goals we need to have? Who may our partners be in creating a more decentralized network of resources?

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Reviewing books is an essential part of any librarian’s job, but how is a book review actually written? What are the elements of a good review? Does the book need to be read in order to review it? How can the review be critical, but not too negative? How do we evaluate e-books? What does a librarian look for in a book and write about in the review in order to make their review educational, engaging, and most of all encourage patrons to read the book?

This session will explore constitutional aspects of Israel as a “Jewish and Democratic State.” Among topics discussed will be the meaning of the Jewish character of the state, its impact on a variety of issues such as freedom of religion in the Jewish State, the application of Jewish law in Israel, personal Jewish identity and its implications on marriage, divorce, immigration, extradition, IDF draft of yeshiva students, etc. Relevant resources available at the Law Library of Congress and elsewhere will be mentioned.

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This presentation will focus on legal and procedural aspects of defining the so-called “Jewish nationality” under laws of the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia. Mechanisms of registering as a Jew in government issued identification documents and following legal consequences will be analyzed in historical perspective. Domestic and foreign resources from the Law Library of Congress collection that might be of interest to a researcher of Jewish legal history will be introduced to the attendees.

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The Washington, D.C. area is home to a vibrant poetry scene, including the Split This Rock Festival, numerous poetry journals, countless readings, and several Busboys & Poets cafes across the city and in the suburbs, including U Street, Brookland, Chinatown, Takoma, Arlington, Va., and Hyattsville, Md., with additional locations in development. By hosting readings and building poetry collections, libraries and librarians play an important role in the nurturing of poetic culture. This session will bring together D.C. area poets in a group reading and discussion.

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Participants will present a brief history of their company and their methods of operation, their customer base and target audience, and the types of material collected, including special collections. Particular focus of the discussion will be on the changing bibliographic environment, including the impact of digital materials and the effect of the Information Age on their daily work flows. Participants will be asked to speculate on the future of their trade.

Carlo Manabat, Business Sales Specialist with Microsoft, will discuss the usage of Office365 with modern electronic devices (e.g. tablets, laptops, etc.). A range of innovations will be presented. Special focus will be paid to the many features of the new Cloud technology.

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This session will describe how the library teamed up with the Jewish History department to design a simulation that retraced the steps of DP camp survivors on their journeys to Palestine and the United States. Students were equipped with visas, ID cards, and packs containing fake money and valuables. Their objective was to take a train out of the DP camp, board a boat either to Palestine or the USA, and make it to their destinations safely.

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White gloves sessions have proven to be a popular and adaptable presentation format that creatively engages attendees by allowing them to hold history in their hands. This presentation will address the concept, content, and methodology of the WGS as a vehicle for library programming. It will encourage librarians of all types of libraries to contemplate the inherent value of their collections and to evaluate them for possible venues of involvement for the communities they serve. Local and/or unique collections would be prime candidates for benefitting from this concept.

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For close to a decade, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has sought to delegitimize and dismantle Israel as a Jewish state by unfairly and dishonestly singling out Israel for criticism and economic pressure, and by disregarding the responsibility of other parties for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. BDS is not only about criticisms of Israeli policy - it is a wholescale assault on the legitimacy of the only democratic nation in a sea of autocracy and oppression.

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The objective of this research was to investigate how the Members of the Knesset from 1949 till 2007 used information. A sampling of quotations of Members of Parliament ("participants") who participated in the debates that took place in the Plenum during a typical week of the second session in seven Knessets was analyzed.

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This presentation will discuss the work of The Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project, Inc. (CVJHP), a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization that aims to honor the memory and explore the contributions of the many Sephardic Jewish families who immigrated to Cape Verde from Morocco and Gibraltar in the mid-19th century. The primary goals of CVJHP are to preserve Cape Verde’s Jewish heritage by restoring and maintaining Jewish burial grounds, to educate future generations about the Jews of Cape Verde, and to encourage Jewish heritage tourism.

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The Vilnius Jewish Public Library, the first Jewish library in Lithuania since World War II, opened in 2011 thanks to the initiative of Mr. Wyman Brent. His goal was to establish a cultural institution for Jews and Gentiles that would foster compassion, respect, and responsibility for all members of the community. By 2014, the Vilnius Jewish Public Library made significant improvements, especially in the areas of collection development, the management of public relations, and the unification of the local community.

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In 2015, Austrian libraries still struggle with the country’s responsibility for the legacy of National Socialism. Nazi looting is the issue here; historical fairness the aim; extended provenance research the pathway to achieving it. Vienna University's Jewish Studies Library has recently been a twofold site of this struggle: both as an unexpected holder of NS-confiscated Judaica and as the workplace of its librarian, who has just begun a new research project concerned with the provenance of the university's object collections.

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While the law codes and responsa are the major sources of Jewish law, a third, and rarely discussed, additional source is Piyyut, Hebrew Liturgical Poetry. Of the extant piyyutim, which may number as many as one hundred thousand, less than one thousand contain laws. After a brief overview of the field of Piyyut, this presentation will focus on several piyyutim that contain laws relating to Passover and will examine regional variants. In addition, it will offer suggestions as to why those variants existed.

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Polish-born Israel Schapiro, who headed the Semitic Division of the Library of Congress
for over three decades, brought together various strands of traditional East European learning, modern Orientalist scholarship, Hebrew bibliography, and Western librarianship. This paper examines his background, education, writings and professional activity, especially in bibliography and the establishment of a national collection of Hebraica.

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Most modern libraries with substantial Hebraica holdings were created through the acquisition of private collections either by purchase, donation, or fiat. This interplay between the private collector and library is a symbiotic and necessary one, ultimately furthering knowledge of the Hebrew book. Matisyahu Strashun was an avid collector of Hebraica in 19th century Vilna amassing a significant library. He bequeathed his library to the Vilna community after his death with instructions and capital to create a public library.

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The Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCCNV)’s Special Needs Committee launched a book club two years ago. The book club’s focus is on books about special needs, non-fictional stories of inspiration, and books related to disabilities to broaden knowledge. The goal is to be educated on most, if not all, disabilities.

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This session will focus on creating fiscal stability for our libraries. Annual giving, planned giving, and capital campaigns are components of funding plans. But how do they work? Is each mutually exclusive of the others? Does emphasizing one mean you diminish the potential of the others? We don’t have a development staff, how can we raise money and still do our jobs? Annual gifts are the lifeblood of an operating budget. What are the components of an annual appeal? Do I need training in financial planning to build an endowment?

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Criticism of Israel need not stem from anti-Semitism nor is one tantamount to the other; nonetheless a growing share is in fact laced with anti-Semitism. One reason is that relentless extreme and unbalanced criticism of Israel has created a hothouse atmosphere in which anti-Semitism is metastasizing. The United Nations General Assembly, for example, has condemned Israel three times more than all other nations combined.

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Anti-Semitism related to Middle East conflicts is a major contemporary issue, but there is relatively little data-driven research about it. This presentation will attempt to fill that gap by analyzing actual empirical findings from survey and other research about the causes, consequences, and possible cures for anti-Semitism related to Middle East problems, especially the Arab-Israeli conflict and Islamic extremism. Reference will be made to public opinion polls, official statements, and related material from the U.S., Europe, and around the Muslim world.

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It was apparently a case of love at first sight. How else to describe those first encounters between the earliest Hebrew printers and that newfangled technology that was spreading across Europe? Already in the Arba’ah Turim from 1475, the first dated Hebrew book, the printer expressed passionate admiration for the new invention - and he did so in a poem, a lovely little Hebrew poem written according to all the strictest rules of Golden Age Poetry from Muslim Spain. And this was only the beginning.

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Marvin Pinkert's 27 years in the museum field has included displays of model trains, a coal mine, the US Constitution and Shaquille O'Neal's sneakers. Now as director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland he is leading the team that is reshaping that organization's future. His biggest surprise at JMM is how often the question arises "what makes that exhibit (on comic books, medicine, scrap industry) Jewish?" Pinkert will draw on examples, past, present and future to try to explain why he finds this question so unusual.

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Over 5,500 Jews are buried at the beautiful cemetery overlooking Washington. This talk will tell the accomplishments of several of them - warriors, but also Supreme Court Justices, U.S. senators, ambassadors, astronauts, the sculptor of the Confederate Memorial. All either served in the military from the Civil War to the Iraq War, or are spouses of veterans. This will be a slide presentation of a selection of veterans. It will also tell the Jewish history associated with the Confederate Memorial, USS Maine, and the Columbia and Challenger space shuttle monuments.

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Bob Patrick, Director, Veterans History Project (VHP), will speak on the background of VHP’s creation, the current status of VHP archive, VHP’s value to librarians, researchers and the general public, and the importance of volunteer participation in VHP to collect and preserve the stories of veterans in our families, our lives and our communities. He will also discuss the service of some of the Jewish veterans who have participated in VHP.

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Jason Steinhauer will present on the contributions, impact, and legacy of American Jewish service during World War II.

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Food Family and Tradition: Hungarian Kosher Family Recipes and Remembrances presents a unique perspective on the Holocaust by merging Lynn’s family’s authentic recipes with their culture and history.

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In this presentation, Beyhan Çagri Trock, the author of the Turkish and Sephardic cookbook/memoir The Ottoman Turk and the Pretty Jewish Girl: Real Turkish Cooking, will discuss the historical and culinary contexts of her family’s history. In Istanbul in the early 1940’s, Muslims and Jews rarely mixed. The cross-cultural love of Trock's Muslim father Zeki Bey and her mother, a Jewish girl named Beti was quite scandalous.

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Please join us for a wide-ranging, thought-provoking discussion on the future of our profession. The participants will bring expertise from a variety of perspectives on the innovations currently taking place and ones they envision will take place in the future. Given the rapidly changing nature of librarianship, what skill sets will librarians and information professionals need to fit this new reality? How can librarians prepare for the new changes? At the same time, how can we retain and hone our core skills in this new marketplace?