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AJL Engages in a Strategic Planning Initiative

The rapidly changing world of librarianship in general, and Jewish librarianship in particular, prompted the AJL Council in early 2013 to authorize the development of a strategic plan to guide AJL in addressing such changes as the impact of the Internet, e-publishing and other technologies, and the evolving roles of libraries in the school and synagogue environments. The committee is led by Dr. Yaffa Weisman and includes Jackie Ben-Efraim, Suzi Dubin, Heidi Estrin, Fred Isaac, Rachel Leket-Mor, Daniel Scheide, Rose Shoshanah Seidman and Amalia Warshenbrot. Richard Fishman and Fred Samulon of the Executive Service Corps facilitated the development of the plan.

Two recurring issues that emerged from our research and deliberations were relevance and effectiveness. The issue of relevance touched upon the ability of AJL to stay current in face of the changes mentioned above, to provide professional and peer guidance in these areas to its members, and to actively recruit new members to become financially sustainable. We concluded that AJL has to become relevant to other groups that have direct bearing on the AJL’s vision and mission such as publishers, authors, book sellers, heads of large Judaica collections, Jewish studies faculty and similar constituents. The issue of effectiveness was raised in regards to the Association’s ability, with its current leadership structure and best practices, to run the organization in a business like way and to make it financially sustainable.

To collect data on these issues we devised a survey that will help us assess how AJL members and related constituents view AJL and its contributions to the enhancement of Judaica librarianship. Please take a few moments to respond to the survey.

The plan itself will be discussed at length during two sessions at the Las Vegas Conference. Members of the Strategic Planning team will be there to answer your questions. Please check the program if you plan to attend, and join the conversation about our goals and our needs.