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As the 2011 AJL Convention approaches, AJL will be publishing the remaining podcast episodes from the 2010 Convention at an accelerated rate! Watch Hasafran, Facebook, and Twitter for notices of new episodes. You can listen to any podcast episode at

If you're not familiar with podcasting, you can become a maven by reading the primer below. Enjoy!

What is a podcast?

A podcast is an audio or video program on the Internet. What makes it different from any old audio clip or YouTube video? A podcast is an ongoing show that has multiple episodes, and you can subscribe to it. The same way you can subscribe to a magazine and have each issue arrive at your house, you can subscribe to a podcast and have each new episode arrive on your computer. Subscriptions for podcasts are usually free.

What will you find on the AJL Podcast?

AJL’s podcast is made up of audio recordings of sessions from our conventions and other regional AJL-related events. We have been podcasting since 2008.

How do you get the AJL Podcast?

You can find the podcast at  At that location, you can read instructions for subscribing to the podcast. ***You do NOT have to subscribe to the podcast in order to listen to it!*** Just like you can buy an individual issue of a magazine at a newsstand without  subscribing to the magazine, you can listen to individual episodes of the AJL Podcast at our website without subscribing to it. It’s your own choice.

How is the AJL Podcast page organized?

When you go to, you will see a complete list of all our audio recordings, alphabetically arranged by the last name of the speaker. You can click on the title of any recording to be taken to its individual page, where you can click the PLAY button to listen. If you would like to narrow your search, you have two options. You can click on a broad category of interest: RAS, SSC, or Children’s & Youth Literature. Alternatively, you can click on Index to be taken to more specific subject headings.

When scrolling through the complete list of audio recordings, you may notice that some speakers have multiple recordings. That is because so  many wonderful authors and AJL members return to our conventions with new information to share year after year!

Who’s in charge of the AJL Podcast?

The AJL Podcast is overseen by Heidi Estrin, who has been podcasting since 2005 at her synagogue library. Her library’s podcast is called The Book of Life, and it receives some support from AJL, making cross-promotion possible. You can hear episodes of The Book of Life at

Ready-set-go! Get out your passports and cash in your air miles because it's time to book your travel and hotel reservations for June 19 -22, 2011 in Montreal! All AJL Convention 2011 registration and preliminary program information isnow available online. Early bird registration deadline is April 10. To receive the AJL Convention Hotel rate you must book before May 20. Please check out the AJL website for more information:

Click here for full convention information.

Click here for the registration form, which you will need to print and mail in with your check.
Posted in: Convention

Association of Jewish Libraries

Research Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections Division

Call for Papers, 2011 Annual Convention

The Research Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections Division (RAS) of the Association of Jewish Libraries is soliciting paper proposals for AJL's 46th Annual Convention, to be held at the Marriott Chateau Champlain in Montreal, Quebec, June 19-22, 2011. Librarians, archivists, scholars, educators, and authors will meet to share their interest in Judaica librarianship, Jewish literacy and related topics.

We solicit paper proposals on aspects of Judaica librarianship as it is practiced in research libraries, archives, museums, and special collections and as it pertains to higher education. Examples of suitable topics include, but are not limited to:

§  Technological developments and tools in higher education institutions: cloud computing, academic social networks, e-book platforms, mobile devices and virtual reference;

§  Resource sharing: database access, union catalogs, reference sources, cataloging services;

§  Cataloging in RDA (Resource Description and Access).

§  The future of print book collections in academic institutions, seminaries and Hebrew colleges, as revealed in collection development practices and policies, or other library operations;

§  Changes in Jewish Studies methodology as they are portrayed in libraries.

A special focus this year will be the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Montreal Jewish community. Appropriate topics may include archives or special collections in the area, history of the Canadian Yiddish theater, programs about Jewish Canadian notables such as Mordechai Richler or Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg, as well as Canadian women writers, history of local synagogues and other community landmarks, or unique Jewish communities in Montreal (Moroccan, Iraqi, Spanish-Portuguese).

Proposals should be emailed to, with the following: presenter's name, address, affiliation, telephone and email address; brief biography; title of proposed presentation; paper abstract (up to 250 words); and specific technology or equipment requirements, if any.

All submissions must be received by November 30, 2010. Proposals will be reviewed by the Program Planning Committee, which is composed of national and local AJL members. Notification will be made in January 2011.
Association of Jewish Libraries

Call for Papers 2011

The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) will hold the 46th Annual Convention at the Marriott Chateau Champlain in Montreal, Quebec June 19-22, 2011. Librarians, archivists, scholars, educators, authors and others will meet to share their interest in Judaica librarianship and related topics.

AJL is soliciting proposals for papers and presentations on aspects of Judaica librarianship as it pertains to libraries, archives, museums, schools, synagogues and related institutions. Past topics have included literature and other resources, collection management, programming, reader advisory services, special and rare collections, cataloging and classification, digital and electronic resources, technology and local Jewish history.

A special focus this year will be the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Montreal Jewish community.

Submissions should include the following:

Presenter’s name, address, affiliation , telephone and email contacts.

Brief biography.

Title of proposed presentation.

Summary of proposal.

Specific technology or equipment requirements, if any.

All submissions must be received by November 30, 2010. Please submit proposals by email to:

or by mail to:

Marsha Lustigman,

Bialik Library,

6500 Kildare Rd.,

Cote St. Luc, QC, Canada, H4W 3B8

Proposals will be reviewed by the Program Planning Committee, which is composed of national and local AJL members. Notification will be made in January, 2011.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Convention
The following is a summary of the AJL's Facebook feed from yesterday's convention proceedings.

  • Feinstein lecture. One of our resident librarian-scholars, Yossi Galron, gave the lecture Monday night. Dressed in a tie! He led us through the history of Jewish bibliography. I would like to have seen of his own online bio-bibliography, but he modestly left it out.

  • April Wayland Halpern tells the group about writing New Year's on the Pier.

  • April Wayland Halpern reads us her story.

  • When they say "the STBA committee tells all" they mean "all" The committee gleefully recounted the arguements they had, especially when trying to decide if a book is "Jewish" sfs

  • Margarita Engle tells about writing Tropical Secrets.

  • On the left, Margarita Engle's parents still married 62 years later. On the right, Margarita visiting her Cuban family's farm on land purchased with gold from a pirate ancestor.

  • My eyes are starting to cross a bit at the RDA talk. I'm trying to remember what RDA stands for ... Really Detailed something? lots of small changes to our cataloging practices. Adam Schiff is doing a great job zipping through slides and explaining the changes from AACR2. His presentation is at

  • New Sydney Taylor Award Committee members, Aimee Lurie and Debbie Feder, prepare to deliver their 2011 Sneak Peak presentations.

  • Heidi Estrin, Lisa Silverman, Ellen Cole and Kathe Pinchuck begin their discussion of Children's Book Reviewing.

  • The AJL's pre-Award Banquet reception.

  • Dr. Geoffrey Megargee, accepts the Judaica Reference Award.

  • April Wayland Halprin, author of New Year at the Pier, accepts the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Young Readers.

  • Robin Friedman accepts the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers.

  • Margarita Engle accepts the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Teen Readers.

  • Joan Schoettler accepts the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award.

  • The Seattle Committee says thank you and goodbye...

Stay up to date even faster by friending AJL on its Facebook page.

Posted in: Convention
The following is taken from AJL's Facebook feed. Friend us on Facebook to stay up to the minute.

  • 17 photos from Sunday, the first day of the 45th Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries

  • I'm sitting at the awesome Seattle Public Library listening to a Reader's advisory talk by David Wright. The speaker got a big round of applause when our moderator, Diann Romm mentioned that he reads and speaks on NPR's All Things Considered. sfs.

  • David spoke about the difference between Readers Advisory and reference work. In reference, the patron know what subject she/he is looking for. For fiction, they're looking for other "appeal characteristics" such as the genre, the type of ending (happy, sad, open-ended), the tone, the age of the characters, setting, a......nd many others. He showed several libraries services and blogs that help people find new authors or title. Check out or

  • Kathy Bloomfield is starting off her library management workshop with relevant comparisons to classic Jewish children's books. She's using And Shira Imagined to talk about planning.

  • David Gilner introduces Laurel Wolfson for the AJL Life Membership Award.

  • Laurel Wolfson accepts the AJL Life Membership Award.

  • Enid Sperber lights up the room as she promotes chapters around the country.

  • Yelena Luckert welcomed AJL first time attendees. What brave souls!

  • Hazzan Isaac Azose led us in a beautiful Sephardic version of the Birkat ha-mazon

  • Sarah Barnard and Shuli Berger presented the library school scholarship to Haim Gottschalk (former conference chair in Phoenix) The other recipient Rachel Isaac-Menard couldn't make it to the convention. sfs

  • Heidi Rabinowitz explores Facebook and other Social Media with Jewish librarians in Seattle.

  • Tina Weiss gave a talk on the use of mobile devices in the library. I'm taking notes on how to enhance, or rather simplify our library homepage and catalog. She advised taking out the graphics and any java scripts.I'm adding this to my "to-do" list once I get home. Oh the joy (sincere) and joy (light sarcasm) of learning... from my colleagues. sfs

  • After Tina spoke, Daniel Horowitz spoke about the genealogy program People can use their free download to create their family trees and then upload them to Bet Ha-tefutsot.

  • View 7 new photos

Come back tomorrow for more updates, or visit our Facebook page for up to the minute news.
Posted in: Convention
Nancy Pearl is Seattle's superstar librarian. She invented the one-book-one-community concept, she promotes reading through her Book Lust titles, blog, podcast, and TV show, and she even has an librarian action figure modeled after her!

When the AJL convention was in its initial planning stages, Nancy Pearl was asked to be the keynote speaker. Unfortunately, family obligations prevented her from being able to attend, and we were lucky to be able to schedule Dr. Joseph Janes instead. We thought it would still be nice if you all could hear from Nancy, so we asked her for a Convention Countdown interview, and recorded a short conversation with her during Book Expo America in New York in May, 2010. Click the link below to hear the audio clip!

Deluxe Librarian Action Figure

Click here to listen to an interview with Nancy Pearl!

This is the final entry in the Convention Countdown series on People of the Books. Thanks to everyone for reading and for forwarding the link, and mazel tov to all those who won $10 Amazon gift cards in our "Mention Convention" weekly drawings. You have ONE MORE CHANCE to win by sharing this post with friends and colleagues.

See you in Seattle at AJL!


Enter the Mention Convention weekly drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card by linking back to this interview on your blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter (hashtag #AJL10) — just email to tell us what you did!

Posted in: Convention
At the Seattle convention, on Monday July 5, Diane Romm and I will be presenting a session called AJL & Social Media. We’ll be addressing the finer points of AJL’s website, blog, podcast, etc., and also discussing other social media sites of Jewish literary interest.

If this is a topic that interests you, and you think you might attend our session, I’ve got a little preview for you. You may remember last convention’s social media session with podcaster Mark Blevis in 2009, which inspired me to expand upon the topic on my podcast, The Book of Life. I’d like to invite you to go back and listen to those episodes NOW, as they make great background material for what we’ll be discussing at our Seattle session!

Please visit The Book of Life and listen to the 4-part “Why Be Social?” series of episodes. You can find the audio for all four parts here: Or you can look at the four individual postings, which each include links to extra materials and sometimes bonus video as well. Listening to this short series will give you a good grounding in Jewish social media and why it’s important. It’s certainly not required for attending our session, but I think it would help you get more out of it.

Part 1: Why Be Social? Philosophy

Part 2: Why Be Social? Definitions

Part 3: Why Be Social? Suggestions

Part 4: Why Be Social? Create-Consume-Contribute

Looking forward to seeing you in Seattle!
Heidi Estrin
Posted in: Convention

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Booker-Prize winning author Yann Martel, author of the new novel Beatrice and Virgil. Beatrice and Virgil is a fascinating novel that takes an unconventional approach to one of the most challenging subjects available to literature- the Holocaust.

[caption id="attachment_225" align="alignleft" width="140" caption="Beatrice and Virgil, by Yann Martel"][/caption]

I had the privilege of speaking to Mr. Martel during the second leg of his American tour to promote the book, which has been widely, and variously, reviewed.

Text Publishing offers a roundup of some of the reviews that have come in, and an analysis of the controversy surrounding this most unusual book.

Martel won the Man Booker Prize in 2002 for Life of Pi. He is also the author of several other books as well as the blog What is Stephen Harper Reading, a document of his ongoing project to share his passion for literature with the Prime Minister of Canada.

The interview is approximately 30 minutes in length and is presented here in four parts.

Yann Martel Interview Part 1 of 4

Yann Martel Interview Part 2 of 4

Yann Martel Interview Part 3 of 4

Yann Martel Interview Part 4 of 4


Enter the Mention Convention weekly drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card by linking back to this interview on your blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter (hashtag #AJL10) — just email to show us what you did!

Dr. Joseph Janes will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 AJL Convention. An Associate Professor at the Information School of the University of Washington, he is the founding director of the Internet Public Library ( He writes the "Internet Librarian" column for American Libraries magazine. As you can see in this video, he is a very interesting speaker! Take a look, then read his exclusive AJL interview below.

Dr. Janes, can you give us a sneak peak into the theme of your keynote address for AJL?

I’d love to—but I haven’t written it yet! I’ll do my best to make it interesting, at least as a preamble to the fireworks later that night.

You are the founder of the Internet Public Library, and very involved in digital life. Why is it important for librarians to participate in the online world?

Is it possible not to? It’s an ever-more digital world, as people spend more time there, more resources are born digital, and the expectation of instant access to, well, everything, approaches the universal. With only very rare and increasingly exotic specialized environments, an online presence is critical if not imperative.

Studies have shown that Seattle is the most literate city in the nation. What makes Seattle such a great place for reading and libraries? Can you give us a recommendation for any recent books you enjoyed?

You mean besides the rain and the coffee? We spend a lot of time inside, caffeinated, so we’re alert and reading fits in there beautifully. We also have great libraries in the region, of all kinds, and fantastic librarians who make it all work.

I just finished Alistair Horne’s Seven Ages of Paris, which is just the sort of popular history I enjoy, vividly and cogently written, with a vibrant feeling for the place and the people. I’ve switched gears back to an old favorite, rereading Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal (again).

The Seattle area is the home of both Amazon and Apple. What’s your preference, Kindle or iPad? Your feelings on digital books?

I don’t have either one, though when I saw the first iPad commercial I started to drool in much the same way I did when the iPod came out. The “book” obviously is undergoing a transformation in form of epochal proportions, as the physical codex coexists with emerging digital forms for some time to come. I can’t imagine the current digital versions will be the final ones, and there are lots of issues yet to be resolved about shape, size, standards, rights management, interoperability, the reading experience, and so on…but I also think that this evolution will happen really fast and will be better off with the participation and insight of librarians, on behalf of the communities we serve and represent.

What Seattle experience should visitors be sure not to miss?

So many to choose from! Pike Place Market, of course, Pioneer Square, a ride up in the Space Needle, the flagship Nordstrom’s, local coffee (try Stumptown, available at some cafes downtown)…but worth trying a few less-well-known things as well: take a ferry over to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island, worth it for the view alone, wander down 1st Street to see the marquee for the Lusty Lady before they tear it down, and of course visit the spectacular Central Library on Fifth and Spring, just a few blocks from the Fairmont. When I’m downtown, I always love to just wander around, and look up; there are some fantastic architectural features on many buildings in the area, and it’s all quite walkable (though hilly in spots); bring comfortable shoes and enjoy!

Dr. Janes, thanks for speaking with us! We're looking forward to your keynote presentation at the AJL Convention!


Enter the Mention Convention weekly drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card by linking back to this interview during the week of May 16-22 , 2010 on your blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter (hashtag #AJL10) — just email to show us what you did!

Posted in: Convention
Author Jennifer Poulter has won the Week #1 Mention Convention drawing! A $10 Amazon gift card is heading her way.

Winning was easy! Jennifer simply posted about the convention to Twitter (see above), and then sent a message to to let us know.

Watch for tomorrow's Convention Countdown interview with keynote speaker Dr. Joseph Janes, and tweet, Facebook, or blog about it to enter the Week #2 Mention Convention drawing!
Posted in: Convention
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="L-R: Toby Harris, Janet Heineck, Susan Dubin, Rita Frischer, and Pat Pawelak-Kort"][/caption]

Toby Harris is co-chair (with Janet Heineck and Rita Frischer) for the 2010 AJL Convention that will take place in Seattle, WA, July 4-7. She is the president of AJL's Northwest Chapter, and librarian at Temple De Hirsch Sinai.

Toby, what are some of the most exciting things planned for the 2010 AJL Convention? Can you give us some highlights?

There are so many sessions I’m excited about! We have a couple of off-site choices which will give some an opportunity to see a bit of Seattle and I’m very excited to show off our city! One is the Seattle Public Library, a mere two blocks from the hotel with quite dramatic architecture and bold ideas. There, we’ll get a tour and get to use their computer lab classroom. The other is a visit to Seattle Hebrew Academy, an incredibly beautiful historic building set in a Northwest forest, with an award winning library.

I am struck by the range of interesting settings our presenters work in. Hearing about challenges for the National Library of Israel and Yad Vashem, the many special collections and resources at Columbia, Yeshiva, Stanford and here at the University of Washington, along with some bookdealer perspectives and those of us building community in our synagogues and day schools. A big focus will be on examining our users, planning and making digitization and technology choices. And of course, those fabulous book critics and Sydney Taylor award-winning authors will be ever present!

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Joseph Janes, Associate Professor in the Information School of the University of Washington is supremely engaging and witty, and he’ll share his passion for reference, innovation and our digital world. He’s the founder of the Internet Public Library and writes the Technology column for American Libraries.

Those night owls who want to venture out Sunday night to watch fireworks over urban Lake Union will view a wonderful display of good ole July 4th spectaculars. And those arriving earlier on Sunday get to be there for an afternoon of music, poetry and exhibits in the elegant Spanish foyer of the hotel.

Planning the convention must be a huge job. What have been some of your best and worst experiences in getting ready for convention?

Well, it’s not over yet so I’d like to reserve that question! It definitely takes many people to pull together but I can already feel the rewards coming!

Studies have shown that Seattle is the most literate city in the nation. What makes Seattle such a great place for reading and libraries?

The gray skies might help a bit. Mainly we’re just a bunch quirky characters who love to learn and escape! We have lots of independent bookstores here which seem to be surviving just fine and we do love our incredible libraries!

Can you give us a recommendation for some of your favorite Jewish books?

Two of my favorite Jewish adult books which haven’t yet lost their standing are A Pigeon and a Boy, by Meir Shalev, and The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak. I loved Shalev’s brilliant and meaningful story and need to read more books written by him. And one of my fondest AJL convention memories is when I got to meet charming and handsome Marcus Zusak! Aside from his charms, looks (and accent), what makes Book Thief so wonderful is its unique perspective and outsider look at the Holocaust. Another book that has stayed with me for several years is Anna in the Afterlife, by Merrill Joan Gerber, the last of her Anna Goldman series, and the best in my opinion. I can spend a lot of time gazing at the cover art on this raw and expressive book while thinking about people in my own life. Not recommended for the faint-hearted.

The Seattle area is the home of both Amazon and Apple. What’s your preference, Kindle or iPad? What are your feelings on digital books?

I still prefer the feel and look of a real book and all of its details! I do appreciate some of the features and portability of digital books and can see they have their place but I have no interest in acquiring one yet.

What Seattle experience should visitors be sure not to miss? And what’s your favorite vendor at Pike Place Market?

Besides the Market, which is a must, the Space Needle allows you to see the whole layout of the city and is quite remarkable. Seattle buses are free downtown which makes it easy to explore that area! The Ballard Locks are very impressive, especially if you like boat watching. And of course, I highly recommend one of the tour options: Seattle’s old Jewish neighborhoods led by Washington State Jewish Historical Society or Seattle’s native trees and plants in the Washington Park Arboretum.

Toby, thanks for kicking off the Convention Countdown! We can't wait to visit with you in Seattle!


Enter the Mention Convention weekly drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card by linking back to this interview during the week of May 9-15, 2010 on your blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter (hashtag #AJL10) -- just email to show us what you did!

Posted in: Convention

Help spread the word about the Convention Countdown and be entered into the "Mention Convention" weekly drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card, May 10 through July 2.

To enter, write about the Convention Countdown or about the convention itself on your blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, or add the information to your email as a signature. Then immediately send the URL of your post (or a copy of your email with the convention-related signature) to . Be sure to give us your name and email address so that we can contact you if you are a winner!

Please note that the final week's drawing will not be held until after the convention, since we will be very busy in the week leading up to the event. Good luck, and thanks for mentioning convention!

Posted in: Convention

Our 8-week Convention Countdown begins the second week of May, with a new convention-related interview on the AJL blog every Tuesday! Watch! Help spread the word and be entered into our "Mention Convention" weekly drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card: mention the AJL convention on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or your email signature to enter! Watch this space for details....

Posted in: Convention

Posted by  Heidi Estrin to The AJL Convention Blog

Our "Social Media" speaker, Mark Blevis, hosts a podcast about children's literature called Just One More Book. If you take a look at his website, you'll see that he's posted a message especially for us! It's entitled "A little Book List: For 2009 AJL Convention Wannabes" and it provides links to past podcast episodes of Just One More Book that feature Jewish books. Visit to learn more.
Also, AJL's own Abigail Yasgur has scored an interview on Just One More Book about her new children's book Max Said "Yes!" (The Woodstock Story). You can hear Abigail at

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