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Shavua Tov Safranim! Here is this week's list of Bookmarkable links. Remember that all of the links from recent posts on the Weekly Link Roundup can also now be searched at by searching for "ajl_links". 

The Flickr Commons: Get photos through participating organizations at the Flickr Commons; most of them have no known copyright restrictions. The Center for Jewish History has contributions  as well as the Jewish Society of the Upper Midwest. (Anyone else I missed?)

-Folks who might be looking forJudaica library  jobs, here's a great exhaustive list of Jewish studies programs  available globally.

-Bodleian Library holds a copy of Rambam's Mishneh Torah, signed by Maimonides himself. They have digitized it here and made it available for all to see (by way of the YU blog)

-In my Internet travels, I came across this great pathfinder with links for the study of American Jewish History from the Myer And Rosaline Feinstein Center For American Jewish History, Temple University.

-Historical Jewish Press: "This site contains a collection of Jewish newspapers published in various countries, languages, and time periods. We display digital versions of each newspaper, making it possible to view the papers in their original layout. Full-text search is also available for all content published over the course of each newspaper’s publication." (By way of Michelle Chesner's recent talk at AJL-NYC).

-Computers in Libraries conference will be in Washington D.C. from March 21-23 For those who might be in D.C. free exhibit passes are available for even if you don't necessarily want to pay for the entire conference. The Twitter hashtag will be #cil11 and hashtags for Flickr will also most likely be under tags cil2011 or cil11.
Posted in: Link Round-Up

For more information, contact:
Daniel Scheide

2011 Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards Announced by Association of Jewish Libraries
For immediate release

The Research Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections Division of the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) is very pleased to announce the winners of its 2011 Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards.


In the reference category, the winner is The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, published by Brill. Edited by Dr. Norman Stillman of the University of Oklahoma, this 5-volume encyclopedia is the first English-language reference that deals with a part of Jewish history that is obscure and inaccessible for many readers. The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World opens a new window into this world and will inevitably generate more research and interest in the field. An online version is currently available as well. More information on the Encyclopedia can be found at

An honorable mention has been awarded to The Eerdman’s Dictionary of Early Judaism, edited by John J. Collins and Daniel C. Harlow. It is an essential reference in a field of study that has rapidly expanded in recent decades. More information on the Dictionary can be found at


In the bibliography category, the winner is The Bibliography of Jews in the Islamic World, published by Brill. Edited by María Angeles Gallego, Heather Bleaney and Pablo García Suárez, this bibliography is an important contribution to the study of Jews in the Islamic World due to its thematic and geographical scopes, especially considering the difficulties in covering such a diverse field and multitude of languages. More information on the Bibliography can be found at

Thanks to Our Sponsors

We would like to thank Dr. Greta Silver of New York City and Eric Chaim Kline of Los Angeles, who respectively sponsor the annual Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards. The 2011 awards will be presented at the AJL 46th Annual Convention banquet, which will take place on Tuesday evening, June 21, 2011 at the Marriott Montréal Château Champlain in Montréal, Québec.

For more information about AJL's Judaica Reference & Bibliography Awards, including past winners, please visit

Awards Committee

The Reference & Bibliography Awards Committee includes Michlean Amir (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), Yoram Bitton (Columbia University), Rachel Leket-Mor (Arizona State University), Daniel Rettberg (Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati), Pinchas Roth (Hebrew University), Rachel Simon (Princeton University), and Daniel Scheide, chair (Florida Atlantic University).

About the Association of Jewish Libraries

The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship. The Association fosters access to information, learning, teaching and research relating to Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience and Israel. Visit AJL at

10:00AM to 3:00PM - SUNDAY, APRIL 3, 2011

Featured Speakers:

Sid Jacobson was editor in chief at Harvey Comics, where he created Richie Rich, and was the executive editor at Marvel Comics. His collaborations with illustrator Ernie Colon include the fascinating 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, and the new illustrated biography of Anne Frank entitled, Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography.

William J. Rubin is the executive editor of Nachshon Press and the chief architect of the National Jewish Book Award winner, Homeland: The Illustrated History of the State of Israel.

Barry Deutsch is the 2011 Sydney Taylor Award winner for Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword.

Anastasia Betts is a well-known education professional with an expertise in graphic literature.

10:00 AM Registration and Bagels
10:30 AM Questions and Answers about graphic literature with authors Sid Jacobson, Barry Deutsch and William Rubin
12:00 PM Buffet Lunch with special presentation by Sydney Taylor Award winner Barry Deutsch
1:15 PM History of graphic literature for children with Anastasia Betts
2:30 PM Literature marketplace and autographing by local children's literature authors

Manuscript consultations available

Conference will be held at American Jewish University,
15600 Mulholland Dr., Los Angeles, CA

Sponsored by Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library, Association of Jewish Libraries, AJLSC, and American Jewish University

For reservations and information call Susan Dubin at (818) 886-6415, or send email to Lisa Silverman, lsilverman at sinaitemple dot org.

Registration: $55 (includes lunch); $45 for AJL members, and $45 for a manuscript consult.

Good Shabbos everyone! Here are this week's suggested links to bookmark:

Israeli online library catalogs (OPACs): The MALMAD - Israel Center for Digital Information Services publishes and maintains an extensive, if not exhaustive, list of library web catalogs from Israel's universities.

Available for searching online, "The monumental 19-volume Encyclopedia of the Founders and Builders of Israel was compiled and published by David Tidhar (1897-1970) over the 23 years from 1947 until his death."

A great LibGuides page for Yiddish resources published by Johns Hopkins University is available here.

Looking for a job? METRO in NYC publishes a Libguides page of professional development resources here (from the NY Librarian's Meetup blog).

For those of you out there who thought it was too difficult or expensive to publish your writing, Barnes&Noble has now released PubIt, an electronic upload service that allows easier entry into the ebook market for self-published authors and independent publishing companies (a boon for almost any Jewish publisher or author). Barnes&Noble says that 35 of their 200 top best-sellers in on the Nook were published through this new service.
Posted in: Link Round-Up
The Association of Jewish Libraries is delighted to announce the winners of the 2011 Life Membership and Fanny Goldstein Merit Awards, to be presented at the AJL Annual Convention in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in June 2011.

Pearl Berger, Benjamin Gottesman Librarian and Dean of Libraries, Yeshiva University, New York, NY is the 2011 recipient of the Association’s Life Membership Award. Life Membership is granted in recognition of outstanding leadership and professional contributions to the Association and to the profession of Jewish librarianship.

Etta D. Gold, Library Director, Temple Beth Am, Miami, Florida will receive the Fanny Goldstein Merit Award for 2011. The Fanny Goldstein Merit Award, named for the librarian, social activist and founder of National Jewish Book Month, is bestowed in recognition of loyal and ongoing contributions to the Association and to the profession of Jewish librarianship.

Elizabeth F. Stabler
Life Member and Fanny Goldstein Awards Committee
Facebook members can easily keep up with AJL's doings by visiting the AJL Facebook page at and clicking the Like button. If you already "like" AJL on Facebook, you should be receiving our status updates in your Facebook news feed (on your "wall").

If you have not been seeing AJL's status updates in your news feed lately, it's because when Facebook switched to the "new profile" (the one with your photos displayed across the top), they also switched to a setting to show ONLY posts from people or pages you had been interacting with recently.

If you enjoy reading what AJL has to say (even if you don't always want to leave a comment), you can easily ensure that you get all our updates. Here's how: Scroll down to the bottom of the news feed on your Home page and click on "Edit options" on the bottom right (as seen in the image below)  click on "Show posts from" and change the setting to "All of your friends and pages." That way you won't miss announcements about AJL events and other Jewish book and library news!

Posted in: News

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
jbcWelcome to the February 2011 edition of the Jewish Book Carnival, a monthly event where bloggers who blog about Jewish books can meet, read and comment on each others’ posts.

This month, the Carnival is hosted by The Boston Bibliophile and you can find the post here.

The carnival was started by Heidi Estrin and Marie Cloutier to build community among bloggers and blogs who feature Jewish books. It runs every month on the 15th. The Carnival headquarters is here.

The Jewish Book Carnival has a GoodReads page, where we host discussions and more. Whether or not you’re participating, we hope you’ll stop by, join and take part!

If you’d like to participate, either to host or contribute a link, send me an email at and I’ll get you hooked up on the particulars. We are actively looking for hosts for May 2011 and beyond.

Feel free to download and save the logo, and use it on your blog posts or sidebar. Please do not link directly to the picture.

In the mean time, visit The Boston Bibliophile for this month’s carnival and don’t forget to check out the many great participating bloggers!
Hello Safranim, here are this week’s Judaica links of interest. I'll be trying to post the link roundups earlier in the week in order to give you more time to explore them. From here on out, I’ll also be archiving all of these links under the tag “ajl_links” in Delicious. If you want to see them, just go to the and type the query “ajl_links” in the search box. More on this next week…  Bob

World War, 1939-1945, German Concentration Camps and Prisons Collection
Correspondences available from various concentration camps. "More than 2000 correspondences were scanned and the images are in jpg format. Images are available for screenshow or download (by way of Blog for IST 677: Creating, Managing & Preserving Digital Assets 2010).

Flickr accidentally nukes user's 4,000 photos: Makes you think twice about the viability of preserving your pictures and other personal content online.

Selections from Three Faiths Exhibit at NYPL. You can also watch a few videos on the making of parchment and ink as well as the scribal arts by linking to videos from the main page here. If you're in the NYC area, try to go see this great exhibit before it closes on February 27th.

Jewish Life in America, 1654-1954: “Jewish Life in America will enable you to explore the history of Jewish communities in America from the arrival of the first Jews in the 17th century right through to the mid-20th century…This treasure trove of material provides digital images of collections from the American Jewish Historical Society in New York. All of the typescript and printed material is full-text searchable.” (by way of Michelle Chesner’s Jewish Studies at CUL Blog).

Extensive Collections from the Center for Jewish History: I was fortunate to have had the opportunity this week to interview Andrea Buchner (director of the Gruss Lipper Digital Lab) for one of my classes. If you’ve never been to the catalog, take a look now. This is a gigantic (and FREE) repository of Judaica artifacts which includes all different types of media formats.
Posted in: Link Round-Up
Today is the final day, the "grand finale" if you will, of the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour. We hope you've been enjoying the interviews with our gold and silver medalists, and that you'll continue to follow their work.

Don't forget, in addition to these medalists we've featured in the blog tour, we've also got lots of fine books on this year's Notables list. Be sure to check out those books too; here's a PDF listing every book recognized by the awards committee for 2011.

Here are the last two stops on our blog tour. Enjoy!

OnceOnce is a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Morris Gleitzman at The Fourth Musketeer with blogger Margo Tanenbaum.

Here's a teaser:
Margo: Could you also comment on why you prefer to call Once and its sequels novels about friendship, rather than novels about the Holocaust?

Morris: My starting point for these books, even before I decided to set them against the Holocaust, was friendship.  I've long been interested in how young people today feel growing up in a world that increasingly seems to be the product of the worst of our human tendencies.  I like to write stories that don't shy away from that worst, but which also never lose sight of the best we're capable of.  And I think loving friendships are where most of us get to show our best.


Blogger Barbara KrasnerFinally, we have a wrap-up of the Blog Tour with a virtual panel featuring various winners over at The Whole Megillah with blogger Barbara Krasner.

Here's a teaser:
Barbara: What trends do you see coming our way?

Kristina Swarner: I’ve been approached about electronic books more often lately, and have been thinking about ways to make illustrations move or interact with the readers.
Dana Reinhardt: It’s tough out there for writers of realistic fiction. But thanks to organizations like the Association of Jewish Libraries, sometimes these smaller books get attention and ultimately find their audience.
Sarah Gershman: I see more of an openness to talking about G-d, particularly in books aimed at both affiliated and unaffiliated families.


To learn more about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, please visit the Association of Jewish Libraries. You can hear podcasts of past winners receiving their awards at the AJL convention at

Thanks for reading the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour!
Welcome back to the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! We've got three more amazing interviews for you today.

Kristina SwarnerKristina Swarner is the illustrator of two books recognized in the Younger Readers Category this year! She illustrated Gathering Sparks by Howard Schwartz (Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner) as well as Modeh Ani by Sarah Gershman (Sydney Taylor Honor Book).

Read an interview with Kristina at The SCBWI Children's Market Blog with blogger Alice Pope.

Here's a teaser:
Alice: Your style is so soft and beautiful--it has an ethereal quality. Will you tell us about your technique?

Kristina: I begin with a black and white linoleum print that helps me get the positive and negative shapes and the underlying texture. Then I go over it with watercolor and colored pencil. I try to leave the white of the paper where I can, so things like stars really glow.


Life, AfterLife, After is a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Sarah Darer Littman at Into the Wardrobe with blogger Tarie.

Here's a teaser:
Tarie: What does winning a Sydney Taylor Honor Award for Life, After mean to you?

Sarah: I can't tell you how incredibly honored I feel to be twice honored by the AJL. When my first book, Confessions of a Closet Catholic won the Sydney Taylor Award for Older Readers in 2006, I was new on the scene and there was a part of me that thought maybe it was a fluke, especially since I followed up my win with a terrible case of second book blues (probably not helped by the fact that I was going through a very lengthy and painful divorce at the time). This time, it is perhaps even more meaningful because I feel like, "Wow, maybe they didn't make a horrible mistake that first time after all!"



Hush is a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Eishes Chayil at Frume Sarah's World with blogger Frume Sarah.

Here's a teaser:
Frume:As our synagogue educator is fond of asking, what is your goal? What do you hope that this book will do for others?

Eishes:It was the only way to have a voice heard that would not be heard otherwise. It was witnessing the agony and devastating trauma that abuse brings on its victims and realizing that I was lucky (or cursed) enough to be a writer, and can tell the story they can not.


Tune in tomorrow for the final day of our blog tour! We'll feature an  interview with Morris Gleitzman (Once) at The Fourth Musketeer, and we'll have a wrap-up with all the winners over at The Whole Megillah. We hope you've been enjoying the blog tour and we'll see you tomorrow!
Welcome back to the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! Today we've got interviews with each of our gold medal-winning authors!

Gathering SparksGathering Sparks is the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Howard Schwartz at Boston Bibliophile with blogger Marie Cloutier.

Here's a teaser:
Marie: Who do you see as the audience for the book?

Howard: Since the repair of the world is such a big job, I hope that everyone will do their part. So while the Ari lived in an exclusively Jewish world in Safed, his myth should be an inspiration not only for Jews, but for everyone. Of course, Jewish people can be especially proud that a genius like the Ari [Rabbi Isaac Luria] created a myth to inspire and guide the people to work together in harmony to make the world a better place. But the basic teaching of tikkun olam can be appreciated by everyone, Jewish or not.



Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword is the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category.

Read an interview with author/illustrator Barry Deutsch at BewilderBlog with blogger Laurel Snyder.

Here's a teaser:
Laurel: Did you just wake up one day and say, “Aha! What the world really needs is an Ortho-fantasy-graphic novel!”

Barry:Yes, that’s exactly it!

I think Hereville was mostly inspired by Lis Harris’ book Holy Days, which has a lot of appealing stories of daily Hasidic life. I read Holy Days 10 or 15 years before I created Hereville, but I thought it would be a great setting for a comic book, so it was in the back of my brain, waiting to be used.


The Things a Brother Knows

The Things a Brother Knows is the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Dana Reinhardt at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy with blogger Liz Burns.

Here's a teaser:
Liz B: After reading The Things a Brother Knows, two things in particular stay with the reader. First, the family and friends of Levi Katznelson are amazing. I want to go his house for Friday dinner. Second, there are no easy answers, but much to think about, when it comes to sending young people to fight wars. What inspired this story? In creating such a complex world, were you a “plunger” or “plotter”?

Dana: For better or worse, I’m a plunger. This does tend to get me into trouble when I reach a certain point in my writing, as I inevitably do, where I have no idea where the story is going next. I start with characters. I begin at the beginning. I usually have some sense of where they’re going, and often I find out later that it’s somewhere I didn’t imagine.

With this book I started with listening to the radio and hearing the voices of the mothers of returning soldiers telling the stories of their changed and damaged sons, and I started to wonder about the other son, the brother who didn’t go. What has his life been like the last few years? What will it be like now that his brother is back? This is where I found Levi and the rest of the Katznelsons. They’d love to have you over for Friday night dinner, by the way.


Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Kristina Swarner (illustrator, Gathering Sparks and Modeh Ani) at Alice Pope's SCBWI Children's Market Blog, Sarah Darer Littman (Life, After) at Into the Wardrobe, and Eishes Chayil (Hush) at Frume Sarah's World.
Welcome to Day 3 of the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! We've got three more exciting interviews for you today.

Cakes & MiraclesCakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale is a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Barbara Diamond Goldin at Great Kid Books with blogger Mary Ann Scheuer.

Here's a teaser:
Mary Ann: What was the inspiration for this story, Cakes and Miracles? Does it come from a specific folktale?

Barbara: The inspiration for Cakes and Miracles came from a dream where, in my sleep, I put together aspects of tales I’d been reading in a new way. I love Isaac B. Singer stories, and had just read one about a blind boy and girl who were friends. I was also reading a book by Bella Chagall, where she mentioned that on Purim in her home town, people gave each other not only hamentashen, but also cookies in the shapes of violins, etc. That night I had a dream about a blind boy who makes cookies in wonderful shapes. As soon as I woke up, I wrote these ideas down. Then I had to fill in the story.


Jaime ZollarsJaime Zollars is the illustrator of Cakes and Miracles.

Read an interview with Jaime at The Book of Life with blogger Heidi Estrin.

Here's a teaser:
Heidi: Cakes and Miracles was originally published in 1991 with illustrations by Erika Weihs. Did you refer to the original illustrations in any way as you worked on this book, or did you start completely fresh?

Jaime: I started completely fresh on this title. My first instinct was to look at the original book first, but then I decided that it would only limit my thinking if I peeked too early in the process. Once I had my sketches in, I did order the book to see how it was first illustrated.


Black RadishesBlack Radishes is a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Susan Lynn Meyer at The Three R's - Reading, 'Riting & Research with blogger Joyce Hostetter.

Here's a teaser:
Joyce: Talk to us about research – how you approach it, what you’ve learned about how to research, and about your favorite way to gather info.

Susan: What works best for me is a “total immersion” method of research for historical fiction. I read everything I can about the period, especially first-hand accounts, such as memoirs. I love reading newspapers from the time, because they give you a very vivid sense of what daily life was like. They can be painful to read, too, because of their immediacy—they are written just as terrible things are happening, and the writers are living through those terrible times and don’t know yet how the events will turn out.


Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Howard Schwartz (Gathering Sparks) at Boston Bibliophile, Barry Deutsch (Hereville) at BewilderBlog, and Dana Reinhardt (The Things a Brother Knows) at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy.
Welcome back to the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! We've got three more exciting interviews for you today.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="138" caption="Emma's Poem"][/caption]

Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty is a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Linda Glaser at ASHarmony with blogger Elizabeth Lipp.

Here's a teaser:
Elizabeth: Linda, I was surprised to read that you struggled as a young reader. How does your struggles as a young reader inform your writing for young readers?

Linda: Yes. I did struggle with reading when I was a kid. In fact, I thought I'd never learn how. That may be why I use a clear simple style when I write for children. I was the type of reader who needed that. And now, I want my books to be accessible to all children--including those who find reading difficult. When I do school visits I always let kids know that I struggled to read. I figure there are probably some kids listening who are heartened to hear that I know what they are going through and that there is hope.


Statue of Liberty under constructionClaire Nivola is the illustrator of Emma's Poem.

Read an interview with Claire at Lori Calabrese with blogger (wait for it) Lori Calabrese.

Here's a teaser:
Lori: Emma Lazarus's famous lines inspired the way we envision America's exceptional freedom and the way we hold it dear today. How were you inspired to create the amazing illustrations in Emma's Poem?

Claire: Most inspiring for me was the photographic record of the time - pictures of newly arrived immigrants, photographs of the statue itself partially uncrated, of the statue once erected seen from the decks of ships arriving in the N.Y. harbor. Photography was still in its infancy then, but often those early black and white pictures documenting the arrival of a refugee or a family carrying all its modest belongings provided a powerful, deeply telling, and poignant record.


One is Not a Lonely NumberOne Is Not a Lonely Number is a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Evelyn Krieger at Ima On and Off the Bima with blogger Phyllis Sommer.

Here's a teaser:

Phyllis: What inspired you to write this story? I see from your biography that you are one of six kids, what brought you to a story about an only child?

Evelyn: When you are the oldest of six kids, its only natural to occasionally wonder what it's like to be an only child.As part of my preparation for the book, I interviewed only children--both kids and adults.  I remember a first grader who wanted a sibling so badly that he invented his mother's pregnancy for show and tell. And I fell for it!


Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Barbara Diamond Goldin (Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale) at Great Kid Books, Jaime Zollars (illustrator, Cakes and Miracles) at The Book of Life, and Susan Lynn Meyer (Black Radishes) at The Three R's - Reading, 'Riting, & Research.
The Sydney Taylor Book Award 2011 Blog Tour begins today with three stops!

ResistanceResistance is a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Carla Jablonski at Jewish Comics with blogger Steven Bergson.

Here's a teaser:
Steven: When did the idea for writing the Resistance books come to you? Was there a particular event that occurred which inspired you to write it?

Carla: The war in Iraq, actually, got me wondering about what it would be like to live in an occupied country. I was also interested in the tensions between an experience as it is happening vs. history or hindsight.


image from Resistance

Leland Purvis is the illustrator of the graphic novel, Resistance.

Read an interview with Leland at Shelf-Employed with blogger Lisa Taylor.

Here's a teaser:

Lisa: In Resistance, you often use Paul’s sketchbook to portray people or events  in the story. I found it interesting that, in most cases, Paul’s sketchbook depicts events not through the filtered eye of the young boy, but as they are. In my mind, that tells a story in itself - that the behavior of Nazi  Germany was so horrific that exaggeration, even for an imaginative young boy, is impossible. Was that the point that you were trying to make, or does the sketchbook have another purpose in the story?

Leland: The sketchbook serves a couple of purposes, which is why you were sensing a dual-role, essentially. On the one hand it was a narrative device by which Paul could be valuable to the Maquis resistance in a credible way. Also it does provide a look into Paul's head about his reaction to the town and people around him. We very much included panels that were strictly Paul's P.O.V. This has continued into the sequels.


Modeh Ani

Modeh Ani: A Good Morning Book is a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category. Its predecessor, The Bedtime Sh'ma, was the 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category.

Read an interview with author Sarah Gershman at Biblio File with blogger Jennie Rothschild.

Here's a teaser:
Jennie: Many Jews do not write out God and instead use a substitute, such as G-d. However, throughout your book, you use God. Why did you make this decision and do you have a response to those who are critical of it (I noticed it came up in the Amazon reviews of the Bedtime Sh'ma.)

Sarah: My main motivation was to make the book accessible to people of all backgrounds. That being said, there are also Rabbinic opinions that say that writing God in English is not the same thing as writing God's full name in Hebrew. We were careful not to do that in the Hebrew portions of the book, as well as on the Bedtime Sh'ma CD.


Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Linda Glaser (author, Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty) at ASHarmony, Claire Nivola (illustrator, Emma's Poem) at Lori Calabrese, and Evelyn Krieger (One is Not a Lonely Number) at Ima On and Off the Bima.

Here’s this week’s collection of links about libraries, Jewish libraries, librarianship and more. Many thanks to Marie Cloutier for establishing this feature on AJL's Blog, and welcome to Bob Schrier, who now takes up the reins!

In the recent reference workshop held by the local NYC chapter of AJL, Columbia University’s Michelle Chesner discussed the social bookmarking tool Delicious. If you haven't signed up for an account yet, now is the time. Use Delicious to save your bookmarks into a searchable index that can be shared with others and is web-accessible (rather than accessible only locally on your computer).   Search and see what a couple of AJL members have done with Delicious here and here.

Are upper-classmen popping into your library yet to begin looking for jobs? JewishJobs provides a searchable database and weekly email digest for Jewish-related jobs nationwide.

Cooking based on the weekly parsha brought to you by Elisha's Double Portion. Each week, Elisha takes some element of the weekly Torah portion and transforms it into an idea for a recipe. Look at her recipe for gold dusted chocolate covered sesame cookies for Parshas Terumah.

Keep your eyes on the National Digital Public Library program sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, which is attempting to make millions of books and resources accessible to library and school systems nationwide for free (as opposed to GoogleBooks). Follow their blog here at Library City.

The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure recently began its large-scale four year project. Financially sponsored by the EU, 20 organizations worldwide are joining together on a collaborative digitization program that will promote greater access to geographically dispersed Holocaust documents and artifacts.

Check out Anya's War, a new young adult Jewish novel by Andrea Alban about a girl and her family who escape Hitler's forces by running away to China. The book is due to be released sometime in the beginning of this month.

Enjoy! Email Bob at schriro at with feedback and suggestions of links for future roundups!

Posted in: Link Round-Up
AJL Council Meeting 2011

By Barbara Bietz, Chair, Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee

I recently returned from an inspiring weekend in New York attending the AJL Mid-Winter Board and Council Meeting. Earlier in  January I experienced a flurry of activity for the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee and I was excited about the announcement of the 2011 Awards. It was so heartwarming to arrive in New York to discover that everyone from AJL was equally enthusiastic and appreciate of the committee’s efforts. On Sunday night after the Board meeting, the SSC gang had a dinner meeting at Mr. Broadway (SSC is the Synagogue, School & Center division of AJL, which oversees the Sydney Taylor Book Award). Over pickles and stuffed cabbage, SSC President Joyce Levine led the group. We discussed important issues and brainstormed solutions, including outreach to library volunteers, updating our blog, and finding more way to reach out to the AJL community. As I looked at all the faces at the table I felt a sense of awe. Here we sat, a group of passionate, committed peoples from various parts of the country and Canada, with a shared mission – to promote Jewish libraries. Whether it’s placing the perfect book in the right hands, educating others, or fundraising – it’s all about doing the best for our communities.

The Monday morning Council meeting started early – with plenty of coffee and pastries for all! Development Chair and SSC Secretary Kathe Pinchuck shared an inspiring D’var Torah that underscored our commitment as a group. I didn’t know what to expect from the meeting. AJL President Jim Rosenbloom encouraged everyone to share their thoughts and concerns. We tackled some serious challenges – from budget cuts to convention planning and more. There were respectful disagreements, but overall I was encouraged by the level of respect that everyone showed one another. There was a consensus about the importance of welcoming to new members, supporting local chapters, and helping library school students follow a path towards Judaica librarianship. Although much was accomplished, the meeting was also an opportunity for everyone to share good news, visit with old friends, and connect with new ones. I have a wonderful time in New York and feel honored to be part of the AJL family. There are lots of committees that need hands and hearts – so if you have a bit of time and you would like to participate, please consider AJL!
On Friday, January 28, AJL librarian and former AJL President Susan Dubin joined AJL Facebook fans for an hour of questions and answers on using general-interest books to teach Judaism and Jewish values.

Visit the Facebook Friday homepage here and email Heidi Estrin at if you're interested in participating as a moderator or guest.

Association of Jewish Libraries: Welcome to Facebook Friday! With us today is Susan Dubin, librarian extraordinaire, to discuss using general-interest books to teach Judaism and Jewish values. Welcome, Susan!

Association of Jewish Libraries: This is Heidi Estrin - nice to "see" you, Suzi! Off the top of your head, do you want to name a few favorite secular books with Jewish values?

Susan Dubin: Hi everyone! I am here in sunny California. If anyone would like a bibliography I prepared for teaching about service learning, it has a lot of books covering various Jewish values.

Steven Bergson: I'm a bit uncomfortable with the concept of "Jewish values". As a Jew, I can identify certain values as being "Jewish", but several of them seem more like universal values which are shared by other faiths and cultures.

Susan Dubin: By Jewish values in our school environment we mean the mitzvot. Every year we highlight one of the m as a theme.

Sheryl Stahl I think it depends on the context - In a religious school, it make sense to teach Jewish values - even if other people/religions share them once the kid hits the street

Sheryl Stahl on the other hand - or same hand? I get really offended if when I help someone they thank me by saying that was very "Christian" of me.

Association of Jewish Libraries: True! It is also important to allow these students to be proud that such universal concepts are Jewish!

Steven Bergson: That's one perspective. Then there's the other one that questions why we Jews are "claiming" values that came from another culture.

Association of Jewish Libraries: Marie here: sounds like another topic for another- and very lively- Q&A!

Susan Dubin: A favorite activity in our library is our cave for Shakespeare Week which morphs into a cave for Lag B'Omer. Students help decorate the cave and then come into the library pretending to watch for Roman soldiers. Of course, we tell Jewish stories secretly in the cave. Rabbi Ben Zakai watches over us.

Susan Dubin: Posted on our catalog website is a bibliography for B'tzelem Elohem. There are Judaic and secular books listed. The website is Do you have any favorites?

Association of Jewish Libraries: Marie here: Did we lose a comment under Heidi's first question?

Association of Jewish Libraries: Yes. I posted a response and now it is gone. Suzi Dubin

Susan Dubin: I answered Heidi's question by saying that just last week I used "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss to teach about Tu B'Shevat. The children made a puppet play conversation between the Lorax and the Onceler about the importance of trees.
Another book I use every year is "The Relatatives Came" to introduce the idea of Welcoming Guests.
Our theme this year is "Btzelem Elohem". To introduce it I used the book ""I Like Me."

Association of Jewish Libraries: Marie here: I have a question. what do secular books offer that's different from Jewish books when it comes to teaching mitzvot?

Susan Dubin: Secular books are often more readily available.

Association of Jewish Libraries: Marie here: Another question: Do you ever use books that come from a different religious tradition or do you just use books with no overt religious content?

Susan Dubin: Yes. I use books from everywhere. If a book is from another religious point of view I point it out to the students.

Association of Jewish Libraries: Marie here: For the purposes of this conversation, does a book count as Jewish if it has Jewish characters, or do you encounter books with Jewish characters that you would nonetheless count as secular if there was no other Jewish/religious content?

Association of Jewish Libraries: Yes. I consider books of general interest books with no specific Judaic content.

Sheryl Stahl: Do you have any favorite young adult novels?

Steven Bergson: Favorite YA novel that I haven't read yet : The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

Sheryl Stahl: Love the movie! haven't read the book - but what values do you think it illustrates?

Steven Bergson: Can't say until I finish reading it. I've got to go back to it one of these days. It's on my "to read when I have free time" shelf.

Steven Bergson: However, from what I've read about it & from leafing through parts of it, I can tell that the movie condensed it.

Susan Dubin: I love YA books. A recent favorite is Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Sheryl Stahl: Hunger Games was a favorite at my house too - but again - what values do you see?

Association of Jewish Libraries: Marie here: The hour is officially up, but folks can feel free to continue to chat. I'll keep recording the convo as long as I can. Thank you so much to Suzi for being our guest this week & for everyone who participated!

Susan Dubin:Thank you for joining me. I will be checking back throughout the day.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Facebook Friday
Here's this week's collection of links on Jewish books, libraries and librarianship.

Do you know a librarian superhero? Enter him or her in a contest starting from this post on Stephen's Lighthouse.

Graphic Storytelling by Jewish Women from the Sisterhood.

From Tablet, Daybreak: Holocaust Remembrance Day.

OA: Just Another Business Model, from ACRLog.

Ebooks and Libraries: A Stream of Concerns, from Information Wants to be Free.

The Jewish Book Council's J Lit Links.

That's it for me. The weekly roundup may be on a brief hiatus in the coming weeks.

Posted by Marie.
Posted in: Link Round-Up
January is National Mentoring Month

By Stephanie (Sara Leah) Gross (revised)

I just returned from an innervating session with 40 council members at the annual mid-winter conference.  Of course, there were the usual deliberations about  budget, convention expenditures and ratifications of past minutes. However, there were some much-awaited proposals for innovations to increase our membership as well as make AJL a more-valuable resource to its members.

  • Michelle Chesner, RAS Secretary, pushed for more inclusion of library science students, including possible free membership for them.  She related how her internship at NYU’s dual-master’s program with a qualified mentor shaped her future in the profession.  I have long been involved with library students, from my early days in the New York Library Club, and most recently with my own networking group (NY Librarians Meetup Group).  Now, I was finally hearing multiple voices who wished to propel this idea into action.  Although still in its infancy, I was given to understand that there will be collaboration among at least a few committees:  the Task Force, RAS, SSC and Mentoring.

  • Professional development and continuing education: To be honest, such collaboration  will be a challenge for our organization, where many members have been out of library school for considerable time.  Not to worry, there are great plans for professional development and continuing education, including podcasts, webinars and wikis. I requested that any members who had a desire to include mentorship in their work contact me so that we may get down to business as soon as possible.

  • Internships and grants: Michelle also described possible initiatives concerning student internships as well as IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grants.  The former will certainly help draw new members as well as the much needed “fresh blood”  to maintain our momentum.

  • We were given a preview of the new web site which is scheduled for its roll-out in February. In addition to being able to edit our committee pages more easily than in the past, committee chairs may be able to set up their profiles, included headshots and social media links.  For those interested in networking and establishing appropriate visibility, these improvements will be a boon, especially to our new members.

  • I hope to sponsor a Mentor Mingle at the Montreal convention, but must remind all chapters and divisions that mentoring is a processes that is mutually beneficial to those involved, from the individuals to the association itself.  It is a perk of membership that is at times under-used, and we must be vigilant that we do not lose sight of our mission as educators to share, support and encourage newcomers to our group and to our organization.

  • As Chair of the Mentoring Committee, I’m hoping that my committee will be more effective to members in “far-flung” corners of the world where access to Judaica librarians is challenging.  I hope to use my space on the web for telecommunication, such as Skype, Instant Messaging, and perhaps even group events on social media such as Facebook or Second Life.  If there are individuals out there who would like to be included in this initiative, please contact me at  Until that time, do make a point of visiting my page on the AJL wiki dedicated to social media for librarians.  Look it over and please send me feed-back. We will all benefit from that.

New Book on Mentoring: Now, onto a special “shout-out” for a new book on mentoring by  ALA.  The title is aptly, Mentoring in the Library:   Building for the Future by Marta K. Lee. I must say that it certainly met my expectations from the first peek at the Introduction.  I  learned of this book through an ALA newsletter alert on new publications and immediately purchased it online (ISBN 9780838935934 ; $50.)  It arrived in the mail just today, and I thought “How marvelous! Just in time for my blog post!  The book itself is a mere 122 pages, replete with chapters devoted to enumerating the kind of skills a mentor should have, with techniques for successful development, education and training.  Also included are guidelines for establishing formal and informal mentoring arrangements, with a chapter devoted to mentoring librarians electronically.  The book flap boasts “In this useful book, Lee shows librarians how mentoring can be both personally satisfying and a path to career development.”  Besides the requisite bibliography and index, this handbook includes appendices with forms for requests, proposals, and promotion review timetable .  Of interest, too, are the case studies from two academic institutions.  However, both volunteers and school librarians are given space, so those who are not planning mentorship in RAS will still wish to give this volume and careful read.  Finally, the book jacket suggests other related titles, such as Coaching in the Library:  A management Strategy for achieving excellence 2nd ed. By Ruth F. Metz and Succession planning in the library:  Developing leaders, managing change by Paul M Singer with Gail Griffith.  These books may be order at or 866.746.7252!

Happy Mentoring! Remember to send your stories, lessons learned, and feedback to be shared with others.  Look for me, too, on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  I often post to AJL, but have my own Twitter account (NYLibrarians).  Other contact information:  ajlmentoring AT gmail.comSkype: Stephanie.L.Gross.  Best of luck to you all in 2011!  I plan to be at the convention in June, so do send me ideas for sessions or general ideas for PR and outreach.  You need not be a library student, and librarians in transition as well as newly-minted librarians are warmly encouraged to become involved.

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