Fall 2001/ Elul 5761

From the editor's desk

In June I visited Los Angeles on a combination of business and to visit family. Since I love to visit libraries, I took the opportunity to visit the library of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the University of Judaism. I wrote about the Wiesenthal Center in September issue of the Librarian's Lobby. To read it, go to the web page: http//:home.earthlink.net\~ddstuhlman\crc43.htm.

The University of Judaism, founded in 1948, originally was the west coast branch of the Jewish Theological Seminary, but now they are institutionally separate. The campus, opened in 1977, is on a beautiful hill in Bel Air that over looks the highway. For those not familiar with the Los Angeles area, everywhere looks like a mountain, valley or beach. The scenery and weather are very different from Chicago. The first impressive feature is the entrance. To enter the library I was told to go down stairs and go through the student lounge. The student lounge had no walls. I entered the door and I was outside. I went along the outside corridor and entered the library. The room is rectangular and very functional (i.e., plain). The stacks are in a state of flux because they are recataloging and reclassifying the whole collection to be on-line and using LC classification. An outside vendor was doing the reclassification., Evaluating the collection as far as how it fit the needs of their students and faculty was hard. They do own more than 100,000 items. The staff seems very nice and friendly. Since it was summer very few students or faculty were there. I wanted to visit some faculty members whom I once knew, but none were in town.

The UCLA has largest collection of Judaica in the LA area with more than 170,000 books. See the web page: http://www.library.ucla.edu/ libraries/url/colls /judaica/pages/about.html for more information.

In October I will be delivering a paper at the Midwest Association for Jewish Studies on the topic of the beginnings of American Judaica collections. I will talk about library acquisitions.

On October 15 & 16 I will be on local access cable in Chicago channel 19, 8:30 PM, talking about libraries and librarianship. The show is called, Taped with Rabbi Doug. In the suburbs the show will be about six weeks later.

This issue of contains articles from Fred Isaac of Oakland, CA on acquisitions for synagogue and school libraries, a report from the 2001 AJL convention, and an article from Paulette Goodman on both sides of the donations issue.

I encourage everyone to write an article for our next issue. Write about your library or ask me for ideas for articles.

Daniel "Donnie" Stuhlman, editor
Chicago, IL 60645
E-mail : DDStuhlman@earthlink.net.

Contents of this issue

From the editor's desk by Daniel Stuhlman
Minutes of the Spring Meeting submitted by Margaret Burka
Automation of Temple Shalom Library  by Eva Eisenstein
School and Synagogue Library Acquisitions  by Fred Isaac
Reflections on the Association of Jewish Libraries Convention, Summer 2001, San Diego, California by Margaret Burka
To Accept or Not Accept, That is the Question! A Synagogue Librarian's View of Donated Books by Paulette Goodman
SPECIAL THURSDAY NIGHT LECTURE in celebration of Jewish Book Month Spertus Institute
Asher Library Staff Makes Presentation on Aleph Spertus Institute
Knowledge Management and Habad  by Daniel D. Stuhlman

The web site for previous issues: http://home.earthlink.net/~ddstuhlman\jln-home.htm

Minutes of the Spring Meeting
May 10, 2001
Submitted by Margaret Burka

Immediate Past-President Robbin Katzin called the business meeting to order for President Eva Eisenstein. Robbin welcomed the members and thanked Rosalind Shlaes of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, Evanston, for hosting the meeting. Twelve members attended.

Treasurer's Report: As of May 9, 2001, our account has a balance of $1337.46. We have 36 paid members (some individuals, some institutions) for 2000-2001. An updated list of current members was distributed. Convention Subsidies: Three members applied for subsidies, although Shoshanah Seidman noted that she received alternate funding. The $700 earmarked for the subsidies will be evenly split between Margaret Burka and Nancy Sack.

Newsletter: Donnie Stuhlman asked for some editorial direction for the newsletter. He would like members to let him know what types of articles they would like to see in the newsletter. In addition, he would like volunteers to write articles about their libraries and their collections. Shoshanah thought it might be useful to do an article on computer systems for libraries since it is a topic that is frequently asked about. Donnie has some dated research, but perhaps someone with more recent information would be willing to write something up. Several members thanked Donnie for putting together the newsletter.

Dues Structure: The discussion was postponed until the next meeting.
Elections: The Nominating Committee submitted the following names for office for 2001-2002: President Eva Eisenstein Vice-President Rena Citrin Treasurer Sharon Chefitz Corresponding Secretary Joy Kingsolver Recording Secretary Marcie Eskin The slate was unanimously approved. Thank you to Robbin Katzin who chaired the Nominating Committee, and to the Committee members: Shoshanah Seidman, Margaret Burka, and Cheryl Banks.
Old Business: Cheryl Banks reported that a 2002 National Convention would be taking place in Denver beginning June 23, 2002. Cheryl, one of the National Convention chairs, was in Denver this spring and noted that the hotel is very nice and well located. Because Convention will be happening, we will not be planning a Midwest Conference for this summer, but there may still be interest in planning one for another time. Members attending the Convention this June could speak to other mid-west members and sound out the idea. Shoshanah Seidman was interested in the automation status of our synagogue and school libraries.

A quick survey of attendees revealed the following:

Beth Emet Not automated 
Beth Hillel Using Winnebago Spectrum 
Chicago Sinai Cataloguing on OCLC, but no online catalog
Hillel Torah Winnebago, converting to Follett
Lakeside Congregation Not automated
Marshall Center Not automated
North Suburban Beth El Fully automated

The business meeting was followed by an informative educational program. Cheryl Banks presented "The Best of the Best in Jewish Children's Materials." Focusing on holiday and life cycle books, Cheryl discussed her criteria for "good quality" books and videos (e.g., accuracy, age and audience-appropriateness). She also explained her reasons for not including Holocaust-themed holiday books. Showing a number of books as examples, Cheryl went through her extensive bibliography which she had distributed.

Automation at Temple Shalom
by Eva Eisenstein

Text: In automation, it is the non-automated tasks that take the most time.
Commentary: We started the whole process in Spring 1999, with a manual inventory of our collection. With the help of three gallant volun-teers, we eventually finished in mid-winter. Winnebago sent all our bar codes by April 2000. We still have to bar code one third of the library. Volunteers for this manual task are much harder to find: few can muster the concentration needed and the stamina to deal with the tedium. Our young adult group has helped us out three times with a group effort after a pizza lunch.

Text: I will have an authority file in my next life as a cataloger
Commentary: As a life-long reference librarian, the authority file continues to be elusive. In my eagerness to get going and catalog my huge backlog of uncataloged books once the CD from Winnebago was uploaded, I thought I'd focus on authority files later; after all, there had never been much of an authority file in the library, shistory. And anyway, I thought, almost everyone will be doing keyword searching in this library, so authority shmority. I know I'll be hearing from every cataloger who may read this. I welcome anyone who wants to visit me and set me right. Perhaps I should be looking at investment banking instead?

Text: Automation has increased library usage beyond my wildest dreams
Commentary: Hyperbole does have its uses, but this is not the place for it. Yes, the OPAC has brought in some grammar school and high school kids who are using the catalog with great nonchalance; they never touched the card catalog, and now I'm hoping they'll actually move from the terminal to the shelves and look at the books. But that's about it so far. The pre-computer generation determinedly a void the OPAC setup and head straight for the card catalog, even though it is closed. My repeated offers to show them how to use the new technology are very politely rebuffed. The database is on the synagogue's server, so that rabbis and most staff already have access to the collection from their offices. I hope they are logging in!

Text: My life, both as a reference librarian and as an aspiring technical services librarian has been changed forever
Commentary: Of course, I have some gripes about Winnebago Spectrum, but on the whole, I've been smitten. Automation has opened up the collection for me in a way the card catalog just couldn't. Users love the instant bibliogra-phies printed out for them to take to the shelves, and my work behind the scenes (my desk is right at the door to the library) main-taining the collection has been speeded up.

Text: Still in the first year of automation, and already an upgrade!
Commentary: This will be approached with a lot of patience and good humor, as will the activa-tion of the circulation module on an experimental basis. The upgrade will allow Z39.50 Marc record downloading, advance booking, and several other new features. The kids just want to know when the laser reader will be activated.

Text: P.S. Six months later

Commentary: With professional tech help, the upgrade went through without a hitch. The Z39.50 Marc record downloading, an integrated, add-on feature of the upgrade, is also in opera-tion, with some assistance from Spectrum tech support. This is the place for hyperbole. Z39.50 is wonderful. It has speeded up my cataloging to the extent that I will now have time to do long overdue tasks such as weeding the shelves to make more space for new books to catalog!

And all the books are bar coded!

School and Synagogue Library Acquisitions
by Fred Isaac

"What books and materials should we have in the Library?"  This simple-sounding question is an important and perennial one for all libraries, but especially those with space and budget limits. All libraries serve varied populations. It is the job of the librarian to figure out how to serve diverse interests adequately. Should the librarian to the "lowest common denominator," the uneducated user, the most demanding users, or the scholars? How does the librarian balance the needs of the students, faculty, staff, and congregational members? How does the librarian seek and find the materials appropriate my community?

What follows is a series of suggestions and some of my ideas about how to make the most of your situation. Some ideas may seem unnecessary. Others may appear either simple or too difficult to follow. I would urge you, however, to consider them and discuss them with all varieties of users including rabbis, faculty, the education directors, and general members or parents.

Create a Core Collection

No matter how large or small your library is, there are certain books that are essential. The Sydney Taylor Award winners and other honor books are important for children's libraries. Well-known and popular authors give credibility and attract marginal users to any Judaica collection. There are literally dozens of writers and hundreds of titles that can be considered critical. There are a number of bibliographies, such as Daniel Syme's "100 Essential Books" that can help in developing the heart of your library. Rabbis and principals can also be an excellent source of ideas for which are the basic books for your collection. Develop a collection development policy and follow it. Define for whom is the library. Include the description of the potential audience. Does the audience include scholars, children, teachers, synagogue members, parents of the school children, etc.? A written collection development policy may be only a few paragraphs long, however, it will help focus the librarian on how to build and maintain the collection. This should not be a restrictive policy. For example many adults benefit from reading literature that was written for children. On the other hand, a small synagogue library does not need to buy the latest academic tome. (Unless the author is a member of your synagogue.)

Build to the strengths of your program. With the central collection in place, it is possible to deve-lop strengths and build toward completeness of the collection. If there is a strong interest in the Shoah, you can add books on the Holocaust. If the community is drawn toward a variety of Judaism, collects works to reflect that interest. Create an inviting space and use the classification to enhance awareness and access. The layout and organization of the library are not tangential, they are essential to collection development. If people know where the books they seek are located, they will use them more. By extension, the staff will be aware of what the clientele wants and will be better able to serve them. Therefore, keeping the room neat will help you at the same time it helps your users. Organizing the collection in a logical manner will help your patrons, and ultimately the library will benefit as well.

Create Bibliographies

Produce resources and guides for your community to draw people into the library. These should not be simple lists of books; they should be annotated, to encourage people to use them and also to show how they relate to each other and to the wider world of Jewish learning. they can be lists of picture books on holidays, books on Talmud learning, or new novels recently received.

Form a Constituency

As your library develops a specific personality, form a community of people who are interested in the library. they can be financial supporters, members of the library committee, and regular users. All of them can be valuable assets in identifying new areas of interest and new books to consider.

Establish a relationship with a local Judaica bookseller and with other librarians Despite the discounts available from Amazon.com and other services, I recommend using a local bookseller. Learn when to buy from your local booksellers and when to buy from a library wholesaler, skilled in serving libraries. Talking to people who know the field can be invaluable, especially for those who are new to Judaica. I also encourage visits to other similar libraries in the area. Seeing what colleagues have, and how they organize their collections, can give new ideas.

These recommendations may not at first seem directly related to "What books should I have." However, they are interrelated. As the library creates a core collection and sense of its goals, the others will become clearer as well. Buying and acquiring books and other library materials is a professional activity. The process should be documented and not left to accidental donations.

Fred Isaac is the synagogue librarian of Temple Sinai Oakland, CA and library consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a member of the Association of Jewish Libraries, and has spoken and written widely.

Reflections on the Association of Jewish Libraries Convention, Summer 2001, San Diego, California
By Margaret Burka

It was my privilege to attend the Association of Jewish Libraries National Convention in San Diego this June, an experience which was extremely enjoyable in a number of ways. Attending the convention provides the

opportunity to meet new people in the field, visit with those you already know, take in the local sights, and most importantly, exchange ideas with other Judaica librarians, as well as gather information which will be of value to you and your library patrons.

Convention 2001 certainly took place in wonderful surroundings. The San Diego area is lovely and its reputation for perfect weather well deserved! I was glad I came early and so was able to visit the world famous San Diego Zoo and the La Jolla Cove Beach (home to a delightful group of seals!). The "field trip" to Tijuana included a tour of a Jewish school, a delicious luncheon, talks by local people on Jewish history of the area, and a visit to the new and unique Cultural Center Museum (or shopping, for those who preferred). It was great!

The sessions I attended were all of value and interest to me, and I was able to bring back several ideas which I plan to use in my synagogue library. The following sessions were particularly helpful and well done:

1)  The Sydney Taylor Book Awards
2)  Holocaust Videos for Young Viewers (presented by Cheryl Banks)
3)  Program on teaching the Holocaust to children - with a bibliography of recommended books - presented by   Hazel Rochman, ALA Booklist editor
4)  A poster session on synagogue library activities
5)  The Librarian As Teacher (Rachel Glasser, facilitator)
6)  Meeting on chapter relations chaired by Sybil Finemel
7)  Migrations of a Tale (on the new award-winning children's book Gershon's Monster - with author Eric Kimmel and illustrator Jon J. Muth)
8)  An interest group for synagogue librarians
9)  The Jewish Child in Picture Books? presented by June Cummins
10) A talk on Shakespeare and the Jews by author Lynne Kositsky
11) Jewish Book Month in the Public Library.

I am looking forward to attending next year's convention in Denver and recommend the experience to all our members. If anyone would like more information on the sessions I attended, I would be happy to share more of the details. Contact me at mburkalib@aol.com, or by phone 847-432-7950 (work).

Margaret Burka, librarian,
Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism Highland Park, IL 60035

To Accept or Not Accept, That is the Question! A Synagogue Librarian's View of Donated Books

By Paulette Goodman
Congregation Beth Shalom
Naperville, Illinois

It started as an ordinary day at the Synagogue Library mail delivery, a meeting with the rabbi and religious school director, a few sisterhood women looking for a novel for a book talk and then, the phone rang. The caller's cheerful voice greeted me with these words, "Mrs. Goodman, I have several boxes of Jewish content books that I feel sure you will want to have on your shelves. They're in great shape and I hate to just throw them away! My children lovingly cared for them and read them frequently. It would just break my heart for me to get rid of them. May I bring them to the Synagogue library so that the adults and children can use them?" Naturally I asked the customary questions, taught to me in library school, about their age, condition and number, but since they were not physically in front of me, I agreed to have them dropped off at the designated time at the Synagogue Library. Thus, began my first of many adventures with donated books!

Let me start by stating that donated books come in all flavors yes, flavors! My mind's eye frequently uses color and taste to refer to my favorite books since they have been part of my life for so long and can be delicious additions to both my personal as well as the Synagogue collection. I do not hesitate to consider the possibility of receiving donated books. One might just find a treasure among those boxes of books. Naturally, this ability to discover a donated book treasure did not blossom overnight! It took hundreds, maybe thousands of book box openings for me to perfect the art of donated book selecting! I found that only one discovery could be of such value as to justify the many hours and sometimes, days that I spent looking through those donations. There is an art and an eye that is developed utilizing one's knowledge and needs of the collection. If you are now saying to yourself, why bother? Then you should pose the following questions:

1. How large is your collection and what holes or gaps does it have? In other words, how desperate are you for books, any books!

2. If money is in short supply, could these donations fill in the gaps until monies are available? Or restated, is there ever going to be enough money to purchase replacements!

3. How offended will the congregant be if he/she does not find those books on the library shelves? In other words, are you clever enough to talk the talk and find a way to make the donor feel that the donated books went to a better place!

4. Are these donated books truly worth adding to the collection? Some books are not appropriate for this Synagogue's collection!

5. Do you have the time and/or space to place these donations on your shelves? If not, you hit on one of the best ways to gracefully reject the offer! This doesn't happen often, so those of you who have this mixed blessing, enjoy!

6. Could you utilize the donated books in any other way, i.e. give them to the students, teachers, or staff? Rejoice! This, too, is another way to move the donations to other shelves rather than the library!

If, by any chance, you have no books and are starting off your library, donated books may be the only way you can open your doors! This places you in a completely different circle of book donation acceptors. You may wish to look less critically at those donations and make the professional decision to choose the best and place requests for books to be donated in specific categories. Surprise! Donated books can be good choices! Therefore, as you build your collection, you can weed and then replace, any book whose shelf life has seen better days! Donations come through different avenues. Congregants can purchase brand new books through the library book sale and then donate them to the library. I know of no synagogue librarian who has turned down those donations! Books can find their way to synagogue library bookshelves vis-à-vis bar/bat mitzvah celebra-tions, birthday or special event donations. Not all donations are old and used materials! Book donations can be spanking new books that you revel in reading. Notice that we have come full circle in our book selection process. Naturally, I prefer new over old, but I have learned over the years that a balance can be achieved using both kinds of donations.

That is my tale of donated books. I feel comfortable opening both new and used book boxes with the knowledge that each opening can bring a treasure.

I'm waiting; hand me another box.

Asher Library Staff Makes Presentation on Aleph

Asher Library director, Glenn Ferdman, and Associate director, Kathy Bloch, demonstrated the Aleph 500 system at the Summer 2001 Association of Jewish Libraries Convention. The demonstration was part of a presentation entitled "Live Comparison of Three Hebrew Capable Library Systems." The session also featured live demonstrations of automated library systems from VTLS, presented by Leah Adler of Yeshiva University and Innovative Interfaces, presented by Paul Miller, of University of Judaism.

This session was designed to compare and contrast the Hebrew capabilities of three of the leading library automation systems currently in use. Each group demonstrated the Hebrew capabilities of their system, including the OPAC (online public access catalog), cataloging, and other modules. The three systems had many features in common including the ability for users to input searches and display results in Hebrew as well as in English.

At the end of the session, the panel took questions from the audience.

SPECIAL THURSDAY NIGHT LECTURE in celebration of Jewish Book Month
Thursday, November 8

Stars of David: Images of Jews in American Films Dr. Lester Friedman
Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies
618 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605

Wine and cheese reception at 5:30 PM; lecture at 6:00 PM. A book signing will follow the program

America became conscious of its films and its Jews almost simultaneously. From silent one-reelers, through the golden age of cinema, with-in the turbulent sixties and into contemporary times, Americans who may never have met Jews in their daily lives encountered them on local movie screens. The evolving image of Jews in American films constitutes a rich and varied tapestry woven by several generations of movie makers responding to the changing world around them. Their works dynamically depict the Jews' profound impact on American society and forcefully illustrate that society's perceptions of the Jews within its midst. Dr. Friedman will discuss the ways in which these films show both how Jews affected American life and how American life influenced Jews, a two-way process inherent in the first American-Jewish movie as well as in the latest.

This program is offered in commemoration of Jewish Book Month, and in recognition of the Asher Library, whose collection of nearly 1,000 feature-length films and documentaries comprises one of the largest Judaica video collections in the country.

Lester D. Friedman (Ph.D., Syracuse University) has a shared senior appointment in the Program in Communication and Medicine and the Department of Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University. Among his publication are Hollywood's Image of the Jew, The Jewish Image in American Film (recipient of the National Jewish Book Award), and American-Jewish Directors. Dr. Friedman has appeared as an expert commentator in television programs and a consultant for a variety of Jewish organizations. His script for Prisoners of Freedom: An American Holocaust Story, was recently turned into an independent feature film.

Knowledge Management and Habad
by Daniel D. Stuhlman

During a visit to a Habad House in a suburb of Los Angeles, before Shabbat services the rabbi was explaining the terms that make up Habad,

Hahmah, bena, de-ah. The rabbi explained that Hahmah is detached unorganized bits of wisdom. Bena is the organized information and de-ah is the knowledge derived for the organization of information.

This was a perfect introduction to knowledge management. The confusion of the terms knowledge, data and information has wasted huge amounts of organizational resources. The terms are related, but each has a different platform within an organization. When we understand the terms and their implementation, we can build the knowledge management processes. Librarians by education, training, experience and personality are highly qualified to help businesses or other organizations manage knowledge. Librarians have been understanding societal needs for knowledge since the beginnings of libraries.

Definition of Terms

Data are the symbols and basic building blocks of languages and systems. In the computer world the most basic data are the 0's and 1's that comprise the bits and bytes of the computer's inner workings. The bytes become symbols that humans can interpret. Eventually anything can become data, the building blocks for information. We have databases that store data. The databases may contain names, addresses and information about customers, but the elements are data until value is added by way of collection and interpretation.

Data are discrete facts about events. The amount of money or number of items in a transaction are data elements. A computer record keeping system is essential for gathering and storing the data and enabling reports. These reports are formatted data and because of the value added may be information. Data are important to measure cost, speed, amount, capacity, etc. of the organization. Without interpretation more data are not better than less data. Decisions require data that has been turned into useful information.

Information is data gathered, organized, and interpreted. If the data are the letters of the alphabet, organizing the letters into words is information. If the data are customers, organizing the list into a usable format is the information needed. In organizations one person's information is based on the data from another with value added. For example people at level one write reports (information) for management. The level one manager gathers the reports (data at this point) and writes another report (information) for level two management. The process continues to the chief executive officer, who uses the information to make his (her) decisions.

Information requires a communication process between a sender and receiver. The information could be an informative beep or audible message telling the person the phone is ringing. The beep gives form to the data and tells one to act. Usually the receiver decides when the message is really information, "noise," or another piece of data. The message may contain an unintended message that reflects on the judge-ment or intelligence of the sender.

Information moves around organizations by paper, voice and electronic communications. Examples are e-mail, paper mail, notices on bulletin boards, voice mail, and computer transmissions. Information may be machine or human generated. Information storage and transmission are heavily dependent on technology.

Knowledge is the learning process and change in behavior that occurs in a person or organiza-tion after internalizing the information. Knowledge is a fluid mix of experience, values, evaluated experiences, and information. Knowledge originates in the minds of the expert. Collective knowledge of an organization is evidenced by its corporate behavior, such as how documents are prepared, organization's routines, processes and culture. Organizations must be careful not to confuse knowledge and information or knowledge management with information technology.

Sharing Knowledge

Librarians build libraries that are the store houses of the collected knowledge of humanity. Connecting past knowledge with current situations create new knowledge. In Genesis we have the first example of cataloging and organizing knowledge. In the story of creation God created the universe, separated the light from the darkness and separated the waters and formed dry land. This is the first act of organizing the world. Organization of data is the essence of cataloging. Creation created data; organizing the pieces of the universe created the order that we know as the world.
© 2001 by Daniel D. Stuhlman

A longer form of this article can be found at my web site: home.earthlink.net/~ddstuhlman.index.html

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Last revised Sept. 6, 2001   For permission to reprint please contact the editor.