Winter 2001 Adar 5761

From the editor's desk

I learned from a question on Ha-Safran the importance of carefully asking a question and trying to figure out what the questioner really wants to know. The questioner wanted to know the differences between Nusah (prayer versions) Sephard, Sephardi, and Hassidic nusah. I thought that the questioner was curious about prayer and how the different arrangements of the prayers originated. Well I was wrong. The questioner wanted to know about how to differentiate in Library of Congress Subject Headings between the different varieties of siddurim (prayer books).

The cataloging of liturgy has many interesting challenges. The works may have editors, but authorship is diverse. Siddurim are used every time we pray; we read the same prayers, however, most library books are read once. Libraries collect siddurim for the purpose of study, but sometimes publishers make the task of cataloging difficult.

Books that are difficult to obtain or in fragile condition deserve to be saved. Chaim Rosenberg, of Brooklyn, created a CD Rom and a web site ( to save Halakhic and Homiletic texts written by distinguished Rabanim who served commonities across the United States from 1890 to 1960. He asks that the reader use the works and give recognition to the authors. The collection is a personal selection and is in no way comprehensive. His first CD has 60 seforim in PDF (portable document format) format. The text is fully readable and printable. He does not charge for his services, but does ask for a donation to cover his costs.

Please send news, information, ideas, or articles for future newsletters to :

Daniel "Donnie" Stuhlman, editor
Chicago, IL 60645
E-mail :
Web site:

Contents of this issue

From the editor's desk
Minutes of the Fall Meeting
Minutes of the Winter Meeting
Etz Chaim of DuPage Library, by Ellen Mandel
Authority Control in Libraries, by Daniel D. Stuhlman
Purim Torah  Top Ten ways to turn library into a Profit Center
Library Lines, by Marcie Eskin

Web site for previous issues:\~/ddstuhlman\jln-home.htm

November 9, 2000

President Eva Eisenstein called the business meeting to order at 10:50 a.m. Eva welcomed the members and thanked Shoshanah Seidman and Mrs. Irmgard H. Rosenberger for hosting the meeting at the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library.

The minutes of the July 19, 2000 meeting were distributed and approved with minor changes.

The Treasurer's Report dated November 9, 2000 was distributed. The treasury currently has $1,190.30, including dues paid by 23 members. June expenditures included $300 each to Eva Eisenstein and Margaret Burka to assist with Convention expenses. Treasurer Judy Kupchan will have a list of names and addresses for all paid-up members available at the next meeting.

Dates have been set for the Winter and Spring meetings. The Winter meeting will be held on Sunday, January 28, 2001, in Naperville. The tentative topic for the meeting is What Do You Want From Your Chapter? Eva requested that any other suggestions for topics be submitted to her. The Spring meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, May 10, 2001, at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Emet in Evanston.

Old Business: Shoshanah Seidman raised the question of whether the Network should revive the idea of sponsoring a regional conference. No decision was made.

New Business: Eva raised the issue of pay-ment of dues by individuals vs. institutions. She noted that there are no guidelines, and wondered whether some should be estab-lished and put into our Constitution. Several ideas were discussed. Eva asked that people with strong feelings call or e-mail her with suggestions to be discussed at a future meeting.

The business meeting concluded at 11:00 a.m., and was followed by a very interesting education meeting. Alice Schreyer, Curator of Special Collections at the Regenstein Library, introduced the Library's Special Collections, with a focus on the Rosenberger Collection. Judith Nadler, Assistant Librarian for Technical Services, and Mrs. Rosenberger contributed to the presentation.

Respectfully submitted,
Marcie Eskin, Recording Secretary
January 8, 2001

Minutes of the Winter Meeting
January 28, 2001

by Marcie Eskin and Eva Eisenstein

President Eva Eisenstein called the business meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. Eva welcomed the members and thanked Gerry Mendelsohn, Paulette Goodman, and Adrienne Golinkin of Congregation Beth Shalom, Naperville, for hosting the meeting. Nine members attended the meeting.

The minutes of the November 9, 2000, meeting were distributed and approved. A list of current members was also distributed.

The Spring meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, May 10, 2001, at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Emet in Evanston. Cheryl Banks will discuss the Best Jewish Children's Holiday Books and will provide a bibliography. She will likely talk about Holocaust books and children, a topic that has recently generated much discussion on HaSafran.

Old Business: Serious discussion was devoted to the idea of sponsoring a 1-1½ day Midwest Conference, especially since it is unlikely that there will be a National confer-ence in the summer of 2002. Shoshanah Seidman volunteered to take the lead, and Paulette Goodman will assist. Shoshanah will check with Spertus about dates in June 16 or 23, 2002. Robbin Katzin will help with home hospitality. Shoshanah asked that members e-mail her with program ideas for synagogue, school, and academic libraries. Some topics raised were automation, accreditation, cata-loging, acquisitions, author talks, storytellers, and remodeling your library. Shoshanah will contact other Midwest representatives. A registration fee of $50 was suggested.

New Business: The National Convention will be held June 24-27, 2001, in San Diego. The deadline for applying for a National new member subsidy is March 1. Eva will send out a mailing about JLNMC subsidies.

The business meeting was followed by an education meeting ­ Forum on JLNMC: Past and Future. Eva distributed copies of our constitution. Robbin gave a brief history of the chapter. The Network was founded in 1980, under the leadership of Richard Marcus, then director of the Asher Library at Spertus College. The purpose of the Network was (and is) to provide guidance in library administration issues, creation of biblio-graphies, interlibrary loan, and duplicate exchanges. (Thanks to Shirley Fish, a founding member, for some details.) Some twenty years later, we are still here, providing most of these functions.

Eva Eisenstein compared our group to a hospital library consortium in the Chicago metro area to highlight our challenges to put our experience in perspective. Our Network is a very heterogeneous institutional group (school, synagogue, association, academic) with varying goals; and we are very heterogeneous librarian group - we are not all full-time, paid, with benefits, degreed librarians (in fact, many of our libraries are managed by dedicated volunteers). Despite these challenges, we are a viable, active group looking toward the future.

Eva noted that the national organization has a new interest in reviving the local chapters, and she gave some examples of what others chapters are doing. There was a discussion about what we want from our chapter. Most members agreed that the chapter's purpose is to further the exchange of ideas and to share experiences. The members from Congregation Beth Shalom, who have a small library that is just beginning to be organized, also look to the Network as a vehicle for gaining support from their synagogue. Paulette Goodman raised the idea of marketing the Network both within our institutions and the larger community. She will explore getting some media exposure (e.g., an article in the local newspapers such as Daily Herald and Pioneer Press, Chicago Jewish News, and JUF News). Another idea raised was sponsoring some Jewish event (the Detroit suburbs' Book Fair was given as an example). Some members stated that community out-reach and exposure was not a priority for them. Instead, we should focus on providing programming that will attract the interest and meet the needs of our members.

Respectfully submitted,
Marcie Eskin, Recording Secretary February 14, 2001

Library of Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County
by Ellen Mandel, librarian

Congregation Etz Chaim, the only Reform synagogue in DuPage County was founded in 1960 as Tree Towns Congregation. Its members, hailing from what were then the far western reaches of the metropolitan Chicago area, met in various churches in and around Elmhurst, Illinois. By 1972, Tree Towns had become Congregation Etz Chaim and Rabbi Jay Sangerman was hired as full-time spiritual leader. In 1973, Etz Chaim acquired a Methodist church, transforming that building into its current home at 1710 South Highland Avenue in Lombard, Illinois, thirty miles due west of the loop.

Rabbi Steven Bob has served Etz Chaim for the past twenty years. During this time, the synagogue's membership has grown to include 550 families from 52 different communities within Du Page County and the surrounding area. This past year, Rabbi Bob was joined by assistant rabbi Marla Joy Subeck Spanjer. The congregation's religious school has 500 students currently enrolled and is overseen by Anne Stein, a full-time religion educator.

The addition of a social hall and classroom wing to the original building helped accommodate the congregation's growth until the late 1990's when a complete renovation and addition to the existing space was under-taken.

Validating Judaism's reputation as "a people of the book," Etz Chaim's library is centrally located in the new building. The Jeremy Jacob Bruder Memorial Library is an expansive, sunlit room that welcomes visitors at all times. However, it is staffed only on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, when Hebrew school is in session. The library circulation operates on a simple honor system. Congregants sign their names on the item's charge card. The library staff of approximately twelve volunteers process materials, make overdue calls, work the circulation desk, and maintain the collection. It is the library's good fortune that for the past twelve years, the purchasing and cataloging of materials, and the transition to a computerized catalog have been overseen by members who are professional librarians volunteering their time and expertise. In addition to small periodicals and reference sections and a selection of audio-tapes and CDs, the library holds approximately 1700 books for adults and a growing collection of video titles.

The children's collection of approximately 1100 titles is a special source of pride. Love seats and lounge chairs welcome parents to sit and read with their children and invite browsers to make themselves comfortable and stay a while. Large library tables provide room for committee meetings and study groups. Patrons also take advantage of the library's computers to do research using the Encyclopedia Judaica or other instructional CD ROM programs that are available. While the library supply expenses are provided for in the congregation's budget, all acquisitions for books, videos, CD-ROMs, and recordings are acquired through monetary donations to the Robert N. Glass Memorial Library Fund. As Etz Chaim celebrates its 40th anniversary, the Jeremy Jacob Bruder Memorial Library is a focal point of this outpost of Judaic leadership, scholarship and culture in the Western suburbs.

Asher Library Acquires Aleph
by Glenn Ferdman
Director, Asher Library, Spertus Institute

The Norman and Helen Asher Library of Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies recently rolled out access to its new online catalog, the Aleph 500 series, produced by Ex Libris of Israel.

The new web-based OPAC (On line Public Access Catalog) provides 24 hour per day, seven days per week access to the holdings of the Library. The initial roll out includes approximately 85% of the collection of books, videos and music. Periodical holdings, rare books and some music recordings are not yet included. About 10% of the collections of the Chicago Jewish Archives are listed in the catalog.

The system features the ability to search by author, title, subject in Hebrew and English characters and to limit searches by format. Search parameters may be combined and terms may be searched in proximity to each other. Search results may be sent via e-mail and readers may be automatically informed via e-mail when items conforming to a predetermined profile are added to the collection.

The Asher Library is Ex Libris' first Hebrew capable 500 series client, and the library partnered with the vendor for much of the Hebrew development. It is one of the few Hebrew-enabled web-based OPACs in North America. In order to search in Hebrew, Windows Explorer 5.0 with Hebrew support installed must be used. The Gottesman Library of Yeshiva University in New York, using VTLS, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (combined catalog for all their campuses), using VTLS, and Ostrow Library of University of Judaism in Los Angeles, using Innopac are other libraries that have Hebrew search ability.

The system took over a year to implement from the time the contract was signed in March 1999 to the roll out in November 2000. The cost (including hardware, software, licenses, data conversion, and training), was close to $100,000. The system allows for much customization of its features and its look and feel.

The Library could not have implemented this system as quickly and as successfully without the help of our IS director, Avi Janssen, who worked full-time on the project for several months as the systems librarian. Because the system required so much customization, Avi learned basic Unix commands and editing language (VI).

The Library staff formed a task force consisting of Kathy Bloch, Associate Director, Joy Kingsolver, Director of the Chicago Jewish Archives, Avi Janssen, Director of Information Systems, and Glenn Ferdman, Library Director, which began the search for an online catalog in February 1999, and looked at over a dozen systems. RFPs (requests for proposals) were sent to all vendors initially and the vendors were brought in for onsite demonstrations before the field was narrowed to two vendors, VTLS and Ex Libris.

Ex Libris recently established several North American offices, including the main North American office, in Chicago. The company is the by-product of the Aleph system which was originally developed at Hebrew University, and is the library automation system used by most academic and research libraries in Israel, including the Israel Union Catalog.

We wish to acknowledge the generosity of several sources, which helped defray the system cost, including the Lucius Littauer Foundation of New York, The Ralph Colton Trust, and the Illinois State Library. We are still seeking a donor for a system naming opportunity.

The catalog is accessible from the Spertus Institute home page, Click on the link for Asher Library or directly go to: Eventually, the library plans to a completely re-designed library web site. Questions about the new catalog can be directed to library director, Glenn Ferdman at: 312-322-1753, or Feedback is welcomed!

Authority Control in Libraries
by Daniel D. Stuhlman

Authority control is a process in the cataloging of library materials that insures reader can find a work no matter what form of the responsible party's name is in the book. The importance of authority work is not always obvious to library users or to librarians who are not catalogers.

In the old days before internet access to hundreds of library catalogs, we used to look up entries in the National Union Catalog. This was the way to check how Library of Congress entered the name. If the name was not found we checked the encyclopedias or reference works. If all sources failed, we established the names locally. When the names were in Hebrew, we checked the Encyclopedia Judaica, or other source to figure out how that author wrote his name in Roman letters. If we found no source, we used systematic Romanization. When the local catalog was correct, the cataloger was satisfied. One form of the name was deemed correct and the catalog had references from all possible forms of the name.

Authority work is foundation work; when done properly, it is seamless and invisible to the users. One of the strengths of a computerized system is that any form of the name typed in by the catalog user should enable the finding of all works by that person. For example if the "correct" entry is Lincoln, Abraham, then looking under Lincoln, Abe should still find the works needed.

Database maintenance insures that bibliographic records entering a database have the correct forms of name, and that new names to the file have cross references from alternate forms of the name. The daily process of database maintenance keeps the database as clean as possible. "Cleaning" means removing of duplicate records, fixing mistakes, fixing entries that have changed, maintaining authority control, correcting of incorrect non-filing indicators at beginning of certain fields, and correcting typos.

If your family and friends ask what you do, answer that you make sure that people who want Shlomo Itzhaki, Rabbi Shlomo, or Raschi always find the entry in the catalog as Rashi, 1040-1105.


Library Lines
by Marcie Eskin,
Librarian Beth Hillel, Wilmette, IL

[Editor's note: This article, reprinted with permission of the author, is from the Beth Hillel Newsletter January 2001. It is an example of library publicity. Marcie tries to include an article in every congregational newsletter as one of the ways to the promote the library, books, and reading.]

I would like to introduce you to several members of the Beth Hillel community who have written or edited books and who have generously donated copies of these works to the Library.

Carmel Chiswick is Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Business Administration. She is also the co-editor of a special volume of Contemporary Jewry, the Journal of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry. The issue contains ten articles resulting from an International Conference on the Economics of Judaism and Jewish Observance. Papers by Carmel and her husband Barry, also Professor of Economics at UIC, are included in the publication.

Anne Gendler is a Production Editor for the Great Books Foundation. This past year the GBF published The Soul of the Text: an anthology of Jewish literature. This collection includes excerpts from the Bible, medieval commentaries, Rabbinic literature, Yiddish literature, and works about the Holocaust and Israel. Each selection is followed by a number of interpretive questions for discussion.

Rabbi Aaron Mackler currently resides in Pittsburgh. He grew up in Wilmette, and his parents Hyman and Ruth are active members of Beth Hillel. The book was dedicated in their honor. Rabbi Mackler recently edited the book, Life and Death Responsibilities in Jewish Biomedical Ethics, published by the Jewish Theological Seminary. The book contains numerous articles on bioethical topics such as artificial insemination, surrogate motherhood, abortion, medical care at the end of life, organ transplants, and autopsy.

In addition to editing the book, Rabbi Mackler contributed several articles, as did former Beth Hillel Rabbi David Lincoln.

Finally, Ord Matek, father of congregant Deborah Schwartz, is the author of The Bible Through Stamps [published in 1974]. In this work, he uses stamps from all over the world as the entry to discussing various sections of the Bible.

Thank you to these talented individuals for adding their "stamp" to our Library's collection.
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Last revised May 21, 2004