Saranit Goes to Washington

NEAJL

Sara with Jim Rosenbloom of Brandeis’ Goldfarb Library. Part of NEAJL chapter represented at the conference

The 2015 conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries was number 50 for the organization, and I was happy to be a part of it! Our sessions included lectures by unique authors and children’s illustrators, subject experts from research institutions, and workshops on unique topics.

Dr. Monika Schreiber from the Judaica Library at the University of Vienna spoke on a panel about a special reparations project she is working on. She and her colleagues at the library have been performing autopsies on thousands of books that are suspected to have been looted by the Nazis in World War II, searching for clues to the identity of the rightful owners.

Panel Members

Left to right: Moderator Lyudmila Sholokhova, Olga Potap, Dr. Monika Schreiber, and Ellen Cassedy

Through this program, they have successfully found many such victims and their descendants, reuniting them with their families’ stolen collections.

I also enjoyed learning about the projects protecting the history of Jewish communities in previously settled areas of South Africa, Cape Verde, and Sudan, as well as the library programs helping the Jewish population of Argentina thrive today.

Library of Congress

Sara stretching the limits of the young readers section, Library of Congress

We explored Washington DC in the context of library and information science, thanks to our gracious hosts at the Library of Congress and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I was able to speak with a rare book curator at the museum to get some ideas for preserving and cataloging older items in our new special collection at Temple Israel. They have an amazing collection of literature, archives, and reference material that together tell the stories of genocide victims worldwide.

I am thrilled to finally put faces to some of the librarians I have been communicating with online. I shared stories with librarians of many backgrounds, who are accomplishing amazing things in their everyday work lives. This conference was a wonderful experience, and I look forward to participating next year for 51.

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September Doorpost Column

Hello Library Lovers!

We have been busy in the library readying it for the start of school and the holidays. We appreciate all of the generous library fund donations we have been receiving, letting us start a new and exciting project!

Many of you have expressed how much you love our library, but did you know that we at Temple Israel have the most extensive Jewish interest and Judaica collection in Northern New England? I am constantly exploring ways to make these materials more accessible to you and the Jewish community at large, and am currently changing the call numbers in the children’s area to reflect the content in a more efficient way.

For example, as the project progresses, a book that was once “j244.53 Cohen” will now be “J Pesach Cohen” and will be color coded by category for easy finding.

Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim: "J Pesach Cohen"

Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim: “J Pesach Cohen”

In future weeks, I will also be changing the adult and young adult fiction to FIC and the biographies to BIO. I am hoping that these new call numbers will help you all find exactly what you want when you want it! We will also be installing clearly labeled signs that point you to the right section.

Please stop by in the meantime– we have many new books, movies, and music for your pleasure. The book sale will be going on in the schmooze during the month of September, so please buy some books to further show your undying support of the library.

L’Shana Tova!

Sara Lesley Arnold

Nancy Mae Shaines Library

Summer @ the library

Library Committee with Rabbi and Wife

Library Committee and Special Guests; Left to Right: Al Spaien, Elissa Senter, Rabbi Senter, Allison, Meryl Wein, Sara Lesley Arnold

We had great feedback from some of the attendees of the Book Thief screening and discussion with Rabbi David Senter that took place on July 17th. Some members of the group had either read the book or seen the movie previously, so the discussion included valuable input from many perspectives. The consensus seemed to be that even though the general idea of Death as a narrator is morbid, that element lets the viewer take the role of a similarly helpless onlooker, seeing as objectively as possible the characters build relationships and come of age.

With an audience comprised mostly of Jews, we discussed the generalities commonly associated with holocaust survivors, bridging those experiences to those of the main character of Liesel Meminger, a non-Jewish German girl who experiences her own horrific tragedies.

Viewers agreed that although the film depicts such a tragic time in world history, it provides a reminder of the humanity that can shine through a blanket of darkness.

I must say, it was wonderful to watch the film in a room of engaged viewers, after watching it on my own the first time. Geoffrey Rush and the other actors give amazing performances; the filmmakers really do a tremendous job transmitting the biblio-centric world of the novel into a new medium, allowing the audience to take part in the story and fall in love with the literature.

We have a few thoughts about additional programming this coming year and will keep you informed as events are scheduled. We are currently planning new religious school programs and will have our annual book sale going on in the Schmooze beginning September 7th for the start of school.