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Underused synagogue libraries speak volume

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Many of their own congregants may not realize it, but Cleveland’s synagogues that have their own religious schools contain more than sanctuaries, social halls and classrooms. Many also boast libraries containing an astonishing wealth of material. Filling their shelves are the newest fiction and nonfiction, updated Jewish research collections, current periodicals and newspapers, and a substantial audiovisual collection.

Despite this “treasure-trove of material,” as B’nai Jeshurun Congregation librarian Dr. R. Raphael Simon calls it, synagogue libraries across the board are underused by their congregants and community members. “Our library usage is just adequate – there is plenty of room for more people to access our material and the hidden gems we have,” Simon said.

Archiving America: Ken Burns

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“We’re so excited to be here at ALA and share with our peeps the most important work we’ve done,” said Ken Burns when I finally made my way into his busy schedule at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Washington in 2007. It had been especially important to me that Burns speak that year because his latest documentary film, The War, was about to be released and we could preview it at the conference. His reputation as America’s finest documentary filmmaker had already been established with films such as Baseball, Jazz, and Unforgivable Blackness, which had aired on public television. It was, however, the research, as opposed to the final product, that intrigued me. Burns would surely have much to say about the reading and research inthe libraries and archives that preceded the production of these great films.

A Sense of Our Future

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A political commentator for ABC News and senior news analyst for National Public Radio, Cokie Roberts, along with Sam Donaldson, co-anchored the ABC interview program This Week from 1996 to 2002. With her husband Steven V. Roberts, she writes a syndicated weekly column that appears in newspapers around the country. She and her husband also coauthored From This Day Forward, an account of their decades-long marriage (now more than 40 years) and other marriages in American history. Cokie Roberts is also the author of the best-sellers Founding Mothers and its companion volume Ladies of Liberty. In 2008 HarperCollins published We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters, a 10th-anniversary edition of Roberts’s New York Times best-seller.

Georgetown Library & Job Center@Delaware Libraries

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The Georgetown Public Library was established by the New Century Club, a women’s social and service organization, in 1899. The library was housed in a separate room in the New Century Club meeting house in 1926.  Eventually the entire clubhouse was deeded to the library and served as the library building until August of 2010 when the new 29,400 square foot library facility was opened. The Georgetown Public Library is an independently governed library that shares a library system and catalog with all the other public libraries in Delaware.  One library card for the whole state allows patrons to borrow materials from all the public libraries in Delaware.  Sussex County, the State of Delaware Division of Libraries, and donations provide support for the operation of the library. The library was incorporated in the State of Delaware as a non-profit Section 501 (c) (3) corporation on December 3, 1990.

Students hear from musician about the importance of libraries

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Several students at Central Cabarrus High School said that when they attended an event about libraries at the school on Friday, they did not expect a musician to be the speaker.

Beaux Foy, lead singer of the band Airiel Down, is this year’s spokesman for the State Library of North Carolina’s Smartest Card campaign. He visited the school on Friday to talk about the resources libraries offer and encourage students to get a library card or use theirs more often.

The presentation began with a commercial about the campaign, starring Foy.

Take Me to Your Reader

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“There are two important things about spending this day with librarians,” said Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 1998 during a whirlwind tour of Alabama one year into his library philanthropy. “One is for me to learn from them how the process is going and what we can do to help out more and to see the physical environment.” The other “is to celebrate the great work they’ve done in making this happen. Our grant is an impetus, it’s a catalyst, but these librarians hold their communities together and get them enthused about this, about having it be very high-visibility.”

From Hoops to Ink: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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“Going to the library helped me understand how big the world was and the incredible amount of possibilities that you had for your life.”

During an interview at the American Library Association’s 2008 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told me, “I’ve been an avid reader my whole life and spent a lot of time in the library when I was a kid. It’s nice to be associated with an organization like ALA.”

Oak Park Public Library Transgender Resource Collection

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Oak Park Public Library (OPPL) undertook an extensive collection evaluation project in 2005, which included looking at diversity in the collection.  This effort ultimately led to the creation of the first focused transgender resource collection in a public library in the United States. “Transgender” is an umbrella term that applies to people whose identity or behavior falls outside stereotypical gender expectations. It refers to many types of people, including transsexuals and crossdressers. Transgender people often face widespread and even socially-condoned discrimination, harassment, and violence.

Kamishibai at Trinity School Library

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Trinity School, located in Menlo Park, California, is home to the Trinity School Library, an incredible resource with over 13,000 volumes of books and media. The School is “passionate about its library and providing students with a love for books as well as the ability to access, evaluate, and use information in the course of their projects and individual pursuits.”

Rebecca Zeren, Trinity School’s librarian, is an expert on Japanese and Korean children's literature. Four years ago, she introduced Kamishibai, a traditional Japanese storytelling technique, into her storytelling repertoire and has been entertaining and inspiring students with it ever since.