Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Targum or Targum Publishing

On AUTOCAT a cataloger was puzzled by the heading

Bible. O.T. Psalms. Aramaic. Targum.

“Targum” is the Hebrew for “translation,” but when referring to the Tanakh it is used for an Aramaic translation. In this heading "targum" is noted as the name of the version. There are a couple of targumim around, Onkelos, Jonathan and Pseudo-Jonathan, but Psalms only has one “Targum” and it is not attributed to any particular author. It seems repetitious to have both "Aramaic" and” Targum."

Targum Onkelos on the Torah is the official, authoritative Aramaic translation. The Aramaic translation of Psalms is partly allegorical and partly literal. It was probably written by more than one person in the time of the Roman Empire.

Similar LCSH headings are:

Bible. O.T. Deuteronomy. Aramaic. Onkelos.
Targum sheni.
Bible. O.T. Former Prophets. Aramaic. Targum Jonathan
Bible. O.T. Genesis. Aramaic. Onkelos.
Bible. O.T. Isaiah. Aramaic

Not used are:

Bible. O.T. Deuteronomy. Aramaic. Targum Onkelos
Bible. O.T. Esther. Aramaic. Targum sheni
Isaiah Targum

However, since I did not see the book that the cataloger had there is another possibility. The heading is created with the “Bible” as the collective name of the work followed by the name of the book. Thirdly is the language of the translation followed by the version. If I wrote an English translation of Psalms a possible heading is: Bible. O.T. Psalms. English. Stuhlman. If the publisher is more prominent than the individual translator the version would be the name of the publisher.

The daily student newspaper at Rutgers University, The Daily Targum was founded in 1869. The name of their publisher is Targum Publishing. If they published the work that the AUTOCATer had in hand, then the heading would be perfectly reasonable as “Targum” would be a version.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fun with employment ads

I sometimes wonder who writes the amusing ads that Jay Leno has on his Tonight Show. However, even in the library field ads are written without paying attention to the ambiguity of the English language. Recently I discussed some of the amusing features of the following ads. I have removed the identifiable features of these ads to protect the guilty and edited them to better amuse you.

I should start with a well worded ad --
Librarian for Young Adult (YA) Services
AR Memorial Library

We are looking for a dynamic person to be the advocate for teens in our library. Provides reference, outreach, and readers’ advisory services to teens.

The poorly written ad.
Teen Librarian
ST District Library
The Teen Librarian is responsible for providing reference assistance to patrons in the library's fiction collection and is responsible for answering staff and patron teen questions. The ability to read write, speak, and comprehend English. Ability to read computer screens, type, and move about the public service area.

Both positions require an MLS, but tell me where are you going to find a teenager with a masters degree? Are there patrons lost in the fiction shelves? Do they want someone who can both type and move about at the same time? Do they provide special keyboards to do that? My daughter does have English language ability that exceed the norm for her age, but is that enough for the job? I've seen college graduates (some with advanced degrees) who can't write a coherent sentence.

My all time favorite computer related ad was from a company that wanted five years experience running an IBM AS 400 computer system that IBM only started selling a month earlier.

=== Note from Aug. 11--
I did find some teenagers with masters degrees. One of my neighbors reported that some girls in Brooklyn earned college credit as high school students and were able to earn a masters degree before their 20th birthday. However, I don't think any of them attended an ALA accredited library school.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What is work?

A couple of weeks ago I had to fill out an application that asked for average number of hours worked per week. I thought the request was odd to ask of a professional. In some ways line between my hours of work and not work is fuzzy. Even when I was in college there were times I could not differentiate between working, preparation and studying. Just to make sure that I was not totally on my own in this question over Shabbat I asked a teacher how many hours a teacher works per week. He answered that it is hard to tell. Teachers need to make preparations outside of class. There is no end to the preparation and study. Even though as the years go by the preparation for any given subject may be reduced or be less intense, preparation is still part of the job. When a teacher has vacation, they continue to think and learn.

In halaha we have an exact definition of work that is forbidden on Shabbat and holidays. In physics we have a definition of work. Many kinds of work as defined in physics are allowed on Shabbat and many aspect of forbidden Shabbat work are not work in the rules of physics. If an employee keeps track of hours for the purpose of getting paid, they one can calculate the average number of weekly hours. If the amount of work never ends, then how do you answer the question of hours worked? If I grant that one can not work every hour in week, how is work defined? Is reading a book for pleasure work for a librarian? Is down time for sleep part of preparation? If your machines are working for you, are you working? If your investments are earning a return are you working? If one preparation hour can be used for two or more paid jobs, how many hours do you credit for that work? One can easily say they work more than 168 hours per week if they consider sleep as preparation and every hour their machines work is credited to more than one paid job.

So -- What is the definition of work as applicable to employment history?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Urge to Yell!

I spend a lot of time teaching future librarians and trying to promote the idea that librarians are skilled professionals. Compared to computer programmers and analysts, new librarians know about information and how information is used. Librarians also have a greater depth to their knowledge of technology. So-- why do computer programmers get paid more?

Two incidents happened this week that make me want to yell. I will hide the names to protect the innocent.

On Wednesday I wanted to get away from my study and computer to read in preparation for a class. No more than 10 minutes after I left the study and computer I get a phone call. It was fellow librarian, MJ, asking if I knew the phone number of a person in our group. The MJ said the number wasn't listed. First, I did not know the number. Even if I did based on our last meeting I would have been hesitate to share this person's number. I asked MJ to check switchboard.com or 411.com. MJ indicated that she did not know of these services and asked how to spell them. OK, I spelled s-w-i-t-c-h-b-o-a-r-d dot c-o-m. MJ said thank you and I went back to my reading. 15 minutes later MJ called and said that she still couldn't find the number. I told MJ that I was not near my computer. I told her where this person worked and told her to call the office. MJ begged me to look up the office number. Reluctantly, I did. I asked if she had experienced trouble with switchboard.com. MJ replied, oh no. I don't use the computer, I leave that to my husband.

Luckily for us -- MJ retired from working in a library.

Second --
I came across an advertisement for a synagogue librarian that included:

Requirements: Responsibilities include: •Selecting books for acquisition •Maintaining periodicals, as well as general catalogue •Proficiency in managing circulation. •Coordinate library activities and programs with Rabbis, Gan Shalom pre-school, youth and adult education departments.

Qualifications include: •Interest in Jewish education and issues •Some library experience and skills •Part-time availability- includes Sunday mornings, as well as one full weekday.

Salary: $12- $15 an hour

I sent this to other librarians in our group with a comment that the salary is pretty low. Comments came back such as:

that's about what ABC Temple, in [city deleted], IL, used to pay its librarian, until they decided they could no longer afford one at all."

"Not surprising, since they aren't looking for a professional librarian."

"....the job requirements do not match the qualifications."

" I have been getting only $15/hour for about 10 years even though I have an MLS."

Librarians who work in schools should be on the same pay scale as teachers. This how the public schools calculate compensation. Teachers can start with a BA and no experience in Chicago public schools in the mid $40's. With a masters degree and experience they get more.

The urge to yell subsided when I shared the story and we all had a good laugh.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Web page updates

I updated one of my web pages to include the sunrise and sundown times for Chicago. Try it out at:

The JLN Newsletter web page was updated for the new president of the chapter.
JLN Newsletter

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Visit to JTS Library --> Corrections

Today I heard from three librarians who had corrections for my Librarian's Lobby column of July. They each had corrections to the article. No one outside of the JTS would even know about the errors. One was in the caption to a photo. I mentioned that the staircase was closed. It is not. I fixed the mistake in identifying people. Since I didn't mention names, no one outside of the library would notice.

However, no one noticed a word that I misspelled in the first line. It was in Hebrew and I guess the spell checker couldn't help me.

The article has been corrected and I hope everyone is happy. I am just flattered that someone reads what I wrote and took the time to help me fix it.

The corrected column may be downloaded from:

I received a request to review the online bibliographies of Hebrew books, but I am not able to do it because I do not have access to them. I am looking for ideas for new columns. Please send me your ideas and questions concerning libraries and Jewish books.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

JLN Press Release

Text Box: Local participants included:  From the left: Cheryl Banks of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El (retired),  Marcie Eskin of the Board of Jewish Education and Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah, Rose Novil of Oakton Community College, Rachel Kamin of Des Plaines Public Library, Debbie Colodny of Cook Memorial Public Library and Sefer So Good,  Donna Stewart of Temple Chai, Joy Kingsolver of Spertus Institute. Seating in front Shoshanah Seidman of Northwestern University, and Judy Weintraub (retired).  Missing from picture: Debbie Feder of Ida Crown Jewish Academy.

From : Judaica Library Network Of Metropolitan Chicago

Date: July 2, 2008

Contact: Daniel Stuhlman

Chicago Area Librarians Attend Annual Professional Conferences

The Judaica Library Network of Metropolitan Chicago (JLN), an organization of over 50 local librarians, had 10 members attend the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) annual convention held in Cleveland, OH June 22-25, 2008. The convention’s theme was: Jewish Libraries: Tradition, Text & Technology. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Ellen Frankel, editor-in-chief and CEO of the Jewish Publication Society. Her topic was: “How the People of the Book Became the People of the Book Business: A History of Jewish Publishing in America.” Dr. Frankel examined the rich history of the Jewish Publication Society and how it promoted Jewish history, culture and religion in English.

The 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Awards for children’s books were presented by Rachel Kamin, outgoing chair of the award committee, to: Sarah Gershman and Kristina Swarner for The Bedtime Sh'ma, Sid Flesichman for The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, and Sonia Levitin for Strange Relations. The ceremony also recognized other notable books and continued with a special celebration of Jewish children's literature in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Awards.

The Research and Special Libraries division (RAS) had sessions on the digitization of archival collections, changing the Jewish National and University Library to the National Library of Israel, the history of Yeshiva University Libraries, and the role of printed ephemera in special collections.

Chicago area Judaica librarians have been participating in AJL for over 33 years. The national association's annual convention last met in Chicago in 1995 and JLN will host the convention in July 2009.

This international gathering of Judaica librarians included specialists from academic, school, research, community center and synagogue/temple libraries. It is a wonderful opportunity for professional development and networking with other Judaica librarians.

In addition, librarians attended other educational and training conferences to help them in their work. Rena Citrin, of Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, will be attending with other area teachers a two week seminar in Israel. We at JLN are proud of our members' dedication to their profession and to their libraries.

The officers for 2008-09 are: President: Debbie Feder; Vice-President/President-elect: Rochelle Elstein; Treasurer: Susan Bayer: Recording Secretary; Rena Citrin; Corresponding Secretary: Joy Kingsolver.

For more information about the Association of Jewish Libraries, visit www.jewishlibraries.org or locally the Judaica Library Network of Metropolitan Chicago