While meetings took place this afternoon, the Jewish Publication Society sponsored a reception for Dr. Ellen Frankel (who later delivered the keynote address at the Sunday night dinner).
Later, as we all enjoyed dinner and were welcomed by AJL President, Laurel Wolfson and Mark Weber (Dean of Libraries,Kent State University) provided an introduction for our speaker. Dr. Ellen Frankel followed with the address on the topic: How the People of the Book Became the People of the Book Business: A History of Jewish Publishing in America.
Dr. Frankel provided details of the rich history of the Jewish Publication Society. Focusing on the impact of Isaac Leeser, with his call for the creation of a Jewish publication society that would promote religious heritage and unity. The JPS would serve as a unifying tie that would bring together both the intellectual and moral worth by producing interactions between different subscribers (a subscription would cost $1 and would provide copies of every book published by the Society for that fee). People would unite into a society to print and circulate books, as well as enable growth of Judaism in America, with other goals of education, unification which still remain at the core. The Society sought to be far reaching and encouraged the democratization of Judaism- and much of this is in the hands of librarians, who must show this to the greater community.
Dr. Frankel continued by highlighting the technological advances that JPS is employing. The Society does not shy away from this change, but rather is embracing this change and chance to further the education and discussion of Judaism.
JPS has embarked on a new project called Yavnet, an online collaborative which will categorize the Tanach, by tagging the Tanach. The pilot site of Yavnet is now available and the prototype should be available in early 2009.