For immediate release | March 22, 2011

ALA announces 108 sites to host traveling exhibitions celebrating great Jewish artists

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office announced that 108 libraries and other community centers would receive one of three new traveling exhibits focusing on Jewish artists who have contributed to the culture of America and the world through their lives and work. To view the list of selected libraries, visit

The selected libraries will host a traveling exhibition for a six-week period between May 2011 and February 2012 and receive programming and technical support from the ALA Public Programs Office. Participating sites will present at least two free public programs for adults on themes related to the exhibitions. All showings of the exhibition will be free and open to the public.

The three exhibits were developed by Nextbook, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Jewish literature, culture, and ideas, and the ALA Public Programs Office. The national tours of the exhibits have been made possible by grants from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, the David Berg Foundation and an anonymous donor, with additional support from Tablet Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life.

The exhibits will address the life and work of notable Jewish artists through three themes:

  1. In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak

    Based on a major retrospective exhibition created by the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia, this exhibit reveals the push and pull of New and Old Worlds in Sendak’s work and shows how Sendak’s artistic journey has led him deeper into his own family’s history and his Jewish identity.
  2. Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience

    In this exhibit, a vital woman is brought to life in all her fascinating complexity. Viewers see Lazarus's place in history as a poet, an activist and a prophet of the world we live in today. The exhibit traces her life, intellectual development, work and lasting influence.
  3. A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910-1965

    Illustrated with colorful posters from Broadway shows and photographs of composers, singers and the casts of hit musicals and films, this exhibit highlights the lives and works of Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern and a host of other Jewish songwriters who wove the American songbook deep into the fabric of American culture.

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, Live! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit