Pikesville Library awarded grant to support Jewish literature program

$1,500 will aid in forming book club, conduct series

February 28, 2005|By Andrew G. Sherwood | Andrew G. Sherwood,SUN STAFF

The Pikesville Library is launching a program next month to increase awareness of Jewish literature.

The library is forming a Jewish literature book club and conducting a series of discussions on the theme of "A Mind of Her Own: Fathers and Daughters in a Changing World."

A $1,500 grant from the American Library Association is being used to support the program. The grant is part of an ALA program, "Let's Talk About It: Jewish Literature - Identity and Imagination," a reading and discussion series led by local scholars.

Pikesville Library is one of 200 libraries nationwide receiving the grants. The county library system also lists Nextbook, a nonprofit organization that promotes Jewish literature, as a sponsor of the program.

Participating libraries plan the discussion groups, which take place every two to four weeks, and are responsible for recruiting a scholar to lead the discussion.

Pamela Brown, branch manager for the Pikesville Library, said the grant was originally sought by Yvonne Lev, associate director for collection management and special projects at Towson University's Albert S. Cook Library.

When Lev heard about the grant program from the ALA, she thought it would be a good way to increase reading of Jewish literature at Towson University. But she then realized it was intended for a public library, and Pikesville emerged as the location for the program.

Brown was skeptical at first, but when Lev said Towson University would supply the expert, Evelyn Avery, Brown agreed to conduct the program. Avery is a professor of English literature and director of the Jewish Studies program at Towson University.

Brown predicts that Pikesville's Jewish community "will come out in numbers" for the literature program. An organization and recruitment meeting will be held at 2 p.m. March 13 at the library, 1301 Reisterstown Road. The meeting will include Kosher foods and a viewing of the movie Hester Street.

On March 30 the first of five books, Tevye the Dairyman by Sholem Aleichem, will be discussed by Avery.

Additional books will be discussed every two weeks. Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska will be discussed on April 13; 1185 Park Avenue by Anne Roiphe on May 4; Bee Season by Myla Goldberg on May 18; and American Pastoral by Philip Roth on June 1.

The program is free, but registration is required. Call Towson University at 410-704-2452 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to register and to receive a list of discussion questions.

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