Pop (Up) Goes the Jewish Library!
By ISJL Education Fellow Margo Wagner
Calling out to all synagogue libraries large and small: Are you hidden in the depths of your synagogue? Are there books just sitting on your shelves collecting decades of dust? Do you feel lonely, or even neglected lately? Or worst of all… are you non-existent in your Jewish community?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, have no fear, the pop-up library is here!
Pop-up libraries are a fun and creative way to bring interesting books front and center in your community. Inspired by the work of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, this article provides tips and tricks on how to create pop-up libraries throughout the synagogue or in your religious school classroom.
Pop-up libraries are a fun and functional way to bring Jewish books to congregants. Anyone is capable of assembling little stations of books where adults and kids alike can read or check out a book.
The first step in creating a pop-up library is picking a location within the synagogue. The library should be placed somewhere that draws attention or already has a lot of traffic. This could be an entrance way, a social hall, or the hallway of the religious school. .
After picking a location, it’s time for construction. For cost efficiency, think about using supplies from the synagogue to create the book station. The base, for example, could be an underutilized shelf or a rolling cart of some sort. Then, make sure to spice up the new space with creative supplies and decorations. One suggestion is to use bright colors to draw people’s attention and to look inviting. Students can even create fun signs that say “get your books here!” or “Pop-up Library!”. Finally, cultivate a reader-friendly environment. Place chairs or comfy beanbags around the area, so people can take a load off and read.
Showcase the Books
Last but certainly not least, collect books! Here are some suggestions for the kinds of books to display in a pop-up library.
Building pop-up libraries in the synagogue is a great way to revive the old, musty synagogue library, and a hip, helpful method to keep congregants updated on relevant Jewish events. Start up your synagogue pop-up library today!