The Stettenheim Library: A Grand Reopening

By Erica Slutsky | Communications Manager

During the long shutdown of the pandemic, Congregation Emanu-El’s Stettenheim Library had to adapt to completely new circumstances. Yet, throughout this change, the library has found new ways to grow.

Under the leadership of Marjorie Shuster, “We added a diversity of new fiction and nonfiction titles to the holdings, and our Axis 360 dedicated ebook site took off, providing access to books for members isolated at home and out-of-town,” she said. The site now provides over 600 books to members with Katie Couric’s memoir Going There, The New York Times’ 1619 Project, Conversations with RBG by Jeffrey Rosen, and Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart being the runaway favorites of this past year. The addition of the Flipster magazine app to its electronic offerings, brings the latest magazines to temple members.” The library also publishes a biweekly newsletter with recommendations for the best in new literature, book club suggestions, and author biographies.

But Marjorie, who’s the coordinator of literary events, went well beyond feeding our members’ hunger to read. She worked with publishers to help program book events for both the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center and the Bernard Museum.

The Women on the Move virtual book series drew thousands of viewers from across the country and around the world with 30 weekly sessions featuring bestselling authors, including Joyce Carol Oates, Francine Prose, Ann Patchett, Kristin Hannah, Laura Lippman, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Jennifer Weiner.

As it reopens, the library has big plans to bring reading to every corner of the temple by working on reading groups with Women’s Auxiliary, Men’s Club, Club 65, and the Religious and Nursery Schools. Book carts in the lobby will be filled again with the latest bestsellers. Women on the Move will continue bringing thousands of readers to Temple Emanu-El online. And the Streicker Center will host events, including Ali Wentworth in conversation with Brooke Shields; Dan Abrams talking about his new biography of Martin Luther King’s first defense attorney; and delicious in-person and virtual evenings with chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and the TikTok culinary sensation Eitan Bernath.

With so many opportunities, Marjorie has just one message for our members: Keep reading, keep thinking, keep engaging. That way, you’ll never grow old.

This article was originally published in Volume 93, Issue 1 of the Temple Bulletin, January 2022.

Join us on Tuesday, May 24 for Fred D. Gray in conversation with bestselling author Dan AbramsClick here for more information.