Remember the Past, Transform the Future

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education CenterThis morning, 40 librarians joined RLA CE Committee members for our annual fall field trip. This year, the group toured the recently opened Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, located in Skokie, IL. Besides being quite an impressive facility, the museum contains an incredible collection of artifacts, artwork, videos, and other materials that combine to remind visitors of the Holocaust and urge people to act against genocide today.

The group started with a tour of the Karkomi Permanent Exhibition led by some very well-informed docents. According to the museum’s website:

The Zev and Shifra Karkomi Permanent Exhibition tells the story of the Holocaust, from pre-war German life through ghetto life and concentration camps to eventual liberation and resettlement throughout the world, with a special focus on post-war life in Israel and Skokie. More than 500 artifacts, documents and photographs help illustrate the narrative of the Holocaust while testimonies from local survivors add personal detail.

After touring the exhibition, the group visited the Brill Resource Center and met with head librarian Matthew Sackel, who knows 5 different languages! Sackel gave us a glimpse of what life is like for a solo special librarian. He spoke about the process of getting the library up and running, starting with large piles of books stacked up on the floor to cataloging the mostly donated collection and choosing an ILS. With the help of a large group of volunteers, the library’s collection now includes up to 13,000 items, all of which are searchable through the library’s online catalog. Sackel also mentioned that he will soon add the library’s records to OCLC. Although the library does not allow materials to be circulated, there is a beautiful reading room and 16 computers to allow people to take full advantage of the library’s resources during open hours. Access to the library is free and open to the public (12 years or older unless supervised by an adult). To learn more about the Brill Resource Center, check out this Pioneer Press article.

Did you join us for this field trip? Please share your thoughts and impressions by leaving a comment below.


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