LIBRARIES

A library is a collection of information resources, in all formats, organized and made accessible for study. The word derives from the Latin liber ("book"). The origin of libraries, keeping of written records, dates at least to the third millennium B.C.E. in Babylonia. In antiquity, Judaica collections were first mentioned in II Maccabees 2:13–14, where mention is made of a "treasury" of books established by Nehemiah (in the Temple?) that contained "books about the kings and prophets, the books of David (Psalms), and royal letters about sacred gifts." Another early library, the Dead Sea Scrolls, now comprises the remains of the library of the community living in Qumran shortly before and after the beginning of the present era. Fragments from the cairo genizah reveal the existence of both public and private libraries in the geonic period. -Early Libraries Communities, synagogues, and battei midrash were anxious to establish libraries. Libraries were found in almost every talmud torah in Italy. In the Verona talmud torah of 1650 there were rules which required a special room to be set aside for the library. Other Italian communities such as Ferrara, Reggio Emilia, Pisa, and Leghorn also had libraries, often enriched by the acquisition of private collections. The Amsterdam Sephardi community library, at their Talmud Torah school, is mentioned in 1680 by the bibliographer Shabbetai Bass in his Siftei Yeshenim. -Modern Libraries The 19th century saw the development of libraries in public institutions. They were established as communal libraries, organizational libraries, libraries attached to rabbinical seminaries, and Judaica and Hebraica collections in national, public, and major university libraries. Before the end of the 19th century the Abrabanel Library was established in Jerusalem (1884) (see J. Chasanowich ). This later developed into the jewish national and university library . COMMUNAL LIBRARIES The first of the modern Jewish communal libraries was established at Mantua at the end of the 18th century. Many communities in Germany established their own libraries. They were intended mainly for the use of teachers and young people. Libraries were found in major Jewish communities throughout Europe such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, and Breslau, as well as the communities of Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Vilna, and Zurich. Most were destroyed or disbursed during the Nazi era but many have been reestablished, particularly in Eastern Europe subsequent to the fall of Communism in the early 1990s. In the United States many libraries were established through synagogues and were designed to work closely with the synagogue religious schools and for recreational reading and studying for synagogue members. In pre-state Israel there were very few communal libraries. After the establishment of the State of Israel great advances were made. They included community libraries ranging from   the Yeshurun Synagogue Library in Jerusalem to special libraries meeting specific community needs. ORGANIZATIONAL LIBRARIES Jewish organizations on all continents have developed substantial libraries. Their holdings vary considerably according to the mission of the particular organization. In 1867, Albert Cohen, the representative in Palestine of Baron Rothschild, established a small library in Jerusalem, which was administered by Dr. London, physician in the Rothschild Hospital. Development of libraries was slow during the yishuv period and libraries were primarily the private initiative of individuals or such bodies as the histadrut . However, voluntary bodies interested in cultural work established popular reading and lending libraries, such as Jewish trade unions, Zionist and Socialist societies, women's organizations, and youth movements. Originating with the haskalah movement, organizations throughout Europe established libraries as part of their ongoing operations. With the emigration of Jews from Europe to the Northern Hemisphere, Israel, and Australia organizational libraries blossomed. In post-World War II Europe organizations such as historical societies and local museums have taken responsibility for community collections where the community is no longer significant, and in many cases, no longer exists. In Israel, organization libraries such as museum libraries, corporate libraries, and special libraries house archival and historical documents providing primary research materials. RABBINICAL SEMINARIES The first rabbinical seminary library was established at the Collegio Rabbinico Italiano, which was located first in Padua, and moved from there to Rome, Florence, and again back to Rome. The Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary library attained considerable importance as did the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary and the Hochschule (Lehranstalt) fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. With the geographic shift to and expansion of Jewish life in the U.S. major collections were established, and remain at the fore-front of Judaica libraries, at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. Yeshivah libraries were established in Israel as well. The Central Rabbinical Library, attached to Hechal Shelomo, houses important collections saved from the Holocaust. The Chabad movement established rabbinic collections in their major centers as well and serve as libraries for their seminaries and as community libraries worldwide. Jewish teachers seminaries, in Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom, have developed their own libraries. -Nazi Period The persecution of European Jewry by Nazi Germany (1933–45) brought with it the wholesale confiscation of both public and private libraries. Some of the books were moved to the Institut zur Erforschung der Judenfrage in Frankfurt on the Main. Toward the end of World War II, looted books were brought by the Nazis to central stores in southern Germany and western Czechoslovakia. When recovered after the war, mainly by a body called Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, they were returned wherever possible to the heirs of their owners; the more than 1,000,000 volumes that remained were distributed to Jewish libraries and cultural or educational organizations in Israel, America, and other parts of the Diaspora. With the fall of Communism in the early 1990s, collections of books both in complete libraries and scattered throughout the entire region of Eastern Europe became accessible again. Many books remained on site and others were disbursed and purchased by collectors and libraries primarily in the U.S., Europe, and Israel. -Jewish Sections in General Libraries NATIONAL AND PUBLIC LIBRARIES Hebraica and Judaica collections have been included in great national and municipal libraries, for the preservation of Jewish literary and scholarly treasures since antiquity. The library of Alexandria contained the Septuagint and other Judeo-Hellenistic works. Medieval monastery libraries frequently contained Hebrew, particularly Bible, codices; records of persecutions, expulsions, book burnings and confiscations filled their shelves, as well as those of episcopal and princely palaces and of medieval universities. The interest in Hebrew studies produced by the age of Reformation and Humanism led many Christian scholars such as Johann Reuchlin and J.A. Widmanstad (1506–1557) to collect Hebrew manuscripts and books. Significant collections are found throughout Europe in national, royal, monastic, and municipal libraries, particularly in countries where great Jewish traditions were found such as Spain (El Escorial), Italy (Vatican and many others), the United Kingdom (British Library), France (Bibliotheque National), Germany (Deutsches Statsbibliothek), Denmark (Royal Library), Austria (National Library), Hungary (National Library), and Russia (State Libraries in St. Petersberg and Moscow). Most notable in the U.S. is the significant Hebraica collection found in the Library of Congress; the New York Public Library and the Boston Public Library house significant collections as well. In Israel, the Sapir Public Library in Petaḥ Tikvah was established at the end of the 19th century. The Jewish National and University Library (JNUL) in Jerusalem fulfills a double function: to serve as the National Library to collect all print and non-print materials deposited in its collections on Jewish subjects to serve the general public; and to provide the university community with the required materials to support its curriculum. The JNUL houses the largest collection of Judaica and Hebraica in the world and is the center for documentation of all Judaica and Hebraica collections. Library collections are found in the Knesset, various ministries, and other governmental organizations. Public libraries in Israel are spread throughout the country and are found in most cities, towns, villages, settlements, and kibbutzim. They serve the local population primarily with Hebraica but also house local historical documents, record   books, memorial books, and archival documents related to their specific community and to European and Middle Eastern communities from which their local population emigrated. Of particular note are kibbutz memorial books documenting the lives of their deceased members. UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES University libraries in Europe have for many centuries collected Judaica and Hebraica to support their study of religion, the Judeo-Christian tradition, and humanities. Significant collections are found in major university libraries such as in the United Kingdom (Oxford University, Cambridge University, University of Manchester), in Italy (University of Bologna), the Ukraine (Vernadsky Library), and the Netherlands (Amsterdam University Library – Rosenthaliana). In the U.S. there has been a significant growth of Jewish studies programs in academic institutions, and to support the university curriculum Judaica and Hebraica collections have blossomed in major large universities. Harvard University has the most comprehensive collection of contemporary Israeli culture. Columbia and Yale universities hold significant historical collections. The University of Pennsylvania acquired a very significant Judaica library (Dropsie College) and has placed itself among the most significant collections. Stanford University and University of Michigan are actively acquiring and are developing fine collections in Jewish studies. Israeli universities house Judaica collections primarily to support the curriculum. Significant archival collections are found in all the universities. The universities are all linked through the Israel Center for Digital Information Services (MALMAD) set up in 1998 by the Israel Association of University Heads (Va'ad Rashei ha-Universita'ot) to serve as a joint framework (consortium) for the acquisition, licensing, and operation of information services to all the Israeli universities. Colleges, technical schools, and academies of art, music, and design each have significant collections related to their specialized fields. -Library Association The Association of Jewish Libraries, an international organization established in 1968, promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship. The association fosters access to information, learning, teaching, and research relating to Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience, and Israel. The association publishes a scholarly journal, Judaica Librarianship, and hosts an online discussion group called Hasafran. The Israel Library Association supports librarians and libraries in Israel. -Library Catalog Library catalogs in the modern sense were first published in the 17th century, but book lists are much older (see books ; book trade ). Some from the 12th century were found in the cairo genizah . Immanuel of Rome (13th century) mentions a catalog arranged according to subject matter. The first to introduce a systematic division according to subjects was manasseh ben israel (1604–1657). From the end of the 17th century sale catalogs began to be printed, such as those of S. Abbas and Solomon Proops, both of Amsterdam, or later the famous collection of David Oppenheimer. In modern times M. Steinschneider did pioneering work in the field of bibliography. The first scientific listing was his catalog of the Hebrew books of the Bodleian Library (1852–60). J. Zedner followed with his catalog of the Jewish books in the British Museum (1867). Today library catalogs are virtual and accessible over the Internet. -Libraries in the 21st Century Library collections today encompass the wide range of information media available. They include manuscripts, historical documents, rare books, prints, archival collections, and contemporary literature. Included in these collections are also non-print materials in the areas of Jewish music, scores, and recordings in a multitude of formats, films, multimedia collections, and most recently electronic virtual collections. In the last quarter of the 20th century an information explosion took place throughout the world. It has affected all libraries, including stand-alone Judaica libraries and Judaica collections found in general libraries. Shared cataloging allowed for libraries to enter their bibliographic records into a central database and for members to "copy" the cataloging record for its local use. OCLC, in Dublin, Ohio was the first shared catalog. It was followed by the Research Library Group in Mountain View, California, which in 1989, in their Research Library Information Network (RLIN), added Hebrew vernacular script capability for electronic cataloging. The academic and research libraries subscribed to the OCLC and RLIN systems and are active contributors of Judaica and Hebraica records to their databases. Concurrently, large library collections were purchasing integrated library systems to manage their collections and activities. Retrospective conversion of card catalogs to machine readable bibliographic records of major collections were undertaken and most were completed by the turn of the 21st century. With the rapid and ubiquitous development of the Internet and personal computers, access to library collections throughout the world changed dramatically. In the mid 1990s, with the expansion of the worldwide web, access to library catalogs, now online public access catalogs (OPAC), became accessible from all corners of the globe. Libraries and Judaica collections, as part of institutions, developed websites featuring links to their holdings, listing web resources in Judaica, and highlighting online exhibitions and more recently digital collections. The Israel Center for Digital Information Services, MALMAD, has taken the lead in establishing and maintaining electronic indexes such as RAMBI, the Israeli Union Catalog, and the Israeli Union List of Serials. Other public and private organizations have built extraordinary databases providing a wealth of information such as Shamash.org or Maven.co.il. Digital collections featuring rare and unique materials from library collections are growing exponentially. The   JNUL has pioneered the efforts in establishing numerous cooperative digital collections all freely available through their website. Some of the projects to date include an international database of ketubbot, which includes bibliographic descriptions and images from public and private collections worldwide, the Online Treasury of Talmudic Manuscripts, the National Sound Archives, and the Ancient Maps of Jerusalem, among others. Virtual libraries are developing with electronic access to full texts of classical Judaic sources through databases such as the Bar-Ilan Responsa Project, the Otzar ha-Hochma database, and the Lieberman Institute for Talmudic Research database (which are currently all fee-based), while the German Compact Memory database and the Kiryat Sefer projects have free access to full texts of monographs and periodicals. Currently a number of international digitization projects are underway. The Friedberg Genizah Project is amassing digital collections of fragments from the Cairo Genizah found in major collections at Cambridge University (U.K.) and at the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary (U.S.). Tel Aviv University (Israel) has undertaken a project to digitize unique Jewish newspapers found throughout the world. Digitization of parts of collections are being done in numerous institutions in Israel, Europe, and the United States. Visual, audio, motion, and text files are being converted to digital format and are being made available over the Internet. "Born digital" periodicals have become more and more frequent such as the Edah Journal. The library of the 21st century has changed significantly since ancient times. Its mission to collect and organize information to make it available for study has not changed over the past 2,000 years but the means in which it is accomplished has. The following is a partial list of Judaica collections on the Web (source Princeton University Library and Amherst University Library). -Australia Makor Jewish Community Library Monash University – Humanities and Social Sciences Library – The Laura and Israel Kipen Judaica Collection, including the Giligich Yiddish Collection University of Sydney – Fisher Library – Rare Books & Special Collections – Archive of Australian Judaica -Austria Juedisches Museum Wien Osterreichishce Nationalbibliothek Universitaet Wien – Bibliothek des Instituts fuer Judaistik -Canada Albert and Temmy Latner Jewish Public Library of Toronto Canadian Jewish Congress Archives Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada – Archives Jewish Public Library (Montreal) McGill University: Jewish Studies/McGill Catalog National Library of Canada/Jacob M. Lowy Collection: old and rare Hebraica and Judaica comprising 3,000 printed books from the 15th to the 20th centuries, including 34 Hebrew and Latin incunables, more than 120 editions of Bibles in many languages. Strong in Italian Hebraica and in examples of Hebrew printing from Spain to the Orient. University of Toronto Libraries/Catalog: largest Judaica collection in Canada Ontario Jewish Archives -Curaçao Mongui Maduro Biblioteka – Judaica Collection -Czech Republic Jewish Museum in Prague – Library -Denmark Det Kongelige Bibliotek – Orientalia and Judaica -Finland Helsinki University Library – Hebraica Collection -France Alliance Israélite Universelle Bibliotheque Medem Bibliotheque Nationale (holds more than 30,000 Hebrew volumes) Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine Centre d'Etudes juives -Germany Die Deutsche Bibliothek (Leipzig) – Anne-Frank-Shoah-Bibliothek Germania Judaica: Koelner Bibliothek zur Geschichte des deutschen Judentums Institut fuer die Geschichte der deutschen Juden – Bibliothek Das Juedische Museum Westfalen – Bibliothek Simon-Dubnow-Institut fuer juedische Geschichte und Kultur – Bibliothek Stadt- und Universitaetsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main – Hebraica- und Judaica-Sammlung Universitaet Potsdam – Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum fuer Europaeisch-Juedische Studien – Bibliothek Zentralarchiv zur Erforschung der Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland -Israel Israeli University Libraries Bar-Ilan University Library Ben-Gurion University of the Negev: Aranne Library Hebrew University Libraries Jewish National & University Library Technion Library Tel Aviv University Libraries University of Haifa Library Weizman Institute of Science Libraries   Israeli Archives/Research Centers Abba Eban Center for Israeli Diplomacy The Aviezer Yellin Archives of Jewish Education in Israel and the Diaspora Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center Central Zionist Archives: archives of the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod, and the World Jewish Congress Ghetto Fighters' House: Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum Israel Museum/Library of Art & Archeology The Jabotinsky Institute The Melton Centre for Jewish Education Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies Rabin Center for Israel Studies The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Antisemitism/Catalog Access The Yad Ben-Zvi Library Yad Vashem Library -Italy Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea Jewish Community of Venice – Renato Maestro Library and Archives Archivio delle tradizioni e del costume ebraici "Benvenuto e Alessandro Terracini," Torino -Netherlands Amsterdam University Library – Department of Judaica and Hebraica – Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana Joods Historisch Museum Library Leiden University Library – Oriental Department -New Zealand New Zealand Jewish Archives -Russia Institute of Oriental Studies, St. Petersburg Judaica Library of the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow Petersburg Jewish University -Sweden Uppsala University – University Library -Switzerland Israelitische Gemeinde Basel – Karger-Bibliothek Israelitischen Cultusgemeindein Zurich – Die Bibliothek Zentralbibliothek Zurich – Hebraistik und Judaistik -South Africa University of Cape Town – Jewish Studies Library -United Kingdom British Library – Oriental Division Cambridge University Library – The Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit Leeds University Library – Cecil Roth Collection Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies – The Leopold Muller Memorial Library Oxford University – Boedlein Library University College London – Library University of Manchester – The John Rylands University Library Collection University of Southampton Libraries – Special Collections -United States Universities/Research Libraries with Judaica Collections and resources on the web Baltimore Hebrew University Brandeis University Libraries Columbia University: Resources for Jewish Students Cleveland College of Jewish Studies – The Aaron Garber Library College of Charleston – Robert Scott Small Library – Special Collections – Jewish Heritage Collection Florida Atlantic University Libraries – Molly S. Fraiberg Judaica Collections The George Washington University – Gelman Library – I. Edward Kiev Collection Gratz College/Tuttleman Library Harvard University Hebrew College Library Hebrew Theological College Hebrew Union College Jewish Theological Seminary Library of Congress: Hebraic Section New York Public Library: Jewish Division New York University Judaic Studies Resources Ohio State University Princeton University Library – Jewish Studies Resources Reconstructionist Rabbinical College – The Mordecai M. Kaplan Library and Archives Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies: Asher Library Stanford University/Hebraica & Judaica Collections Touro College Libraries University of California at Berkeley/ Judaica Collections UCLA Library Collections: Jewish Resources University of Judaism – Ostrow Library University of Maryland – University of Maryland Libraries – S.L. and Eileen Shneiderman Collection of Yiddish Books University of Michigan: Near East Division University of Pennsylvania/Center for Judaic Studies Yale University Yeshiva University/Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica/Judaica Archives/Research Centers American Jewish Archives American Jewish Historical Society Bureau of Jewish Education of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties – Jewish Community Library   Center for Jewish History Chabad – Lubavitch Library Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York – Ivan M. Stettenheim Library Jewish Women's Archives Judah L. Magnes Museum – Library and Archives Leo Baeck Institute National Yiddish Book Center Rutgers University: Center for the Study of Jewish Life Simon Wiesenthal Center Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Library Yivo Institute for Jewish Research (Isaiah Sonne / Naomi Steinberger (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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