Page 62 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

Basic HTML Version

56
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
Inquiries have often come to us from many parts of the country
for inter-library loans which we have graciously tried to fulfill.
Wherever it was difficult to lend material because of the demand
by our own faculty and student body, we provided photostats
of rare books and manuscripts. Services were extended generously
to the Hebrew University and even to countries behind the
Iron Curtain. Our inter-library loan file indicates that our li­
brary collection has gained not only a national but an interna­
tional reputation.
The Library3s Classification System
The proper classification system of a library is, next to the
card catalogue, the most effective means of making available the
resources for readers and scholars. Students very often are
bored by catalogue cards and would like to go directly to the
shelves for their material. This is only possible if the break­
down of the subjects is so detailed that the student is spared
the necessity of searching through book shelves which are of no
immediate concern to him.
In studying the various classification schemes used by the
large Jewish collections in the United States, it became apparent
to us that they were outdated and impractical for a Jewish liter­
ature which has flourished during the last fifty years at a rapid
tempo that could not have been foreseen by the early pioneers
of classification schemes; for example, the one devised by the
famous librarian, Abraham Solomon Freidus (1867-1923). New
concepts in Jewish law and lore, as well as the dynamic forces
in current Jewish history and the opening of new horizons in
Jewish and cognate scholarship necessitated the most modern
approach to the classification of large Jewish collections in
many languages. Fortunately, we were guided by the scheme
worked out by our sister institution, the Jewish National Uni­
versity of Jerusalem. We
adopted
its expansion of the Dewey
classification, but modified and further expanded and
adapted
it to suit our vast and growing resources in Jewish scholarship.
Unlike most Jewish libraries, we believe in the open shelf
system for as many books as possible so that the link between
reader and books should not be blocked by too many closed
stacks. The most detailed breakdown of the various divisions
and subdivisions of Jewish knowledge is the most effective meth­
od to bring the two together. Our experience has proved us
correct in the services we endeavor to render the reading clientele.
The rapid growth of our holdings, which now number over
130,000 volumes, necessitates the building of adequate quarters