Page 62 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 24

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Association of Jewish Libraries
The past year witnessed another historic landmark. The two
library associations, the older Jewish Librarians’ Association and
the four-year-old Jewish Library Association, decided to combine
forces and form one single strong organization, the Association
of Jewish Libraries. Recognizing the differing needs of the
scholarly and lay libraries, the Association will retain its com­
ponent parts in the form of separate divisions, while the overall
organization will devote itself to the common concerns of the
profession as a whole.
An auspicious beginning has been made, but it is only a begin­
ning. Much still remains to be done. Many more libraries are
needed, and here the assistance of the Jewish leadership of the
country is clearly in order. Very little, for example, has been
done by the national Jewish educational organizations actively
to promote the cause of Jewish librarianship, although all ap­
prove of it in theory. The Jewish Education Committee o f New
York requires schools under its jurisdiction to have a library
before they can be accredited. The Kapor study, however, found
that generally the library program is not well integrated with
that of the classroom. Very few bureaus of Jewish education in
the country mention a library as a prerequisite for accredita­
tion. National synagogue bodies, such as the Union o f American
Hebrew Congregations and the United Synagogue, actively pro­
mote Jewish schools and Jewish education; but they have not
done enough for the Jewish library. Some Jewish centers seem
to concentrate more on gymnasiums than on libraries. Rabbis,
often with excellent libraries of their own, could improve the
situation by seeing that books are also available for their
No less important than the establishment of libraries is the
need to raise professional standards of the librarians. Jewish
librarians, whether paid or volunteer, are devoted to their work,
but in the fields of professional and Jewish training, particularly
in the latter, much remains to be done. Equally important, the
status of the librarian must be raised in the eyes of the Jewish
community. Here especially the new library association can
pave the way.