Page 190 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

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tion of rare Hebrew or Latin editions is not likely to serve the
needs of undergraduates, nor will a rabbi’s working collection of
talmudic commentaries or responsa enjoy much currency at a
secular university.
Where will a nuclear collection come from and why is it so vital?
Regardless of local priorities, there is no escaping the reality that
thousands of important books are forever out of print. Even as­
suming the increasing availability of reprints and microforms of
reference tools and essential texts, it will be too expensive and
time consuming to create an opening day collection entirely
through routine order requests sent through the university’s ac­
quisitions department. In addition to the private libraries created
by rabbis, educators, bibliophiles, and academicians, the inven­
tory of secondhand Jewish bookstores may from time to time
come on the market.
At the University of Florida, the Center for Jewish Studies was
formed in 1974 and the concerned faculty began searching for
the ideal core collection. Following the recommendation of a
noted librarian/consultant, and with funding support put to­
gether from a National Endowment for the Humanities Chal­
lenge Grant and State of Florida Quality Improvement Funds,
the Libraries acquired in 1977 the Rabbi Leonard C. Mishkin
library, at the time the largest private library of Judaica and
Hebraica in the United States.2 With a nuclear collection, the
Libraries used National Endowment for the Humanities funds to
hire a fulltime librarian-cataloguer-bibliographer, a now critical
need, to formulate priorities and policy statements regarding
cataloguing, collection development, staffing, and circulation.
Because state allocations for book buying were high at this time,
the Libraries’Judaica bibliographer sought additional collections
for acquisition and quickly supplemented the Mishkin collection
with the Shlomo Marenof library (1978) and the inventory of
Bernard Morgenstern’s Lower East Side bookstore (1979).
Even without a Center for Jewish Studies, most universities
with programs in the humanities and social sciences are already
2 Salamon Faber, “Selected Private Jewish Library Collections
,"Jewish Book An­
29 (1971/72): 41.