Page 202 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
and suspect tha t o the r subject areas were overlooked, one can­
not say tha t Rabbi Kiev’s scheme o f classification limited the
topics he felt were essential to the library. Subjects like Islam
o r mysticism were not given the ir own call numbers, bu t they
were rep resen ted u n d e r “R” for religion.
Within each category, the call numbers may be fu r th e r sub­
divided numerically o r shelved according to a p rede term ined
orde r. Although the system is functional once it is understood ,
it is not easily learned. T h e library maintained a closed-stack
arrangem en t th roughou t Kiev’s tenure , so tha t only the library
attendan ts had to be knowledgeable about retrieving books us­
ing this system.
Periodicals are arranged alphabetically by title in the Hebrew
and Roman alphabets. T h e periodicals are far-rang ing in sub­
jec t area and include many n ineteenth-century as well as
twentieth-century publications.
The main catalog is a dictionary catalog (that is, authors, titles,
and subjects interfiled), and two smaller files containing Hebrew
and Yiddish titles only. As no authority list for subjects was
kept, there was a certain inconsistency in assigning subject head ­
ings. Titles were rarely cross-referenced, so tha t access is gained
by au tho r o r ed itor ra th e r than by title. Books on lite ra tu re
and collective biography were analyzed, and rep rin ts were cat­
alogued separately.
It was repo rted by all who knew him, tha t Kiev had a ph e ­
nomenal memory so that the catalog was not as essential to the
patrons as was the librarian. Not only could he locate any vol­
ume, bu t he could also recite on the spot a supp lem entary u p ­
dated bibliography on the subject o f the research from mem-
15
ory.
Irvin W e intraub’s 1951 study o f the HUC-JIR Library cited
the strengths o f the library as Bible and Near Eastern archae­
ology, Rabbinics, education textbooks, Zionism, Israel, Jewish
history, sermons, philosophy, and bibliography, and a good pe­
riodical collection. W eintraub stated tha t even though research
materials were not sought, “the library — whether consciously,
th rough p lanned acquisition, o r fortuitously, th rough the ac­
ceptance o f gifts and bequests — has succeeded in building re ­
15. Interviews with Rabbis Jerome Malino, April 9, 1987, Harold I. Saperstein,
May 11, 1987, early graduates o f the JIR, and Dr. Miller, April 1, 1987.