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March 06, 1987 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-03-06

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Marcia Pollack takes a break from Hebrew class in the Midrasha Library.


Special to The Jewish News

rom her perch at the Jewish
Community Center library,
Ann Parker watches the.
steady flow of sweatsuits.
parading outside the li-
brary doors. "We've become the
people of the look, not the book," she
says with a sigh.
Bertha Wember, Temple Israel's
librarian for the past 25 years,
agrees. "People just don't read as
much anymore. Twenty-five years
ago, parents would bring their kids to
Sunday School and stay in the library
to browse, read or chat. Today, they
rarely come in." But they — you —
are cordially invited. Escape the
mid-winter doldrums Spend a rest-
ful hour in the snug solitude of your
nearest Jewish library. Curl up with
a book; skim through a half-dozen
magazines. Poke around and explore.
Be prepared for unexpected trea-
The numbers will astound you —
both the number of Jewish libraries
and collections and the number of
books. In the Detroit area, almost
every synagogue, temple and day
school runs a sizable library. One of



Friday, March 6, 1987




the largest is Temple Beth El's li-
brary with more than 15,000 books.
Jewish organizations as diverse
as the Home for Aged (Borman Hall)
and the Zionist Culture Center house
a library. There are 37,000 volumes
in the library of the Midrasha Col-
lege of Jewish Studies at United He-
brew Schools in Southfield. Even
Wayne State University's Purdy Li-
brary boasts a Jewish collection of
4,000 books.
According to Mae Weine, the
area's leading Jewish librarian, "A
Jewish library is one that has exclu-
sively Jewish books or books about
Judaism and Jewish life. Whether or
not the authors are Jewish doesn't
matter. There are books in every
category and subject matter from
religion, fiction, history and biog-
raphy to cookbooks, poetry and lan-
Cataloguing poses an eternal
problem for Jewish librarians, who,
by the way, don't have to be Jewish.
The Dewey Decimal System, used in
most public and school libraries, just
doesn't work for Jewish libraries.
Imagine trying to fit 10,000 books
into the two Dewey Decimal
categories assigned to Jewish topics:
Jewish religion and Jewish history.

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