Books on the Move

December 22, 2011 by Elly Shalev
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The all-new Lamm Jewish Library of Australia will open its doors in Melbourne before the year’s end.

Getting ready for the opening

The bookshelves are emptying at the Makor Library as construction and refurbishment of the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia (JLA), which began in July, nears completion. Staff, volunteers and 54,000 catalogued items are now making the exciting move from the ground floor of the Beth Weizmann Community Centre, next door to the Lamm JLA, a brand new, modern hub of multi-faceted Jewish learning.

The national facility will include state-of-the-art computer software, with cataloguing available in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. More than 30,000 books are available on the library shelves and thousands of audio-visual materials including dvds, cds, video cassettes, posters, journals in English, Hebrew and Yiddish are included in the collections.

A new reception and security entrance will provide safe entry to the thousands of people expected to utilise the library, meeting spaces for community organisations, private areas for study and research, and open areas for discussion, book clubs, children’s story time and film screenings.

The Lamm JLA will be open for a select number of days before the end of the year; closed over the summer break and will open to the public on Wednesday February 8, 2012.

An official launch event is being planned for Sunday March 18 that will include a ceremonial ribbon-cutting followed by a fun, family-friendly “open house” event.

On receiving the keys to the building named for his family, principal donor and President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) Dr Danny Lamm said “I am excited about the opening of the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia which brings together the various important Jewish library collections under one roof. At the same time it heralds the first development of the Jewish community centre since its establishment in 1993 and offers a bigger home to our community as we look forward to the next 50 years”.

Zionist Council of Victoria President, Sam Tatarka said “The Lamm JLA is a unique, forward-thinking project that the ZCV proudly supports. Through the generosity of the Victorian State Government and ZCV immediate past President Dr Danny Lamm, his wife Dr Rolene Lamm and son Raphael, a new chapter in the life of Australian Jewry is being created. We invite the community to visit, utilise and enjoy it.”

Library Director Leonie Fleiszig noted “A small, humble Jewish library that began with a few books in a room at the first Beth Weizmann in St Kilda Road in the mid-1980s will now be an invaluable community resource. Lamm JLA staff and our dedicated army of volunteers are excitedly counting down the days to the library’s opening.”

Fleiszig says that Makor’s move to the Lamm JLA has already attracted two Glen Eira Council grants for new programs, for the hosting of book clubs in English and Hebrew, and for a film club.

2012 will also mark 50 years of combined library service by Fleiszig and her predecessor Ros Collins, Makor’s first library director and a dedicated volunteer for the last decade. The two began working together at Makor in 1987. In 2010 the ZCV honoured Collins with a Community Volunteer Award for her commitment.

As part of the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia, Makor Jewish Community Library will merge with the communal libraries of Kadimah, the Holocaust Centre and the Jewish Museum, as well as the archives of the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society and the Australian Jewish Historical Society.

The facility will be further enhanced by generous donations of books from community organisations and the private collections of academic institutions and individuals. Community members with unique books or manuscripts are encouraged to contact the library’s director for a wonderful opportunity to enrich the community library.



One Response to “Books on the Move”
  1. Emes says:

    Jews are the “people of the Book” and it is a credit to the Lamm family that they have provided this important resource to the Melbourne Jewish community.

    It is shameful that an old and established community like Sydney does not have a similar resource centre. All it has is a few libraries at its various shuls and temples, as well as a Holocaust-oriented library at the Sydney Jewish Museum. There is no community centre with books across all subject areas relating to the Jewish experience, as well as multimedia.

    Perhaps the JCA should consider a Jewish resource centre/library as a priority in the light of Melbourne’s achievements. Maybe Sydney needs a donor like Dr Lamm who sees the importance in such a venture.

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