Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
2005-2006
Annual Report
| Page 17
I
n his report to the Board of Governors in 1876, HUC
President Isaac Mayer Wise listed the entire contents of
the Hebrew Union College Library: 103 volumes of usable
books!Today, HUC-JIR’s Klau Library in Cincinnati houses
the largest and most comprehensive collection of books,
periodicals, and manuscripts of all the Jewish libraries in
the Western Hemisphere and is second in size only to the
National Jewish and University Library in Jerusalem. It is
the foundation that supports HUC- JIR’s
academic programs and faculty
scholarship.
Yet the Klau Library
building – a state-of-the-art facility when it was built
in 1960 – is now badly in need of renovation and expansion.
Accordingly, shortly after Rabbi Ellenson became President,
he focused on the design of a facility that would house the
Klau Library’s existing collection and accommodate project-
ed growth of the collection over the next twenty to twen-
ty-five years. The design had to further teaching, learning,
and research by creating a renovated building that is wor-
thy of the Klau Library’s mission. With a lead gift of $6.5
million from the
Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati
,
the Klau
Library is set for a renovation and expansion that will
enable it to serve the growing and changing needs of the
21
st century.
The architectural team entrusted with this task –
2
enCompass of Cincinnati, and library experts Shipley,
Bullfinch, Richardson, and Abbott of Boston – has pre-
sented a concept plan, which describes a facility that is
both effective and efficient:
The Klau Library building houses approximately
230,000
volumes accessible to faculty and students, and
provides space for faculty and Library offices, reference
materials, computer services, study areas, and Cincinnati
campus administrative offices. The building will undergo
extensive renovation, with the installation of new and effi-
cient HVAC systems, new lighting in the stacks, seminar
rooms, carrels, and study areas, and more room for com-
puter and other technical services.
The Administration building, built in 1930, holds
200,000
volumes, most of them in an area called the “East
Wing.” The “East Wing” and the enclosed corridor that
connects it to the Klau Library building will be replaced
with a three-story “Library Pavilion” abutting the Klau
Library building and providing access to it on four levels.
The “Library Pavilion” will become the main entrance to
the Klau Library, provide direct but controlled access to the
Administration building, and house administrative, faculty,
and some Library offices.
Standard open shelving and compact shelving, which
accommodates approximately four times as many books
as standard library shelving, will be added to sections
of the Klau Library building and the “Library Pavilion.”
These areas of standard and compact shelving will provide
sufficient space to house the entire existing collection,
accommodate projected growth of the collection over the
next two decades or more, and be protected by tempera-
ture and humidity controls and fire suppression systems
consistent with industry standards.
The College-Institute’s collection of rare books and man-
uscripts, currently preserved in the Dalsheimer Rare Book
Building built in 1960, will be incorporated into a high-
security “closed” section of the new compact shelving area
of the Klau Library Building, and the Dalsheimer Building
will be razed. Treasures from the rare book collection will
be displayed in a high-security exhibition area in the reno-
vated Klau Library building or the new “Library Pavilion.”
Other site improvements and new landscaping will
ensure handicapped access to the Library, improve pedestri-
an traffic flow, provide new outdoor study and meeting
areas for faculty, students, and other Library users, and an
onsite internet cafe.
The Klau Library was created by the generations that pre-
ceded ours, and is a treasure entrusted to our care. But, in
truth, it is a treasure that belongs to the entire Jewish peo-
ple. We have the distinct privilege to be its stewards and
the clear responsibility to ensure its continued excellence.
A Library for the
21
ST
Century