The dedication of the $12.1 million renovation and expansion of the Klau Library and The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Library Pavilion at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), including a $550,000 state-of-the-art geothermal system, took place on Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 2 p.m. on the campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion at 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Several hundred national and local civic and religious leaders convened for this milestone event, including Mark Mallory, Mayor of City of Cincinnati; Rabbi David Ellenson, President, HUC-JIR; Barbara Friedman, Chair, HUC-JIR Board of Governors; Gary Heiman, The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, which donated the lead institutional gift of $6.5 million; Sanford R. Cardin, on behalf of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation; and Lucille Carothers, on behalf of the Klau Family. Dr. Michael A. Meyer, Ochs Professor of Jewish History presented the keynote address on “The Soul of the College.”
Dr. Gregory H. Williams, President, University of Cincinnati, presented the keynote address at the celebratory program and reception, which was attended by over 1000 persons at the Manuel D. & Rhoda Mayerson JCC on The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati campus at 7:30 pm that evening.
Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, stated: “The Klau Library resides at the very heart of our enterprise as the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center for Reform Judaism and the entire Jewish people, and offers tangible testimony to the absolute commitment we at HUC-JIR have as a liberal Jewish institution of higher learning to sustaining and advancing academic study, research, publication, and teaching for the benefit of the Jewish people and all humanity.”
Mayor Mark Mallory said, “Cincinnati is a city of tolerance, diversity, and progressive values, as, symbolized by the presence of HUC-JIR, which situates Cincinnati on the world stage as a center of scholarship.”
Barbara Friedman, Chair of the Board of Governors, noted, “”A great library is the heart of a great academic institution. Its resources are indispensable for faculty scholarship and student learning. It is our privilege and responsibility to preserve these resources for future generations of students and researchers.”
Gary Heiman of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati explained, “We are proud that the Klau Library is located here in Cincinnati, where it can strengthen Jewish life in our community. We are gratified that scholars from around the world will benefit from the knowledge housed here.”
Dr. Gregory H. Williams, in his first public appearance upon becoming the President of University of Cincinnati (UC), lauded the long-standing ties between HUC-JIR and UC, saying “We look forward to strengthening the relationship between our two neighboring academic institutions.”
Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of the College in 1875 established its library from the very inception of the institution. With the dedication of its first library building in 1912, HUC-JIR’s library became the first free-standing Jewish library in world history.
Today, with nearly half a million volumes, the Library is one of the most comprehensive Jewish libraries in the world and has the largest collection of printed Judaica in North America. This renovation and construction of a new Pavilion entrance transforms the Klau Library into an unparalleled international center for research, teaching, and learning for scholars worldwide and enhances the intellectual and cultural life of the greater Cincinnati region.
The Klau Library’s mission is to collect, preserve, and provide access to the total record of Jewish thought and experience. Its Rare Book collection includes important collections of incunabula and 16th century Hebrew imprints, and archival and literary manuscripts, including the unique Chinese-Hebrew collection. It has preeminent collections of Jewish music, early Jewish Americana, Spinozana, and Christian Hebraica. Over 200 Judaica databases and 10,000 digitized images of works from its collections can be accessed using its internal computer network. It also houses the American Jewish Periodical Center, which preserves on microfilm some 900 newspaper, journal, and synagogue bulletin titles. It is one of the three conservators in the world for the original negatives of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The online catalogs are accessible to a world-wide community of users at the website: http://www.huc.edu/libraries