LSJS library is still one of the major collections of Hebraica and Judaica in Europe. It holds circa 80,000 titles covering areas such as Bible studies, Mishnah, Talmud, Jewish law, responsa, philosophy & ethics, liturgy, language and literature, Jewish history, Anglo-Jewry, biographies & bibliography.
The periodical collection is very extensive and holds many important journals.
Unfortunately LSJS has had great financial problems such that the decision was made to sell 339 early and rare prints in order to be able to keep the college open.
This was a major blow to the library. Not only did we loose our treasures, the reputation of the library was greatly damaged.
Shortly after the sale, the Montefiore Endowment decided to sell the manuscript collection as well as the printed book collection, which Moses Montefiore had given to Jews' College Library on permanent loan. The entire printed collection was sold to Yarnton, Oxford. The manuscripts were individually sold by Kestenbaum in America.
Between 2001 and 2005 the college had no budget for the library. However as LSJS is making great progress with ever growing Adult Education Programs (600 people come through the door each week!) and new academic courses in September 2008, the situation is also improving for the library. And modestly new acquisitions can be made.
The library is regularly used by the students of the college as well as by students from outside, who need our collection for their research projects. There are approximately 100 registered members in our membership system. They may borrow books (3 books for 2 weeks) for an annual fee of £70 (£35 for students). Apart from these members anybody may use the library for reference. There is a copying machine and a microfiche reader/printer.
The computerization which has started and covers approximately 80% of the collection is at the moment suppressed and we have no access to it (also for financial reasons). But hopefully in the very near future this situation will be resolved and the titles will also become accessible on our website. This will be a great improvement, and we will finally step into the 21st century!!
Erla Zimmels, Librarian.