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Press Release – 7 July 2011

Makor Library Annual Appeal will help nurture community culture

From its humble beginnings in a small room at the Beth Weizmann building in St Kilda Road in the mid-1980’s, the Makor Jewish Community Library has grown into an invaluable community resource.

Some twenty-five years later, Makor houses 54,000 catalogued items across its own collection and those of six other Melbourne Jewish libraries. The Library Network lists each and every one of these items online, including research and teaching materials.

More than 30,000 books are now available on the Makor shelves and thousands of audio-visual materials including dvds, cds, video cassettes, posters, journals and even 35 mm slides in English, Hebrew and Yiddish are included in the collections.

“It’s such an exciting time at the crossroads for Makor” says library director Leonie Fleiszig. “We are planning our move next door to 304 Hawthorn Road and to a modern, national hub of multi-faceted Jewish learning. The collection of the Canberra Jewish community centre will soon be joining us and we cannot be more thrilled”.

Before Makor can make its move to 304 Hawthorn Road and become the foundation of the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia, volunteers will be manning the phones from July 22 to 28 for the library’s Annual Appeal. It is hoped community members will give generously so that the national facility can fulfil its huge potential.

Chairman of the Beth Weizmann Community Centre and major donor Dr Danny Lamm says “Plans are to make the new Lamm Jewish Library of Australia a unique resource blending community and culture.”

Fleiszig adds that the Lamm JLA wants to be a meeting place for families where children of all ages can enjoy storytime in English or Hebrew and parents can go to book club meetings over a cup of good coffee. “At the top of our wish list is also complimentary WiFi” she says.

Ros Collins, Makor’s first library director from 1987-2000 and a dedicated volunteer for the last decade says, “The rich collections of the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia represent our past, present and future.    The places, from which we came, the many languages we know, the history of our people in various lands, are all reflected in the books, journals, films, pictures, recordings and information databases that have been gathered over centuries of Australian-Jewish life. In our new home we shall continue to provide a warm and welcoming ambience where people of differing persuasions may feel comfortable in a professional, helpful environment.”

Collins who has met with Jewish library notables around the world recently received a rousing endorsement for the Lamm JLA from British philanthropist and businessman Sir Sigmund Sternberg who said:

“The Jewish Library of Australia is one of the most exciting and constructive projects in Jewish life anywhere outside of Israel itself. That the Victorian State Government has recognised the importance of this enterprise not just for Australian Jewry but for the entire nation is testimony in itself to the importance of this project.

The library will be both symbolised and given life through the buildings which are being adapted to house it. But its reach will extend beyond the buildings. Thanks to the incorporation of the latest technology within its very core you will reach out across Australia and around the globe.

No library, of course, has value without content. Thanks to your forbears and their investment in Jewish, Hebrew and Yiddish culture you have a storehouse of content on which to build your future.

I am sure your lively and supportive community will recognise the immense value of the work now in train and will give the Jewish Library of Australia the backing it deserves. It is a wonderful enterprise for which we in Britain have no parallel.”

The Makor Jewish Community Library appeal will run from July 22 to 28. Please donate by calling Makor on 9272 5611 or donate in person at 306 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield South 3162.
All contributions are tax deductible.

For more information contact:
Jane Rapke – Executive Director, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5544
Elly Shalev – Public Affairs, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5519, 0400 313 197
The Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel. For more information, visit the Zionist Council of Victoria website