Conference Proceeding: Building a Judaic Collection in a Public Library

The Shia Szrut Holocaust Memorial Collection gives agency to lost voices. People also become cognizant of their own agency as they explore our materials. They learn about people who have been muted, hurt, broken, tortured, and destroyed, as well as the frightened, the fighters, and the saved. The collection encourages the general public to ponder the “when, why and how” questions of the Holocaust, genocide, and intolerance. Our Washoe County Library Statement of Values encourages inclusiveness to the idea that we are all part of the human family. The library provides a commons, a place for our community to gather together, exchange ideas, and use the resources of the Holocaust Collection without cost. The purpose is to educate and remind a broad spectrum of people that they have choices: to become a perpetrator, or bystander, or rescuer. These are some of the advantages of managing a special collection, but there are also challenges, some of which include financial restraints and insufficient time to devote to the collection. What makes it work is the desire among parents and children, teachers and librarians, and all the private organizations and state agencies, to bring out the best in us all, knowing our worst. The profound challenge is ‘Never Again’.

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