Conference Proceeding: The Modern Library – UM’s Jewish Heritage Collection as a Model of Innovation and Integration

When one thinks of a library, the typical image is of a collection of books and serials. Today, the image might also include electronic resources and digitized materials. The Jewish Heritage Collection (JHC) at the University of Michigan expands these boundaries even further. The JHC is a unique assemblage of books, ephemera, archival materials, and objects that relate to the Jewish experience. By including objects, the JHC expands the definition of a “library” into worlds previously dominated by museums and cultural institutions. However, unlike these institutions, libraries pride themselves on accessibility to researchers, scholars, and the public at large. This allows the collection to be utilized rather than just displayed and also gives those involved with the collection an opportunity to look to the future in new and innovative ways. The JHC is an example of an immersive collection, a collection in which all five senses are served and researchers are given the opportunity to interact with more than just texts related to their subject.