Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Closter Residents Want Hebrew Section in Library

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Closter Residents Want Hebrew Section in Library

Article excerpt

CLOSTER — Library officials will meet with residents of Israeli heritage who have been requesting a Hebrew language book section in the library, in an effort to overcome roadblocks.

The group of about a dozen residents has approached the library and the Borough Council with their request for a special section. Resident Yuval Tal, speaking for the group, said Closter's Israeli community has "grown dramatically" within the last three or four years. He said the group has tried contacting the library directly and indirectly, but has hit roadblocks, such as a lack of shelf space.

Tal said he and others were willing to donate books and time to organize the shelves if they were provided a section of the library to host them.

"We'll do whatever is needed so the community can take them and return them, we don't ask for much," said Tal.

Library Director Ruth Rando said, "We want to please as many patrons as we can," but said there are considerations, such as space and staffing.

Rando said she said she and her staff planned to meet with the group to see if there was a way to work together.

Many libraries have dedicated foreign-language collections that are calibrated to the needs of the community. Closter gained a selection of Korean-language books after it was established that a large portion of the town's population – 35 percent – is Korean, said Rando.

In partnership with the Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Closter library staff purchased books for the small collection about 10 years ago. One staff member speaks Korean and is aware of the requirements and standards a Korean book would need to become part of the collection, said Rando.

The staff has no Hebrew speaker who would be able to verify if a book meets the standards to be placed on the library shelf, said Rando.

In order to ensure a book is a quality selection, Rando and her staff search for reviews on trusted sites such as Kirkus Reviews, Booklist and the New York Times Book Review.

"It's not books from people's attics or basement," said Rando.

The library also has little available shelf space. What exists is on bottom shelves, and the library does not like to use lower shelves, because they are harder for some older patrons to access. …

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