The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary

The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary is the premier research library for Judaica and Hebraica in the Western Hemisphere. The Library's holdings consist of more than 425,000 volumes, which represent all areas of Judaica, Hebraica, and related subjects, and reflect the geographic diversity of Jewish settlement throughout history. The Library is renowned for its strengths in Bible and biblical commentary, rabbinics, and mysticism, with materials from France, Germany, Italy, Persia, Spain, and Yemen, among other countries. As the largest repository of Hebrew manuscripts in the world, The Library serves as a global center for scholarly research.

The Library's collections consist of items from the 10th to the 21st centuries in a wide variety of formats. Manuscripts, printed books, periodicals, archival papers, sound recordings, microfilms, videos, DVDs, electronic databases, musical scores, photographs, prints, maps, ketubbot, megillot, slides, greeting cards, postcards, micrographs, and broadsides are found on its shelves and website.

Through its active digitization program, The Library is making its collections available to an ever-wider range of users over the web. The Library's website is a gateway to many different resources, including:

  • Makor: The Library's discover tool, which provides access to the catalog, digital collections, electronic full-text articles and e-books;
  • Reserve readings via Blackboard;
  • Online exhibitions; and
  • Programming and special events.

During the fall 2015 semester, The Library will be moving to a temporary location on the JTS campus for the duration of the project to build a 21st century, state-of-the art, facility. The bulk of the collections will be moved to offsite facilities.

  • Approximately 10,000 volumes, including reference books, reserve books, new books, selected microfilms and other selected items will be available onsite. All other volumes from the General Collections will be available for "next working day" retrieval.
  • The Reading Room will be open to the public. Retrieval of materials from the offsite facility will be available for free to those with JTS borrowing privileges, including students, faculty, and staff of JTS; students, faculty, and staff of Columbia University; and faculty and students from other institutions with which JTS has a consortium agreement. JTS alumni can borrow materials at a reduced membership fee. Library membership is available to the general public.  
  • For the non-JTS community retrieval of materials from the off-site storage facility will be charged at cost.
  • Complete library services will be provided in the temporary location. This includes a reading room, circulation, reference support, microfilm reading, audio and visual listening, etc. Researchers will be guided by specialized reference librarians to take advantage of rare materials available in digitized form.
  • The Special Collections, except for the archives, will be inaccessible to the public during the period of construction.  
  • Researchers will be able to order archives from remote storage. Delivery of archives will be limited to once per week, so researchers will have to prepare their orders carefully and adequately in advance.

For further information, and update on the move to the temporary facility and construction project, visit The Library's website.