The Baltimore Hebrew Institute Collection: A Jewish Studies Library Re-imaged


  • Elaine Mael Towson University



Academic library mergers, Institutional identities


The Baltimore Hebrew University (BHU) was one of a handful of independent Jewish studies institutions in the United States during the twentieth century. Located in the heart of the Baltimore Jewish community, it grew from a small teachers’ college to a doctoral degree-granting university over the course of its many decades. Several factors, including shifting educational trends, pragmatic economic considerations, and societal expectations altered the academic landscape for this institution; dwindling enrollment forced the once-thriving school to consider options for re-location, re-organization, or closure. A little more than ten years ago, BHU’s programs, faculty, and library were incorporated into a large public university located in nearby Towson, Maryland. As part of this move, the extensive resources of the BHU library were integrated with the much larger library of Towson University (TU), and both collections are now housed in one multi-storied building in the middle of a busy urban university campus. This article addresses the phenomenon of merging two disparate library collections and focuses on both the positive and negative results of consolidating academic libraries of different sizes, content, and cultural heritage. The author was a former librarian at BHU and is currently a librarian at TU.


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How to Cite

Mael, Elaine. 2022. “The Baltimore Hebrew Institute Collection: A Jewish Studies Library Re-Imaged”. Judaica Librarianship 22 (December):41–56.



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