Local Brooklyn Public Libraries Add Hundreds of New Titles to Appeal to Orthodox Jews
By Yehudit Garmaise
The three public libraries in Brooklyn’s District 48 now offer hundreds of new books from Feldheim, Artscroll, and Mesora publishers, thanks to Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, who secured $75,000 in New York’s 2021 budget to include many more titles that are of interest to Orthodox Jews.
Eichenstein, who said he is, “a big believer in reading,” told BoroPark24, “If we could get more local residents to use our public libraries, I believe we would be doing them a great service.
“We added hundreds of books to the collection, and hopefully down the road, we can add more.”
For children, Brooklyn’s three libraries in District 48 acquired favorites, such as Miriam Stark Zakon's "Gemarakup Super Sleuth" series, Shmuel Blitz titles, and newer popular picks, such as Eda Schottenstein's "Sarah Dreamer."
For teens and adults, the library enhanced its collections with more mysteries and suspense novels, cookbooks, biographies, and histories.
"Broken Promises" by Libby Lazewnik, "All for the Boss" by Ruchama Shain, and Avner Gold's "Scandal in Amsterdam" are just a few of the titles waiting to be checked out for Yom Tov.
On Monday, when Assemblyman Eichenstein appeared at the Brooklyn Public Library in Midwood to unveil its new sections, which include not only stacks of books in English that are culturally sensitive and appropriate for Orthodox Jews, but whole shelves full of titles in Yiddish, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, and Mandarin.
“Reading helps people to improve in so many different ways, such as by increasing their general knowledge of the world and by sparking their imaginations, but also by improving their grammar and spelling,” said Eichenstein, who hoped the Brooklyn libraries’ newly expanded collections would attract more local residents.
“I don’t have the statistics on how many local residents use the public libraries, but what I do know is that if the libraries include in their collection books that are familiar to our children and adults, many more people would be using the libraries, and that is really what my goal is,” Assemblyman Eichenstein said.
Eichenstein pointed out that now three of Brooklyn’s local libraries offer hundreds of new books for residents who are interested in checking them out.
“In every neighborhood throughout our city, local libraries try to incorporate within their collections books that speak to and are of interest to those local communities,” he said. “Just like we have a large Russian population, the library has a Russian section, we have Polish population, Hungarian—libraries have those sections as well, so too should they have a culturally sensitive section.”
Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish readers are already showing enthusiasm for their local libraries' additional collections that are suited just for them.
“While we were in the middle of the unveiling, four heimish Flatbush women from Midwood were already looking at the new bookstand ,” said Assemblyman Eichenstein, who added that one woman was holding, “The Inside Story” by Sholom Moredechai Rubashkin, while another woman was holding a book about the Ponevezh Yeshiva.
“’Thank you so much,’ the ladies were all saying. ‘This is great!’”