On August 4, the Judaica Division hosted a celebration of the completion of the “Cage Project” and the official handing over of the keys to Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Collections, Jeffrey Horrell.

The party served as an opportunity to celebrate the completion of this large project as well as a thank-you to the many people who lent themselves to the effort. Charles Berlin, Head of the Judaica Division and of the Area Studies Department, said this project was truly a team effort and it reflected the contributions of many people in different areas of the Library. A demonstration, Berlin added, of how interdependent all the units of the Library are, especially when confronted with a challenge such as the Cage Project.

The so-called Judaica Cage is a section of the Widener 6th floor stacks. It was created some 20 years ago to accommodate the Judaica Division’s special collections until more appropriate housing would be available. When the Widener renovation project facilitated the need to maximize space for books in the stacks, the Judaica Division was asked to move its special collections and duplicate materials from the cage to the Harvard Depository.

To vacate the cage, a large body of ephemera had to be processed. Over the past decade the Judaica Division had been processing the special collections for transfer to the depository, but there was still a considerable amount of material that remained and had to be sorted, inventoried, rehoused, and bar-coded.

A large accumulation of Judaica duplicates had to be processed as well. Over 7500 volumes were searched in HOLLIS to insure that they were indeed duplicates, and over 2000 of these were checked in the stacks to verify that the stacks copy was still on the shelf and in good condition. As a result, many lost or damaged stacks volumes are being replaced, and large numbers of volumes were released for exchange with other libraries or for sale.

In all, 450 shelves, 4 cabinets, and dozens of boxes were cleared. The project began in the fall of 1999, and was completed at the end of July 2000.

“I know how much effort many individuals made over many months to realize this accomplishment,” Horrell said at the celebration. “This was not only for the Judaica Division of the Area Studies Department, but also to enable the work of the Widener Stack Renovation project. We are all appreciative of this fine work.”

Also at the celebration, Berlin thanked “first and foremost my colleagues in the Judaica Division for all of their hard work making this possible.” Berlin went on to say that such a project could not have been accomplished without a great deal of assistance from colleagues throughout the Harvard community. “We are most grateful for the help of staff from Building Services, the Conservation Lab, the Harvard Depository, Human Resources, and of course our colleagues in Area Studies,” he said.

Judaica Technical Services Librarian Elizabeth Vernon added that the Division is fortunate to have three endowed funds, the Littauer Judaica Student Assistantships, the Abrams Judaica Student Assistant-ships, and the Rabb Judaica Student Assistantships, that enabled them to hire a talented group of student assistants to work on the project.

“The kind of help extended to us is typical of the cooperative work atmosphere that we find in our daily work,” Vernon added. “During such a project, however, it makes itself particularly evident. The pressure of time and the large volume of material were considerable, and we appreciate all the more the help extended to us by colleagues throughout the Library.” Vernon listed Facilities Management, the Conservation Lab, the Harvard Depository, Human Resources and the Area Studies Department, saying, “We are glad to have this opportunity to thank them personally.”

The following people were recognized and thanked for the help they extended for this project:

From the Judaica Division: Leah Orent, Hadassa Schwartz, Judy Kuperwasser, Violet Gilboa and Meghan Walbran.

Littauer Judaica Student Assistants: Emily Cohen, Rachael Gelfman, Leah Kaplan, Marika Katz, Jon Milner and Otilia Mirambeaux.

Abrams Judaica Student Assistants: Helen Dimos, Thalia Field, Ilana Gelfman, Jackie Mollitor, and Sara Henna Polen.

Rabb Judaica Student Assistants: Aaron Beckman, Aliza Cover, Naomi Levin, and Rochelle Lundy.

From the HCL Facilities Management: Tony Machado, Jack Corcoran, Jon Belmonte, Peter Ciraolo, Phil Gello, Tim Slaughter, and Daniel Teslar.

From the Acme Building Services: Fernando Kerr, Joe Lorenco, Francisco Chagaz and John Reis.

From the HCL Conservation Lab: Nancy Schrock, Ethel Hellman, Umberto Olviera, Craig Yuram, Electra Javieras and Francis Keller.

From the Harvard Depository: All HD Staff and specifically Wayne Humphrey and Gary Balcolm.

From the HCL Human Resources: Suz-Ann Olofson, Lisa Plosker and Mary Burke.

From the Widener Area Studies Department: Michael Hopper and Grazyna Slanda.

Copyright © 2000 The President and Fellows of Harvard College