Our Stories

The Next Chapter of the Jewish Community Library

The Jewish Community Library began in 1960 as a small collection for Jewish educators in the offices of what was then the Bureau of Jewish Education, now known as Jewish LearningWorks. Over the past 62 years the library has exponentially grown to include a collection of almost 40,000 items, and a year round menu of book group opportunities and public programs including the beloved One Bay One Book initiative.

As the Library has grown, its reach has expanded. The Library now serves the general public, and nearly 5,000 patrons from across the Bay Area utilize the main branch, as well as the Library’s programs and services each year. You can learn more about the Library’s wide reach in 2021-2022 here.

Over the past five years, Jewish LearningWorks has sought to refine its focus, deepening our efforts to support Jewish educators. During this year’s strategic planning process, our Board reaffirmed our commitment to nurturing and training educators and Jewish professionals as our core priority. After six decades of incubation, this summer the Jewish Community Library will become independent of its original organizational home.

To solidify the foundation of the Jewish Community Library, and propel it into an independent future, we have undertaken a thoughtful process, working alongside the Library’s staff, and its fundraising arm, the Friends of the Jewish Community Library. Beginning this summer, the Library will have a new fiscal sponsor, the highly regarded San Francisco Study Center. Jewish LearningWorks will continue to provide financial support for the next several years, as it makes this transition. 

We are proud to have been a part of the Library’s development and excited by the opportunity for it to embark on the next phase of promoting Jewish literacy for all ages.