Reading Room & Genealogy Institute
Make sure to check our holiday closures prior to visiting.
Last entry to the Center for Jewish History exhibition spaces is 30 minutes before closing.
The Center for Jewish History welcomes researchers, scholars, and visitors of all backgrounds. The Lillian Goldman Reading Room, often described as the heart of the Center for Jewish History, is the gateway for exploring the diverse history of the Jewish people through the collections housed at the Center.
The Reading Room is open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Appointments are highly recommended, but a limited number of walk-ins will be accommodated, based on availability. Reservations can be made through your research account. Appointments and materials requests must be made at least 3 days in advance.
The Reading Room shelves offer reference texts as well as all major publications of the Center’s partner organizations. Archive and library collections at the Center consist of over 500,000 volumes in multiple languages from many time periods, as well as over 100 million documents, including organizational records and personal papers, photographs, multimedia recordings, posters, art, and artifacts. In addition, the Reading Room has developed an extensive electronic resource library.
For tips and information about conducting research at the Center and advice on commonly consulted collections, view the Center's research guides here .
The Center for Jewish History welcomes you to the Lillian Goldman Reading Room, where you can view the expansive and diverse collections of our five partner institutions. In order to ensure that the items you are handling will be available to future generations of researchers, we ask you to exercise extraordinary care in handling materials and to abide by the following guidelines.
A valid picture ID must be presented at the front desk upon entering the building. All coats, backpacks, bags, laptop cases, and suitcases must be deposited at the coat check in the lobby. You will be provided with a clear plastic bag for any personal items. Reference services staff reserve the right to inspect plastic bags upon entry and/or exit, and to restrict entry or access to materials if you cannot comply with these guidelines. Personal books are allowed at the discretion of the reference librarians. If you have a phone, it must be kept on silent or vibrate.
Children under 13 must be supervised at all times by a parent and must be able to understand and obey all rules of the Reading Room. We encourage the use of primary sources for middle and high school students, and they are welcome to use our collections. However, use of any materials is contingent upon being able to provide a photo ID for issuance of a reading room pass. Therefore, middle and high school students who cannot produce a photo ID for admittance will have to use materials with a parent/adult who has appropriate identification.
Research materials may not be removed from the Lillian Goldman Reading Room and must be returned directly to a staff member. Archival boxes will be given to each researcher one at a time. Materials are to be used one folder at a time, keeping the folders flat on the table. The documents must be kept in order within folders, and the folders must be kept in order within the boxes. Researchers may use 2 books or 1 rare book at a time. Certain rare materials require appointments for viewing. Researchers may be required to use white cotton gloves, page turners, or book cradles while handling some items. These special handling considerations are at the discretion of the reference librarians. If microform or digitized copies of research materials are available, these will be provided rather than the originals.
Please note that some collections are subject to restrictions placed on the materials by donors, depositors, or staff.
The Center for Jewish History allows the use of flash-free personal digital photography in the Reading Room. Many archival collections and printed books cannot be photocopied due to fragility, and digital photography is often the only option for reproduction. Therefore, we strongly encourage all researchers to bring a camera, tablet, or smartphone. If you do not have a device capable of photography, you may borrow a camera from Reading Room staff. Please note that scanners are not permitted in the Reading Room.
The Center offers a digitization-on-demand service for entire eligible folders and boxes within archival collections as well as out-of-copyright books and periodicals. If you would like to make a request for the digitization of an item, please register here under "first time users" (or log into your existing account). Select "Photoduplication Request" under the "New Request" tab. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Center for Jewish History staff members are the final arbiters of what may be digitized or photocopied. Items may be restricted due to fragility, size, donor restrictions, or copyright. No more than one-third of any in-copyright publication may be reproduced.
THE COPYRIGHT LAW OF THE UNITED STATES (TITLE 17, U.S. CODE) GOVERNS THE MAKING OF PHOTOCOPIES OR OTHER REPRODUCTIONS OF COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS SPECIFIED IN THE LAW, LIBRARIES AND ARCHIVES ARE AUTHORIZED TO FURNISH A PHOTOCOPY OR OTHER REPRODUCTION. ONE OF THESE SPECIFIED CONDITIONS IS THAT THE PHOTOCOPY OR REPRODUCTION IS NOT TO BE "USED FOR ANY PURPOSE OTHER THAN PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP, OR RESEARCH." IF A USER MAKES A REQUEST FOR, OR LATER USES, A PHOTOCOPY OR REPRODUCTION FOR PURPOSES IN EXCESS OF "FAIR USE," THAT USER MAY BE LIABLE FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. THIS INSTITUTION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO ACCEPT A COPYING ORDER IF IN ITS JUDGEMENT, FULFILLMENT OF THE ORDER WOULD INVOLVE VIOLATION OF COPYRIGHT LAW.
Payment is only accepted in US Dollars. We accept online payment via credit card.
The Center provides computers for visitor use in the Lillian Goldman Reading Room and Genealogy Institute. Use of these computers is limited to:
Researchers may use their own laptop computers in the Lillian Goldman Reading Room and in the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute.
The Center's computers may not be used in any of these ways:
Staff and volunteers may help you access Internet sites, but the Center is not responsible for the accuracy of Internet information.
The Center is a special-purpose institution, committed principally to Jewish studies and genealogical research, and we have a limited number of computers; therefore, visitors should browse only Internet sites related directly to those special purposes.
The Center provides unfiltered Internet access. Users are responsible for accommodating themselves to the consequences of Constitutionally protected communication, even if they might observe or hear objectionable materials while on the Center's premises. We do ask our visitors to be considerate of others regarding any electronic views or sounds that may be disturbing to others.
Parents/legal guardians need to assume responsibility for determining what information resources they want their children to access. The Center assumes that parents/legal guardians have provided guidance to their children about Internet use.
The Center will not release information on the Internet use of any person using a Center computer; however, the Internet is not a secure medium and the Center has no control over the information that others may obtain regarding Internet use.
The Center reserves the right to limit or revoke all computer, Reading Room, and/or Center Genealogy Institute privileges for users who violate Center user policy.
The Lillian Goldman Reading Room and Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute do not accept donations of books or other collection materials. If you have materials you would like to donate to one of our partner collections, please contact the appropriate partner listed below. All donations are at the sole discretion of the partner; they will only accept donations within the scope of their individual collections.