Volunteer Spotlight on: Judy Tapiero

Judy Tapiero is volunteering to organize the Anne Adalman Goodwin Library of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. That’s what she did in her professional life – she was a library consultant.  She organized and set up libraries for companies and associations.

She has lived in Baltimore for 10 years. Born in England, she arrived in the United States in 1956 when her family moved to Scarsdale, NY, to be near New York City, in a community with good schools.  Her father, Oskar Rabinowicz was born in Aspern, Austria near Vienna. His family moved to a small town in Czechoslovakia, then moved to England when Hitler moved into Czechoslovakia. He had joined the Zionist movement while in college. He taught Byzantine history but then became a banker and scholar when he moved to England.  He wrote the book Winston Churchill on Jewish Problems: A Half Century Survey.  The book History of Jews in Czechoslovakia was dedicated to him.  Judy labeled him quite the Renaissance man. Her father wanted her to have a profession so she attended Brandeis University.  Her mother was an accomplished sculptor who exhibited her pieces and won juried competitions. She was also involved with Friends of the Hebrew University and their synagogue.

After college, Judy moved to Montreal with her husband but couldn’t work without a visa so she pursued the Library degree program at McGill University.  When they moved to the New York area she completed the Library degree program at Rutgers.  Along came their two children, so she volunteered at their synagogue and opened their library where she facilitated Library Hour at the synagogue school library.   Once the children were older, she began in Princeton then commuted to New York City to work, setting up libraries for consulting firms.

Judy Tapiero
Library Volunteer Judy hard at work!

Very few people do exactly what Judy does. She founded a consulting firm to organize and set up libraries that someone else then runs. Her goal is to make sure each library continues. She hones the collection to make it relevant to the mission of the organization.  At the JMM, she realizes that we cannot discard any Institutional Archives and that there is more and more digital information.  Library collections are changing and she wants to assure that everything is retained in its best form. Judy describes what she is doing at the JMM as a “labor of love.” It is taking a lot of time but she is glad to donate hers.  First, she has to review what is in the data base and compare it with the card catalog. Next, she reviews all of the cards to determine which are copies (each book has 4 – 5 cards, depending upon the description).  There is an author file, title file and subject file.  Her hardest task is determining single subject cards. She endeavors to reduce the card file by half, to eliminate duplications.  There are currently ~2500 volumes, plus Hebrew and Yiddish books that are now in English.

People are increasingly interested in library contents today because it has become so much easier to search. Judy adds that the The Robert L. Weinberg Family History Center for genealogy at the JMM is very good.  She looks forward to developing that more too.  She is attempting to make everything more user friendly so that more people will use it.

She suggests that the JMM library could use an infusion of new books. Before donating books elsewhere, she hopes that members and others will consider the JMM for books having to do with Judaism and Maryland – the books must have this connection to be of use to our collection.

Her greatest surprise in volunteering at the JMM has been her discovery of some unbelievable “treasures.”  In particular, she mentioned the books with colorful fold-out maps. She is also impressed by the Museum’s collection of rare books and hopes that one day they can be put on display so that visitors will be able to appreciate them too.

If anyone reading this has a love for books like Judy, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Ilene Cohen, as once this phase of the library project is completed, volunteers will be required to physically move things around.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.


jewish museum of maryland Volunteers

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