A new leaf for Tycher Library at the JCC

By Deb Silverthorn

Book lovers have more opportunities than ever to access the Tycher Library at the Aaron Family JCC. The pandemic has given rise to new opportunities to check out print titles, audiobooks and a gallery of e-books. 

“We’re beyond excited to have our existing patrons, and we hope new guests as well, to be able to check books out from wherever they are,” said Karen Schlosberg, Center for Jewish Education Adult Education and Tycher Library manager. “We have definitely missed being able to share our wonderful catalog, and now, whether people come in to pick up a physical book or check out an e-book, we can share the incredible wealth of Jewishly curated content.”

The library is part of the Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Its mission, “to inspire lifelong Jewish learning through programming and resources that provide a rich understanding of Jewish life and culture,” has continued throughout the past 21 months. The library has been closed since March 2020 and is just now reopening, but there is no walk-in service; appointments are necessary. While it has been closed to in-person activities, the library’s fall and spring reads, monthly book club and other special programming have gone virtual.

Online access

The library’s more than 100 e-books and audiobooks can be checked out via an online account. The online materials can be checked out for two weeks, print books for three weeks and DVDs for one week with extensions possible if there is no waitlist. Online e-book availability was launched in late October of this year.

“I’m so glad for this online opportunity which allows us to open our ‘walls’ and expand our audience,” said Tycher Librarian Linda Blasnik. “I was a dedicated physical book reader forever, but I will say that the e-books have me learning to read again in a whole new way and I absolutely appreciate the format. I’m definitely now a hybrid-reader.”

Available for download to almost any electronic device are recent and classic titles, including Jennifer Weiner’s “Big Summer,” the books of Maggie Anton’s series “Rashi’s Daughters” and James Grymes’ “Violins of Hope,” which was featured as a virtual event. Some e-books can be checked out by more than one user at a time; others only allow a single download. A waitlist is available for those.

The Tycher team has created a written tutorial for users and a video guide is in development. As pandemic guidelines allow, library staff will visit senior living facilities around the community to assist users in signing on.

In-person access

The Tycher Library has permanently relocated to the senior lounge at the JCC. In-person visits to select books are available by appointment. Books can also be checked out online and picked up at the J. 

Mollye Fleschman, also a Tycher librarian, is eager to stay connected with the library’s patrons. Fleschman says “no matter where our audience is, we can bring them incredible electronic reads.

“It’s great to be able to reach across a geographical divide,” she said, “as it doesn’t matter what ZIP code a person is ‘visiting’ us from.”

So much more than the walls that make up the library are the programs, the adult education and the connections throughout the community.

“The opportunities to grow ourselves — and to help our community grow — are so special,” said Schlosberg. “The commitment, the learning and sharing to support us all is really incredible and we’re thrilled to share it here at home and far and wide.”

To register for an e-collection account, visit tinyurl.com/Tycher-Library-Registration. To speak to a library representative, contact tycherlibrary@jewishdallas.org. 

For additional information or to support the Tycher Library, email kschlosberg@jewishdallas.org.

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