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Our Library's History
The library’s exact origins have been blurred by the mists of time.
The earliest accession record – the predecessor to a withdrawal slip – still on file is for a children’s biography published in 1959 (“The Uncommon Soldier: Major Alfred Mordecai,” by Robert D. Abrahams, about a Jew from North Carolina who graduated from West Point in 1823 but resigned his commission rather than fight in the Civil War).
What little else is known is that the library was for many years a project of the Sisterhood, which saw to its management and funded its acquisitions until the late 1970s.
By then, however, the library had fallen into disrepair and disuse. Hidden away in a damp corner of the ground floor (near the present location of the rabbi’s office), its metal bookshelves had rusted from frequent flooding.
Sam and Esther Lampert changed all that.
Seeking to honor the memory of their late son, Alan, the Lamperts acted on the suggestion of then-Rabbi Perry Rank – a dynamo who catalyzed the synagogue’s rejuvenation in the 1980s – by underwriting the library’s complete renovation and relocation in 1983. The newly dedicated Alan Lampert Memorial Library took over a dry, warm classroom; the metal shelves gave way to attractive wood bookcases.
But the Lamperts’ initial gift was just the beginning of their support. Sam and Esther have sustained the library ever since, allowing it to grow, to sponsor outstanding authors as speakers, and to participate in the annual convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries.
And when the synagogue building underwent a major renovation, the Lampert family again stepped up, spearheading a fundraising campaign to fit out the library’s new space with heavy-duty shelving, carpeting, and attractive tables and chairs.
The new and improved Alan Lampert Memorial Library was rededicated in January 2000.