Librarian Highlight: Michelle Chesner


Librarian: Michelle Chesner

Title: Librarian for Jewish Studies

Subject specialties: Hebrew, Yiddish, Israel, Jewish Studies

Contact info:, 212 854 8046, 304 Lehman Library, International Affairs Building

Library: Area Studies

@ Columbia Libraries Since: 2010

Education Info: B.A History, University of Maryland; M.A. Hebrew and Jewish Studies, NYU; M.L.I.S. Long Island University

About me: "My personal interests lie in the field of rare Hebraica, specifically Hebrew incunabula, those first books printed just after the invention of the printing press through 1501.  I’m so excited to work with Columbia’s incredible Hebrew manuscript collection (the second-largest in the country) and the many other treasures I’ve recently discovered throughout the library."

What’s new at my library: Me!  I’m Columbia’s first Librarian for Jewish Studies.  We’ve also recently purchased:

  1. The Bar-Ilan Responsa Project, a full-text database of pretty much all Jewish religious texts, from the Torah to 20th century responsa
  2. The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (online and in print), a critical work which is the first of its kind
  3. Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, a fantastic resource with over 50,000 hours of video interviews of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust.  We are the only location in NYC to host this archive

Personal Favorite: RAMBI – The Index of Articles in Jewish Studies, a catalog produced by The Jewish National and University Library (now the National Library of Israel), which indexes articles across many books and journals relating to Jewish Studies.  It’s a great way to search for Jewish Studies articles, and often yields resources in unexpected places.

Recommended Resources: