Visiting the American Jewish Archives
Home » About » Plan a Visit

Plan a visit to the AJA

The renovated Barrows-Loebelson Family Reading Room at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) opened in the spring of 2004.

Located in the former Bernheim Library, the first home of the Hebrew Union College Library on its Clifton campus, the reading room is designed to combine the charm and intimacy of the original 1912 reading room with the conveniences of modern electronic information technology.

The reading room is the public gateway to the vast resources of the American Jewish Archives. When coming to the reading room, researchers are assisted by The Marcus Center’s professional archival staff and have access to the amenities of this wonderful facility.

We strongly encourage prospective researchers to write, call, or e-mail the Marcus Center staff in advance of any visit to determine whether the AJA contains material relevant to their topic. We will check our holdings and provide an assessment of the quantity and composition of any applicable documents.

Once researchers arrive, they will be asked to furnish identification and asked to complete a research application form. An archivist will meet with the researcher to explain our collection as well as the AJA's procedures and services.

DIRECTIONS TO THE AJA: See map on our Contact page »
AJA Reading Room

Benefactors of the Barrows-Loebelson Family Reading Room

Dr. Emil Barrows (1913-1994), noted Cincinnati physician, and his wife Winnie (1919-2008), were beloved friends of Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus and longtime supporters of the American Jewish Archives. To honor his memory, Winnie Barrows and their family provided a magnificent gift for the renovation and refurbishment of the Bernheim Library's Reading Room. Renamed as The Barrows-Loebelson Family Reading Room, this area has been transformed into a beautiful and technologically advanced research center for study and learning.

Hours & Parking

Hours of Operation and Parking

The Barrows-Loebelson Family Reading Room is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Thursday and 9:00am to 3:00pm on Friday. Scheduled closings will appear on the AJA event calendar. In the case of inclement weather, please check the HUC-JIR Cincinnati webpage.

Visitors may use HUC-JIR's front parking lot, facing Clifton Ave, at no charge.

Access for the Vistors with Disabilities

Access for Visitors with Disabilities

We strive to make all visitors welcome at the AJA.  Our facility is in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Design.  There are accessible parking spots adjacent to the front entrance, there are no steps at the front entrance, and there is an elevator available just inside on the lobby level. In addition, thanks to a generous  donation from the Rockwern Foundation, the AJA’s reading room is equipped with software to assist the visually impaired.  If you need assistance due to a disability, please let us know so that we can accommodate you.

Reading Room Policies

Reading Room Rules & Policies

Upon arriving at the American Jewish Archives researchers should check in with the staff member at the entryway to the Barrows-Loebelson Family Reading Room.

  • First time visitors will be asked to fill out an Application for Research (you can download this application and fill it out prior to coming to the AJA).
  • Visitors are asked to sign in everyday in the reading room log.
  • All belongings must be put into lockers located in the hallway near the reading room, except for the following items:
    • Paper
    • Pencils
    • Laptops without cases
    • Books needed for research
  • Pens, food, drinks, book bags, purses etc. are not permitted in the reading room.
  • Talking on cell phones is not permitted in the reading room.
  • Researchers will only have access to four (4) boxes of material at a time.
  • Please note that some collections are restricted at the request of the donor and cannot be shown to researchers.
  • Research materials MUST remain in the reading room at all times.
  • Researchers are asked to handle all items with care as many items are fragile and can be easily damaged.
  • Photocopies may be obtained by filling out a photocopy request form. Please see our Policies & Fees page for details. 
  • Researchers wishing to use digital cameras to capture images must fill out a form located at the reference desk and receive permission from the archival staff. Use of flash equipment is not allowed.
  • Requests for permission to publish materials must be obtained from the archival staff. Please see our Publication and Use Policy on the Policies & Fees page.

Reading Room Wireless Connection and Computer Policies

Wireless and hardwire internet connectivity is provided for all researchers. Please feel free to ask for assistance in connecting. The Barrows-Loebelson Family Reading Room has one public access computer connected to the internet. We limit use of this computer to browsing the AJA Online Catalog and website or for quick internet searches related to research.