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Visiting 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.

The faculty, staff, and students of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, as well as researchers, genealogists, and laypersons from around the country and the world come to the reading room to study the holdings of the American Jewish Archives.

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.

Reading Room Rules and 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 price list.
  • 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.

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.

Access for the Visually Impaired

Through the generous donation of the Rockwern Charitable Foundation, the Barrows-Loebelson Family Reading Room is equipped with software and equipment to provide greater accessibility to our materials for persons with visual impairments

Local Restaurants

A list of local area restaurants that are within walking distance of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center is available.

Lodging and Accommodations

There are several housing options located near the AJA, be sure to inquire about an HUC-JIR discount. The following list is provided for your convenience.

  • HUC-JIR Sisterhood Dormitory

    Contact Ms. Gail Madden, (513) 487-3235. Limited availability.

  • Hampton Inn
    3034 Vine St.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45219

    Contact (513) 281-2700. Located 0.8 miles from the AJA.

  • Kingsgate Marriott
    151 Goodman Ave
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45219

    Contact (513) 487-3800. Located 1.5 miles away from the AJA.

  • Holmes on Eden
    234 Goodman St.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45219

    Contact (513) 584-7751. Located 2 miles from the AJA.

  • Comfort Inn & Suites
    130 West Mitchell Ave.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45217

    Contact (513) 242-1010. Located 5 miles from the AJA.

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.