RVCC Rededicates Hirsch Research Library with Added Focus on Racism

Friday, December 18, 2020
Hirsch library

As part of Raritan Valley Community College’s ongoing efforts to promote diversity and combat the roots of Racism, the College’s Morris and Dorothy Hirsch Research Library of Holocaust and Genocide Studies has been rededicated as “The Morris and Dorothy Hirsch Research Library of The Holocaust, Genocide, and Racism.”

The Library’s renaming and collection expansion is thanks to the support and generosity of Dr. Paul Hirsch of Bridgewater, a former Chairman of the RVCC Board of Trustees and a Board Member since 1986.

“This rededication means really a great deal to [my son] Jeremy and to me. We’re happy to provide support for the expansion of Library resources related to Racism. It enhances the mission of the Library. It will make it increasingly meaningful, we believe, in the life of our College and of our community,” said Dr. Hirsch during a recent virtual rededication ceremony.

Dr. Hirsch’s initial vision was to build a Research Library recognizing the Holocaust and other Genocides as an important educational resource for students and the greater RVCC community. The Library, which was first dedicated in September 1996, is located on the second floor of the College’s larger Evelyn S. Field Library. Since then, the Research Library’s book collection has grown from 170 titles in 1997 to 1,317 titles in 2020, with an extensive assortment of materials on the Holocaust, genocides, and diversity. The Library houses books, a video collection, and other reference materials for research and study as well as an area for classroom instruction. Thousands of books have been circulated to students, faculty, K-12 teachers, and the community.

With the new name, Dr. Hirsch is helping to expand the Library’s collection to include books and other media on Racism. The new collection will be curated with the help of an advisory group working in concert with the College’s librarians.

“After the Holocaust, the world said ‘never again’ to genocide. But genocide happened again and again, and the repeated underlying cause in virtually every instance is Racism,” said Dr. Hirsch. “Racism harms us all. It’s our hope that this Library will be a place to learn about and consider Racism—not only its role in genocide and international human rights violations, but right here, in our lives, in our own community.”

“Events like the Holocaust and the many, many genocides that have occurred don’t take place without, at their foundation, Racism. We can’t have a conversation about these horrors without also talking about the Racism that started them. And make no mistake, Racism is a conversation we need to have,” said Jeremy Hirsch.

“We need to have those talks, as uncomfortable as they may be, in order to address these issues and work on finding solutions. My hope is that this rededicated Library can be a place where students, faculty, and community members can meet—safely, of course—and start to have some of those conversations and use the resources available to make changes that will last for generations to come,” Jeremy Hirsch continued.

Highlighting Dr. Hirsch’s important role at RVCC for more than three decades, Board of Trustees Chair Robert P. Wise said, “Paul’s valued leadership has helped shape the growth and direction of the College. His concern for the quality of student life has had a profound impact on RVCC’s culture of caring. His vision and determination have enabled the College to expand its reach and influence beyond Hunterdon and Somerset counties to students and educators throughout New Jersey. And now, through his generosity, our Library can be a source of knowledge and strength in combatting Racism.”

Praising Dr. Hirsch’s contributions to the College, RVCC President Dr. Michael J. McDonough said his “tenure provides a rich and very revealing portrait of his character, of who Paul Hirsch is and how he cares about this institution. Dr. Hirsch has been, and continues to be, a compassionate advocate and an eloquent champion for our College, and much more importantly, for our students. Paul simply offers a model of engaged citizenship.”

Calling the rededicated Library a “touching tribute to Paul’s parents,” for whom the Library is named, “and a reminder of Paul’s profound influence on this College,” Dr. McDonough said, “it is literally a living library of research materials that reflects our fundamental value of inclusion and our institutional mission to educate engaged, empathetic citizens.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 18, 2020

Media contact: Donna Stolzer, 908-526-1200, ext. 8383

PR #43