The BJE's media centre began in 1971, with the appointment of a full-time director of educational services, whose responsibilities included developing a collection of audio-visual materials, providing audio-visual services to affiliated schools, developing the BJE's pedagogic library, and assisting teachers in the preparation of educational materials. In the mid-1970s, responsibility for the pegadogic library was transferred to the BJE senior consultant, and the director of educational services became the director of the Media Resources Centre. By 1980, the media centre's collection had grown to over 5,000 items.
In the early 1980s, discussion began between the BJE and CJC Ontario Region on developing an integrated media centre in the new Lipa Green Building for Jewish community services, where both organizations moved in 1983. The CJC had their own media services department and a small collection of audio-visual materials, which they used to provide similar services as those offered by the BJE Media Resources Centre, to Jewish schools and adult education groups outside of Toronto. The BJE media centre had previously provided assistance to the CJC media services department on an informal basis.
The first meeting of the Joint Media Centre Committee -- soon renamed the Toronto Jewish Media Centre (TJMC) Committee -- took place on 3 June 1983. The committee consisted of four representatives from the BJE and three from CJC Ontario Region. The TJMC was formally described as a joint project of the BJE and the Toronto Jewish Congress' Jewish Cultural Council, which, in turn, was a joint committee of the TJC and CJC Ontario Region. The CJC's Educational and Cultural Committee was responsible for distributing and delivering materials to communities outside of Toronto, while the TJMC was responsible for managing the media collections and offering services to schools within Toronto.
The TJMC's activities included those previously performed by the BJE and CJC media centres, as well as such community projects as tape-recording public talks sponsored by other organizations, and organizing film festivals. The Toronto Jewish Film Society was an outgrowth of these festivals. By the late 1980s, the TJMC's formal structure, with representation from both the BJE and CJC, had ended and committee members were chosen based on their committment to the committee's goals of encouraging the use of audio-visual materials in the classroom and in support of community events. Representatives from the Toronto Jewish Cultural Council and the Jewish Public Library also sat on the committee.
During the 1990s, lack of funding prevented the TJMC from pursuing its broader activities in the community, and it again focused on assisting teachers, providing media services to schools, and supporting the CJC Ontario Region's programs for providing audio-visual materials to smaller communities. In 2006, the Toronto Jewish Media Centre became part of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto's new Latner Centre for Jewish Knowledge and Learning, along with the Holocaust Education and Memorial Centre of Toronto, the Jewish Information Service of Greater Toronto, the Jewish Public Library, and the Ontario Jewish Archives.
Scope and Content
The series documents the formation of the Toronto Jewish Media Centre Committee in the early 1980s, its fundraising efforts for the media centre, and the media centre's work through the 1980s and early 1990s in providing audio-visual materials and media services to Jewish schools and community groups in Ontario. The series consists of meeting minutes, correspondence and memoranda, and newspaper clippings documenting the media centre and the film festivals sponsored by the committee. The series also includes catalogues of media centre holdings.