Jennie Maas Flexner

Jennie Maas Flexner’s sympathy for self-taught and adult learners drove her to create innovative reading lists for adults embarking on a new life or second career.Flexner graduated public school but did not attend college. She began working at the Louisville Public Library at age twenty-six, and in 1908 studied at the School of Library Science at Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She returned as head of the circulation department at the Louisville Public Library from 1912–1928, publishing Circulation Work in Libraries in 1927. In 1928 she became the readers’ adviser at the New York Public Library, commenting in a 1938 article, “I am especially interested in assisting those readers who [use] … constructive reading as a basis for further education. People come to a realization of gaps in their education, [and] … they are aware that they can go farther both in life and in work, if they know more.” She created individualized reading plans, advised the unemployed about job training opportunities, and helped the wave of immigrants fleeing Europe in the 1930s find resources in their new country. In 1943 she published Making Books Work: A Guide to the Use of Libraries, a guide for ordinary readers.

Topics: Libraries

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Date of Birth

Louisville, KY
United States

Date of Death
Librarian, Writer

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jennie Maas Flexner ." (Viewed on April 17, 2021) <>.


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