This Week in JPL History

This Week in JPL History: The People of the Book set up a Temple of the Book… Twice

This Week in JPL History: The People of the Book set up a Temple of the Book… Twice

On October 19th, 1952 the cornerstone of what was to be the Library’s new home on 4499 Esplanade was laid. In front of a crowd of over a thousand Allan Bronfman delivered a moving speech on behalf of his brother Samuel. He spoke about the enduring Jewish spirit and traditions and the centrality of books. The speech ended with the line “Today as we dedicate this Library for its people, let us also dedicate its people for the Library.” Also within the walls of the new [...]



This Week in JPL History: Little Libraries!

This Week in JPL History: Little Libraries!

Little libraries are a trend that has been popping up in cities the world over. Typically housed in small quarters, beloved books are taken out by anyone, no membership needed! The general rule is to leave a book for every one taken out; this ensures the little library is dynamic and diverse, able to provide something for everyone. Providing accessibility to books has always been part of the mission of the JPL. It is clearly written in our mission statement that “The Library undertakes to [...]



This Week in JPL History: Ribbons, Permits, and Pool Rooms: Fundraising at the JPL

This Week in JPL History: Ribbons, Permits, and Pool Rooms: Fundraising at the JPL

In years past the JPL launched its annual campaign in September. An integral part of this campaign would have been tag days. Before there was Kickstarter and Indiegogo there were tag days. It was crowdsourcing long before crowdsourcing existed. Instead of funding projects from the outright ridiculous to the mundane, tag days were the on-the-ground fundraising mainstay of charitable causes. What is a tag day? During a tag day volunteers or ‘taggers’ are sent out by an organization to stand outside various locations throughout the [...]



This Week in JPL History: Please come in – the Library’s YIFO

This Week in JPL History: Please come in – the Library’s YIFO

From its founding the Jewish Public Library was intended to be more than merely a place where books lived. It was meant to be a place of reading and of education. In June of 1914, one month     after the founding of the library, Reuben Brainin proudly wrote “[a]fter much laborious work, and after persevering efforts and activity, I have succeeded in finally founding a Jewish Public Library and University.” The Yiddish People’s University (or YIFO) had its heyday in the 40’s and 50’s [...]



This Week in JPL History: Award-winning author Neil Bissoondath visits the JPL in 2006.

This Week in JPL History: Award-winning author Neil Bissoondath visits the JPL in 2006.

In 2006 the multiple award-winning author Neil Bisoondath visited the Library. The Trinidadian born author, who moved to Ontario at the age of 18, read from his fifth book, The Unyielding Clamour of the Night. The book is told from the point of view of a man who moves from the north of an unidentified island nation to the south. It explores life in a land torn apart by conflict, going beyond politics into the human drama behind the bombs. It won the Quebec Writers’ [...]



This Week in JPL History: Shanah Tovah!

This Week in JPL History: Shanah Tovah!

Did you know that… The Jewish Public Library was the first Jewish public library founded outside of Europe? In the Library’s earliest years, Board meetings sometimes became so heated they lasted late into the night, with debates and arguments spilling out onto Fletcher’s Field (now Jeanne-Mance Park)? An oral history interview recorded by the Archives gave one man’s grandchildren the opportunity to connect with him years after his passing? The Library organized a symposium on Jewish writers with Melech Ravitch, Ruth Roskies Wisse, Adele Wiseman, and [...]