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 provide, without bias, access to materials in print and non-print form, Archives, and any and all special collections that will provide the necessary sources of information and research.”

This letter was sent from Internment Camp B (later Camp No. 70) by a Jewish refugee and POW requesting pharmacy textbooks.

For many years, the JPL provided various Montreal institutions with their own little libraries. In the Jewish Public Library Fonds, the JPL-A holds correspondence from Montreal hospitals, local centres for the elderly, Canadian synagogues, and Canada’s World War II Internment camps,. What these institutions and people all share in common is a thirst for knowledge and recognition of the JPL as a reputable source to aid in the accessibility of books and education.

This dedication to accessibility carries on today through our Books on Wheels program — a shut-in service for members who are unable to visit the Library. Members of the program either request specific books, or our librarians pick titles for them that are then delivered by a volunteer. By ensuring that all members of the community can get their hands on books, the library is able to become more than just the library, a building, but become the library, a community.

For more information on this service and how you can get involved helping to deliver these books, please contract our Circulation Desk at 514-345-2627 x3003.

The This Week in Jewish Public Library History blog series was made possible through the generous support of the Peter and Ellen Jacobs Virtual Archives Fund.

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