A Chimney on the Canadian Prairies: Yiddish-Language Libraries in Western Canada, 1900 to the Present
Keywords:Yiddish library, Yiddish books, Yiddish collection, Jewish books
Yiddish book culture did and does exist in Western Canada, even outside the vibrant Jewish culture of Winnipeg, in communities whose geographic isolation from the Yiddish-speaking centers may seem extreme. Two libraries may serve as examples of the variety of manifestations of Yiddish reading in these localities: the library of the farm community of Edenbridge, Saskatchewan, which may be said to be emblematic of cultural organization in these rural colonies, which existed from before World War I until the 1960s; and the Kirman Library at the Vancouver Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture, itself an unusual example of a Yiddish secular school, which is now the last specifically Yiddish library in Western Canada. Finally, the meaning of Yiddish books in these independent libraries, far from institutional support or a critical mass of Jews, is examined.
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