Page 60 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 15

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52
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
proudly called in the settlements are at best only ambitious
beginnings.
Others, like the library at K far Giladi, or the Haim Sereni
Library at Givat Brenner, contain upwards of 20,000 volumes
each. A t Degania, the A. D. Gordon Institute of Natural Science
has 18,000. In some instances, splendid large collections have
fallen victim to political difference of opinion, as at Ain Harod
and Ashdod Yaakov, where the splitting up of the village between
two factions resulted also in the division of the existing library
into separate units.
A private survey, which the writer conducted among a dozen
representative libraries outside the urban areas, revealed a num­
ber of interesting facts. Queried as to the adequacy of the available
physical facilities, all but one replied they were ample, or just
about adequate. Several proudly responded that a special building
had been constructed expressly for the kibbutz library. Even a
casual review of the library quarters in the cities, on the other
hand, is enough to indicate that almost none is properly or
adequately housed.
The nature of the settlement libraries is varied. Very few laid
claim to any specialized collection save the natural science collec­
tion at Degania. One colony was proud of its special section on
chess.
In all but one center, Hebrew was by far the predominant lan­
guage of the collection. The percentage, however, ranged widely
from 99% , 97% and 75% down to 64% and 59%. As a general
rule, books in English took second place, with percentages ranging
from 20 down to 11, 10 and 9. German and Russian vied with
each other for third place, depending on the country of birth of
the local populace. Yiddish straggled last.
Most of the colonies, however, when queried as to what sort of
books they would most like to receive, surprisingly enough, asked
for Yiddish. Since the young generation in the kibbutzim and
moshavim know no Yiddish at all, and since the language is not
taught, it may be surmised either that some of the old-timers
still have nostalgic longings, or, more likely, that the recent in­
flux of new immigrants from Europe, of which the settlements are
taking their share, has caused a renewed demand for reading matter
in a language familiar to the newcomers.
A composite listing of the other categories most in demand by
the farm village libraries is heterogeneous. Many are interested
in belles-lettres in all languages; books on pedagogy and on
agriculture are also wanted. A rt and archaeology, natural and