Page 107 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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T H E Y I V O L I B R A R Y
B
y
D
in a
A
bramow icz
A
l i b r a r y
a n d
a r c h i v e s
were an integral part of the Yiddish
Scientific Institute-YIVO, from its very inception (the name
was changed to YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in 1956). In a
paper outlining the organization of the future Institute,1Nokhum
Shtif pointed out the necessity to create a library or special
departmental libraries serving the four main sections of the Insti-
tute. During the Berlin preconference on the Institute on August
7-12, 1925, it was decided to create a bibliographic center, attached
to the Section of Philology. The center would be a depository and
registration point for the Yiddish book and newspaper produc-
tion, and would also collect pertinent publications in other
languages. The library was originally planned as an adjunct to
the bibliographic center, registering current printed matter. The
reason for this limitation was stated in a report submitted two
years later:2 it was simply lack of financial means, a problem
YIVO had to contend with from its very beginning. Subsequent
developments, however, primarily the tremendous response the
YIVO elicited among broad strata of the Jewish population, led
to a rapid expansion of the YIVO library coverage. This is how
it happened: the materials for the bibliographic registration
center were supplied by a network of correspondents spread all
over Poland and several neighboring countries. These corres-
pondents, many quite alert and all of them very dedicated
friends of YIVO, began to send not only current publications
but also older material, often of great historical or literary value.
The Organizing Committee of the YIVO soon realized it must
utilize this opportunity of collecting valuable materials which
otherwise might be lost. It launched a program of collecting
material of literary and historical value wherever and whenever
it was published, stating as its rationale: “The understanding of
the term ‘contemporary history’ (
tsayt-geshikhte)
was lacking
among Jews of past epochs . . . leading to irretrievable losses of
1D i Organizatsiye fun der Y idisher Visnshaft,
Vilna, 1925, p. 28.
2
Tsvey Yor A rb e t fa r dem Yidishn Visnshaftlekhn In s t itu t , 1925-27,
Vilna,
1927, p. 16.
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