May 26, 2022

Digitization: Montreal's Jewish Public Library Yiddish Audio Collection to Go Digital

From The Canadian Jewish News

Thousands of hours of Yiddish audio books and literary programming taped at the Jewish Public Library (JPL) from at least the early 1950s are about to enter the digital age.


The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., has embarked on a two-year project to remaster and digitize these cassettes and older reel-to-reel tapes and put them online where they may be heard free of charge anywhere in the world.

“We believe this to be the world’s largest remaining collection of unabridged recordings of modern Yiddish literature,” said the book centre’s founder and president Aaron Lansky about the audio books. And they were all produced by dedicated Montreal volunteers.

The recorded lectures, readings and interviews bring alive the voices of such literary luminaries as Chaim Grade, Itzik Manger, Rokhl Korn, Avraham Sutzkever and Sholem Asch to name a few.

“In most cases, these are the only known audio recordings of these writers,” Lansky said.


The recordings will go online unedited and in real time, accompanied by written text. The JPL will be given both raw and MP3 files to preserve in its archives.

In addition to the centre’s website, the recordings will be available, also without charge, through Apple’s iTunesU and downloadable to a portable device. The first recordings are expected to be online this summer, even as the recovery continues.

Read the Complete Article

Learn More About the Jewish Public Library in Montreal

Note: The Internet Archive is helping the Yiddish Book Center digitize books. See this letter by Aaron Lansky.

See Also: Israel Broadcasting Authority Gives Public Access to Archival Treasures (January 30, 2012)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.