Using the Archives

Reference & Research Options

The Jewish Public Library Archive is pleased to offer reference and research services to the public, whether in-person, by e-mail, or telephone. Please note that due to space restrictions, appointments must be scheduled ahead of time for physical visits.

For those unable to visit the Archives, send your research questions by email or regular mail. Archives staff can provide 30 minutes of research, primarily to advise on relevant records held by the Archives. Additional time will be charged hourly at a predetermined rate, according to our service fees.

If you would like research assistance beyond what the Archives is able to provide, we recommend hiring a professional researcher. The Archives can occasionally assist in locating a researcher, however the Archives is not able to answer questions about researcher availabilities, services, or charges.

If you are interested in obtaining copies of records, the Archives can provide a limited number of copies for a set service fee.

Esther Zipper, 1950s, JPL Photograph Collection, PR001074
Online Catalogue on the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network

To access records of our collection holdings and finding aids, please visit our database online at the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network The CJHN is a portal to a number of heritage collections. It is a partnership between the JPL Archives, the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives, the Montreal Holocaust Museum, as well as several other contributing members.

We wish to acknowledge the foundational digitization support provided by the Peter and Ellen Jacobs Virtual Archives Fund of the Jewish Public Library.

Tips for Searching Online
  • To search for archival material, we recommend beginning with a general keyword search in the CJHN’s search bar. This will return search results from all participating archives.
  • If you wish to limit your results to the Jewish Public Library Archives (JPL-A), select the “Advanced Search” button. Scroll to the “Repository” heading and select “Jewish Public Library Archives.”
  • The Browse Tabs at the top of the Advanced Search window can provide information and ideas about available content. Use these tabs in order to search for precise terms in the collections, including names, places, and subjects.
  • When reviewing your search results, you may wish to compile a list of material by clicking the “Select” Button. This is like bookmarking your favourites. It assembles a list which can be saved as a PDF, e-mailed, or printed. Once your selections have been made, view your list by clicking “Selections” in the main menu. Note that the Selections tool can be extremely useful when requesting material from the Archives. Simply send the list of records you have selected via e-mail to the Archivist.
  • Read the Search Help Page on the CJHN.
  • Please note that while some thumbnail images and PDF documents appear next to record listings, archival content cannot be downloaded from the CJHN; material must be requested directly from the repository.
Guidelines for Using the Archives
  1. The Archives are open to all interested members of the public during our regular business hours. Due to space restrictions, you must make an appointment ahead of your visit.
  2. The Archives provides workspace within our facilities for researchers.
  3. Archival material cannot be circulated.
  4. The Archives provides gloves for researchers handling delicate documents or photographs.
  5. Photocopying and scanning of documents and images is permitted at the discretion of the Archives. A nominal fee is applied for these services. The Archives conforms to all Canadian copyright and privacy laws. Permission must be granted by the JPL-A if a record is to be published in any format. If the JPL-A does not own the copyright, the researcher will need to secure permission from the legal copyright owner prior to publishing.
  6. Under certain circumstances, the Archive may allow digital photography. This is limited exclusively to textual documents for research and reference purposes only. The Archive does not permit the use of cameras to copy photographs or confidential records.
  7. Pen and ink may not be used around the records at any time.
  8. Food and drink is prohibited in the Archives.
  9. During winter months or severe weather, you may be asked to remove outer clothing and/or shoes before entering the Archives.