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Virtual display celebrates the 20th anniversary of library’s Polonia Collection

Polonia Virtual Collection

The Leddy Library is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Polonia Collection, a unique cultural collection initiated by the generous funds of the Polish Community in Windsor, with a virtual display.

In the summer of 2000, members of the local Polish social club sought to support a book fund after noting a lack of reference material documenting the contemporary history of Poland, its culture, and its role in the fight to destroy Soviet communism in Europe.

By that fall, the Polonia Centre presented the Leddy Library with the first donation to begin building the Polonia Collection and worked with librarians to identify 48 items that would act as a starting point for the collection.

The generous act has since become a noble tradition of the Polish Club to support the Windsor community by investing in the education of youth. Each year the club generously provides funding to expand the collection and over the 20 years relationship, the total amount donated has exceeded $56,500.

“This very generous donation has enabled us to purchase nearly 1200 items in English language on Poland.” said University Librarian, Pascal Calarco.

The collection features an assortment of material relating to social, cultural, and economic issues of contemporary Poland and allowed for a collection material to support research on Polish history. Each year the Library acquires material that reflects a variety of disciplines and viewpoints to provide a holistic and diverse view of Poland and the Polish people to add to the collection.

“Leddy Library now has one of the best collections on Polonia in the province,” said Calarco. “Perhaps rivaling the Slavic and Eastern European Studies collection at the University of Toronto, for coverage of recently published materials on Poland.”

The collection not only serves to promote and preserve the very strong and vibrant Polish heritage in Windsor and Essex County but also provides significant support University of Windsor students and faculty in their learning, course work and research

In addition to the collection, the Library has partnered with the Polonia Centre of Windsor to host numerous events and exhibits at the library and was gifted a special edition facsimile of the 1791 Constitution of Poland in 2018.

The library looks forward to supporting future initiatives to expand the collection, including a recent digitization of Kronika Tygodniowa, a Polish-language weekly newspaper originating in 1942 to include the digital archives.