The Canadian Polish Research Institute was established in 1956 by Victor Turek, PhD, with the aim of preserving the history and experiences of the Polish Canadian community, while sharing its knowledge and collection through lectures, talks, exhibits, and publications.
This past year we saw increased activity at our Institute. We achieved a number of milestones that will help enhance our workings within the larger community. We made great strides in curating and reorganizing our library collection. Our next step will be to place our holdings in an online catalogue. This passed year we also launched our new website. This has streamlined our ability to disseminate our publications, improve access to our collection, and reach a wider audience. Our presence has also increased on social media. We regularly share information related to local, national, Polish, and Canadian history, libraries, and archives on our Twitter @theCPRI. Lastly, we have established new relationships with authors writing on the Polish-Canadian experience, and look forward to delivering new publications, including a follow-up publication to our very successful launch of In The Footsteps of Polish Pioneers on the Canadian Prairies.
Over the course of 2021, Gabriela and Michal Kasprzak have worked diligently at examining, organizing, and preserving the Institute’s library holdings. Our primary and secondary works can be broadly classified into some of the following categories: the history of Poles in Latin America, Middle East, and North America; literary publications by Polish-Canadians; Canadian publications on the topics of the Poles; the religious history of Canadian Polonia; memoirs; Polish-Canadian catalogues and almanacs; journals; and an images collection, just to name a few. Our next step will be to place our library collection in an online catalogue for public access through LibraryThing. This will be followed by the organization of the Institute’s archival holdings. The goal of our Institute is to have our collection publicly accessible.
Our Online Presence
Our new website was launched in June. The site is streamlined, easy to navigate, and offers access to our holdings, publications for purchase, and details related to our initiatives and projects. It is a new gateway to enter into the world of the Institute and to engage in a range of topics on Polish Canadians. As a result, our Institute has witnessed an increase in traffic from the previous year, leading to new members joining our community. We are pleased that this site will become an access point to our digital collection. We are also actively engaged on Twitter and Facebook. These allow us to engage with both the Polonia and broader Canadian society, including informing our followers about Canadian archives, local histories, and Polish archives
Membership & Support
The Institute has implemented a new strategy to identify potential members, supporters, and volunteers. As a result, we have increased our donations over 200% from the previous year. We especially want to recognize the incredible support that we have received from St. Stanislaus-St. Casimir Polish Parishes Credit Union, an institution with a long-standing history aligned with our mission statement to promote the Canadian Polish Community. We would also like to thank St. Mary’s Polish Parish, Toronto, for its support of our Institute over the last decade.
The Institute's Activities
The Institute is currently partnering with Polska360 on a project that seeks to establish a virtual museum related to the Second Corpus. We are also engaging with two new potential authors who are interested in publishing their works through our Institute.
Looking Forward to the Future
In 2022, the CPRI will begin to utilize its social media presence to share and educate the public on materials found in its holdings. We will begin the process of examining and organizing the backlog of our archival materials. We will be publishing the next work, In the Footsteps of Polish Settlers later this year. We look forward to expanding our membership base, to continue to increase our donations, and improving access to our materials.