PJ Library was created by philanthropist Harold Grinspoon, who found inspiration in country singer Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which distributes books nationally to families with young children. In winter 2005, Grinspoon started sending Jewish books to 200 children in Western Massachusetts, where he lives. Since then, PJ Library in the United States and Canada has grown to nearly 140,000 subscribers throughout North America.
Today, PJ Library is an expanding global community linked by shared stories and values that spans twelve countries on five continents.
In 2011, PJ Library launched its first international programme, in New South Wales, Australia, in partnership with the Shalom Institute. PJ Library in Australia subscribers receive the same lineup of books as children in the United States and Canada, creating a shared Jewish experience across the globe. A community in Singapore also has a thriving programme that utilises the North America PJ Library lineup.
Children in the United Kingdom receive many of these same books and are enthralled by these stories. Launched in March 2015, PJ Library in the UK offers selections from the North America lineup that are most relevant and culturally appropriate to British families. The UK team is based in London at JHub, West Hampstead.
As with oceans, language is no barrier to growing the PJ Library family. In 2013, PJ Library in Spanish launched in Mexico. In March 2016, PJ Library in Spanish became available in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Uruguay in collaboration with ten local organisations. Universidad Hebraica in Mexico City is the implementing partner for all Latin America programmes, which feature Spanish translations of beloved PJ Library titles.
In late 2015, PJ Library in Russian launched in Moscow, Russia. In September 2016, we’ll be expanding our Russian programme to families in St. Petersburg and other cities in Russia. This lineup features Russian translations of PJ Library favourites in addition to native Russian titles that link PJ Library to Russia’s rich literary history.
PJ Library’s sister programme in Israel, Sifriyat Pijama, distributes books in Hebrew through preschools and daycare centres to more than 340,000 children.
PJ Library is a truly international programme – tailored to meet the diverse needs of families around the world and powered by the magic of storytelling.