Public library services to new immigrants in Israel: The case of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and Ethiopia

Snunith Shoham, Rachell Rabinovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study analyzes the services public libraries in Israel provide to two groups of immigrants: immigrants from the FSU and Ethiopia, and researches how these two groups use the libraries. Questionnaires were completed by 319 library users, ages 14–30, from both ethnic groups and by 45 directors of libraries, located in neighborhoods with a concentration of these two ethnic groups. It was found that many more services were provided within the multicultural approach and less is done within the “melting pot” approach. Significant differences were found between special services offered to Ethiopian immigrants as opposed to those from the FSU. Many more libraries offer books in Russian and employ librarians who speak Russian compared to the few Amharic speakers. Also, special services for new immigrants were provided in more libraries for immigrants from the FSU than for immigrants from Ethiopia. These differences can be explained by the size of the two communities, the availability of materials (there are many books in Russian as compared to a lack of Amharic literature), and the availability of librarians from these ethnic groups. Immigrants from Ethiopia require the library to study and prepare school assignments, and find themselves spending more time in the reference library, while immigrants from the FSU borrow more books. Both groups use the public library in Israel more than they did in their countries of origins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-42
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Information and Library Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'Public library services to new immigrants in Israel: The case of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and Ethiopia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this