The library, an integral part of the Taras Shevchenko Museum, comprises a unique multilingual Shevchenkiana collection of approximately 1400 books and pamphlets; Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian periodicals; about 100 books on Ukrainian immigration to Canada; encyclopedias; and reference books on Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian history, culture, and folk and fine arts.
The Shevchenkiana collection consists biographical material about Taras Shevchenko, a vast collection of scholarly critiques, and analyses of Shevchenko’s literary and artistic works. The pride of the museum library is its two major collections: the Kobzar collection and the Ovcharenko collection.
The Kobzar collection comprises Taras Shevchenko’s works of poetry and prose and has 140 different editions of his Kobzar from 1886 up to the present day. Although the Museum library does not have the very first edition of Shevchenko’s Kobzar (consisting of eight poems, St. Petersburg, 1840), it does have exceptionally fine facsimile copies.
Among the various titles in the Kobzar collection are Kobzar- Haidamaky, illustrated by Opanas Slastion (St. Petersburg, 1886); Kobzar (St. Petersburg, 1886); Kobzar, published by Kievskaya starina (Kyiv, 1899); the famous 1921 Simovych Kobzar with its valuable notes; the Ukrainian-Canadian centennial tribute to Shevchenko (Winnipeg, 1914); and the very first Kobzar, published in Canada by Prosvita (Winnipeg, 1918).
The Ovcharenko collection comprises 300 books and pamphlets, including some rare editions which were donated to the Museum in 1989 by Oleh Ovcharenko. This collection also includes various editions of Kobzar, as well as works of literary criticism and miniature books.
The Museum’s ever-expanding library is an extensive and rich source of reference material of value to scholarly research and education and to the preservation of Ukrainian heritage.