The Objectives of the National Library are to collect, preserve, cultivate and endow the treasures of knowledge, heritage and culture in general, with an emphasis on the Land of Israel, the State of Israel and the Jewish people in particular.
(In accordance with the “National Library Law 2007” and the regulations of the National Library Co. Ltd (CC):
• To collect, preserve and cultivate the treasures of knowledge, the heritage and the culture of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people, including the expansion and enhancement of the Library’s collections;
• To serve as a home for the collections, archives, manuscripts, documents, maps, music and other audio treasures, graphic creations, audiovisual creations and electronic documents, as well as other items of unique national, historic or cultural significance;
• To allow the public, in Israel and elsewhere, proper and reasonable access to the Library’s collections through a variety of channels, among them advanced technological means;
• To serve as Israel’s central research library in its areas of expertise, in accordance with its objectives, as well as serving as the university research library in the humanities fields, especially Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern studies and Islamic studies;
• To display permanent and changing exhibitions of collections to the public, including borrowed collections;
• To provide cultural, literary and educational activities, geared towards the general public as well as specific audiences, including students;
• To grant professional guidance in its fields of expertise, as fit, in accordance with its objectives, including the management of libraries at institutions of higher learning, Israel’s public libraries and libraries in Jewish communities outside of Israel;
• To maintain professional ties with national libraries, public libraries and archives as well as cultural and educational institutions outside Israel;
• To serve as a haven for the culture of books, including encouraging research in this realm and housing the Museum of the Book;
• To maintain and operate an infrastructure that allows, among other things, suitable study, documentation, storage, preservation, presentation and research conditions.
The National Library of Israel was established by law to "collect, preserve, cultivate and endow the treasures of knowledge, heritage and culture in general, with an emphasis on the Land of Israel, the State of Israel and the Jewish people in particular."
With that mission in mind, the National Library has set out on the journey of rebuilding, restructuring and upgrading itself. The goal is to craft an institution at the frontier of information and cultural ingenuity, in the core areas that the law has entrusted. The National Library seeks to play a defining role in the cultural life of all Israeli citizens, from all communities and faiths, and to reach those audiences around the world that may be interested in Israel and Judaism. Working with partners in the fields of information and content, the National Library makes a vital contribution to the international effort to preserve and promote the treasures of humankind’s cultural heritage.
The National Library of Israel was founded in 1892 as a world center for the preservation of Jewish thought and culture. In 1925, it became the main library of the newly opened Hebrew University, and was known at the time as the Jewish National and University Library (JNUL).
As a result of the recommendations of an international advisory committee convened in 1998, and the conclusions of the Zamir Committee for Changing the Status of the National Library, published in 2004, the Israeli Knesset enacted the National Library Law of 2007. This law granted the National Library independent legal status as of January 1, 2011, and extended the National Library's responsibilities to include the documentation of Israel's cultural oeuvre.
The Israeli government’s decision to allocate a central area in Jerusalem for the new Library building is tangible evidence of the coming changes that are beginning to gain momentum. The National Library has developed a comprehensive Master Plan for Renewal, which is centered around the utilization of advanced technologies to provide free access to all of the Library's collections; promoting research and scholarly collaboration; and establishing the National Library as a center for cultural and educational activity. The National Library also introduced a new organizational structure, with positions being held by professionals from the fields of library science, technology and content areas, working under an executive team that is governed by a Board of Directors, which is led by the Chair of the Board. Members of the Board of Directors include high-profile public figures, senior Israeli scholars, and leading professionals from the fields of information and library science, law, and technology.