The National Library of Israel (NLI), established in 1892 and presently undergoing a process of radical renewal, is a unique institution among the great libraries of the world. It is, to begin with, the prime institution of national memory – not only of the Israeli nation, but also of the Jewish people, which is scattered throughout the world and has one of the longest historical memories of any human culture.
The collections of the NLI – those already existing and those of the future – must reflect and embody this truly amazing cultural, geographical, and historical range. This fundamental goal requires collecting and preserving publications in all existing formats as well as all other materials that record the life and culture of Israel and of the Jews. In addition to collection and preservation, the NLI seeks to become the country's flagship of state-of-the-art information technology, offering open, democratic access to the vast world of physical and digital resources, tools, and services, not only those based on the Library’s own holdings and trained personnel but also the almost limitless resources available through collaborative arrangements with other libraries and repositories of knowledge.
Moreover, the NLI is committed to the active dissemination of knowledge and to fostering, through educational and cultural activities, an informed, enlightened and tolerant society. It aims to serve as broad and diversified a population of users as possible, both in Israel, with its inherently heterogeneous society, and throughout the world. By law, the NLI is also a major research library for humanistic studies, in particular in the domains of Judaica, Israel, Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, and is the primary humanities research library for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As such, it opens its physical and virtual doors to all potential users, academic and non-academic alike, for scholarly research or other purposes, and provides users with highly professional guidance in navigating the rich and bewildering labyrinths of modern information.
In its new building, currently being planned, the NLI will operate in an inspiring spatial setting that will be at once an ideal study environment, a meeting-place for scholars, intellectuals, and artists, and a site of vibrant cultural creativity based on the treasures housed in its collections.