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Books at the National Library of Israel

The National Library contains over one and a 3 million books. The oldest books in the collection are incunabula - books printed as early as the second half of the 15th century, immediately after the invention of the modern printing press. The newer books in the collection include digital books alongside print editions.

During its first few years of existence, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, The Library’s book acquisitions focused on Hebrew and Jewish literature, but since 1953, the National Library of Israel has received and preserved every book published in Israel, in every language and on every subject. In addition, the Library purchases books published around the world with the goal of expanding its main core collections—books dealing with the subjects of Judaica, Israel, Islam, the Middle East and the humanities. As a result, one can find under one roof, and occasionally on the same shelf, books from Israel and abroad, research literature and popular literature, books published by small family presses and books published by the major commercial publishers, in addition to thousands of rare books, which are given special care and treatment.

Alongside its efforts to procure books, the Library is engaged in digitization efforts and making books more accessible to the public. Using the National Library of Israel's online catalog, one can find more than 200,000 books that are available in digital format, with roughly half in Hebrew and half in other languages, including English, Arabic, German, Yiddish and French. Due to rigorous compliance with copyright law, some of the scanned books are available for remote viewing, while some can only be viewed from within the National Library building.

The book collection at the National Library of Israel continues to grow with the publication of new books and the ongoing process of digitization, taking place at a rate of hundreds of books per month. Are you looking for a particular book? Have a look at our catalog. Chances are you will find what you are looking for, either on our shelves or in our online collection.

Photo: Hanan Cohen