National Library of Israel

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National Library of Israel
הספרייה הלאומית
National Library IL.png
NLI building2.jpg
Country Israel
Established1892;127 years ago (1892)
Reference to legal mandateThe Legal Deposit of generally available documents
Location Jerusalem
Coordinates 31°46′33.01″N35°11′48.58″E / 31.7758361°N 35.1968278°E / 31.7758361; 35.1968278 Coordinates: 31°46′33.01″N35°11′48.58″E / 31.7758361°N 35.1968278°E / 31.7758361; 35.1968278
Collection
Items collectedUnique collections of manuscripts, special collections of books, music, radio and TV programmes, film, theatre, maps, posters, pictures, photographs, electronic documents and newspapers.
Size5 million volumes
Other information
BudgetApproximately 100 million NIS (₪)
DirectorOren Weinberg
Staff300
Website nli.org.il

The National Library of Israel (NLI; Hebrew : הספרייה הלאומית, romanized: HaSifria HaLeumit; Arabic : المكتبة الوطنية في إسرائيل), formerly Jewish National and University Library (JNUL; Hebrew : בית הספרים הלאומי והאוניברסיטאי, romanized: Beit Ha-Sfarim Ha-Le'umi ve-Ha-Universita'i), is the library dedicated to collecting the cultural treasures of Israel and of Jewish heritage. The library holds more than 5 million books, and is located on the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Hebrew language Semitic language native to Israel

Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel, the modern version of which is spoken by over nine million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name "Hebrew" in the Tanakh itself. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only Canaanite language still spoken, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.

Romanization of Hebrew transcription of Hebrew into the Latin alphabet

Hebrew uses the Hebrew alphabet with optional vowel diacritics. The romanization of Hebrew is the use of the Latin alphabet to transliterate Hebrew words.

Israel country in the Middle East

Israel, also known as the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.

Contents

The National Library owns the world's largest collections of Hebraica and Judaica, and is the repository of many rare and unique manuscripts, books and artifacts.

History

B'nai Brith library, Jerusalem B'nai B'rith library.jpg
B'nai Brith library, Jerusalem

The establishment of a Jewish National Library in Jerusalem was the brainchild of Joseph Chazanovitz (1844-1919). His idea was creating a "home for all works in all languages and literatures which have Jewish authors, even though they create in foreign cultures." Chazanovitz collected some 15,000 volumes which later became the core of the library. [1]

The B'nai Brith library, founded in Jerusalem in 1892, was the first public library in Palestine to serve the Jewish community. The library was located on B'nai Brith street, between the Meah Shearim neighborhood and the Russian Compound. [2] Ten years later, the Bet Midrash Abrabanel library, as it was then known, moved to Ethiopia Street. [3] In 1920, when plans were drawn up for the Hebrew University, the B'nai Brith collection became the basis for a university library. The books were moved to Mount Scopus when the university opened five years later. [2]

Jerusalem City in the Middle East

Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.

Palestine (region) geographical region in the Middle East

Palestine is a geographic region in Western Asia usually considered to include Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in some definitions, parts of western Jordan.

Russian Compound church building in Jerusalem, Israel

The Russian Compound is one of the oldest districts in central Jerusalem, featuring a large Russian Orthodox church and several former pilgrim hostels, some of which are used as Israeli government buildings and for the Museum of Underground Prisoners. The compound was built between 1860 and 1890, with the addition in 1903 of the Nikolai Pilgrims Hospice. It was one of the first structures to be built outside the Old City of Jerusalem, the others being Kerem Avraham, the Schneller Orphanage, Bishop Gobat school and the Mishkenot Sha'ananim,

In 1948, when access to the university campus on Mount Scopus was blocked, most of the books were moved to the university's temporary quarters in the Terra Sancta building in Rehavia. By that time, the university collection included over one million books. For lack of space, some of the books were placed in storerooms around the city. In 1960, they were moved to the new JNUL building in Givat Ram. [2]

Rehavia

Rehavia or Rechavia is an upscale Jerusalem neighborhood located between the city center and Talbiya.

In the late 1970s, when the new university complex on Mount Scopus was inaugurated and the faculties of Law, Humanities and Social Science returned there, departmental libraries opened on that campus and the number of visitors to the Givat Ram library dropped. In the 1990s, the building suffered from maintenance problems such as rainwater leaks and insect infestation. [2]

In 2007 the library was officially recognized as The National Library of the State of Israel after the passage of the National Library Law. [2] The law, which came into effect on 23 July 2008, changed the library's name to "National Library of Israel" and turned it temporarily to a subsidiary company of the University, later to become a fully independent community interest company, jointly owned by the Government of Israel (50%), the Hebrew University (25%) and other organizations.

In 2011, the library launched a website granting public access to books, periodicals, maps, photos and music from its collections. [4]

In 2014, the project for a new home of the Library in Jerusalem was unveiled. [5] The 34,000 square meters building, designed by the Basel-based architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, is scheduled for full completion in 2021. [6] [7]

Goals and objectives

Ardon windows in the library lobby Ardon Windows JNUL.jpg
Ardon windows in the library lobby

The library's mission is to secure copies of all material published in Israel, in any language; all publications on the subject of Israel, the Land of Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people, published in any language, in any country in the world; and all material published in Hebrew or any of the languages spoken in the Jewish Diaspora (such as Yiddish and Ladino).

By law, two copies of all printed matter published in Israel must be deposited in the National Library. In 2001, the law was amended to include audio and video recordings, and other non-print media. [8] Many manuscripts, including some of the library's unique volumes such the 13th century Worms Mahzor, have been scanned and are now available on the Internet.

Special collections

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Reading room

Among the library's special collections are the personal papers of hundreds of outstanding Jewish figures, the National Sound Archives, the Laor Map Collection and numerous other collections of Hebraica and Judaica. The library also possesses some of Isaac Newton's manuscripts dealing with theological subjects. [9] The collection, donated by the family of the collector Abraham Yahuda, includes a large number of works by Newton about mysticism, analyses of holy books, predictions about the end of days and the appearance of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. It also contains maps that Newton sketched about mythical events to assist him in his end of days calculations. [10] The library houses the personal archives of Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem. [11]

Following the occupation of West Jerusalem by Haganah forces in May 1948, the libraries of a number Palestinians who fled the country as well as of other well-to-do Palestinians were transferred to the National Library. [12] These collections included those of Henry Cattan, Khalil Beidas, Khalil al-Sakakini and Aref Hikmet Nashashibi. [13] About 30,000 books were removed from homes in West Jerusalem, with another 40,000 taken from other cities in Mandatory Palestine. It is unclear whether the books were being kept and protected or if they were looted from the abandoned houses of their owners. [14] About 6,000 of these books are in the library today indexed with the label AP – "Abandoned Property". [15] The books are cataloged, can be viewed from the Library's general catalog and are regularly consulted by the public, including Arab scholars from all over the world.

The National Library of Israel completes its collection of the Max Brod archive in August 2019. [16]

New building

In April 2016, a cornerstone laying ceremony was held at the site of the new National Library of Israel complex in Jerusalem. [17]

See also

Related Research Articles

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israeli University in Jerusalem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel's second-oldest university, established in 1918, 30 years before the establishment of the State of Israel. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J. Safra Givat Ram campus.

Israeli literature

Israeli literature is literature written in the State of Israel by Israelis. Most works classed as Israeli literature are written in the Hebrew language, although some Israeli authors write in Yiddish, English, Arabic and Russian.

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Givat Zeev Israeli settlement in the West Bank

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Ammunition Hill was a fortified Jordanian military post in the northern part of Jordanian-ruled East Jerusalem and the western slope of Mount Scopus. It was the site of one of the fiercest battles of the Six-Day War. Ammunition Hill is now a national memorial site.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens national botanical garden of Israel

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Sheikh Badr Village in Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine

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West Jerusalem section of Jerusalem that remained under Israeli control after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War

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Ramat Eshkol neighbourhood in Jerusalem

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Givat Ram

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The collection of the Swiss collector René Braginsky is generally considered to be the largest private collection of Hebrew manuscripts in the world. It also contains a fair number of fine early printed books. The collection does not only contain codices, but also several hundreds illuminated marriage contracts and Esther scrolls.

Isaac Leib Goldberg Jewish philanthropist

Isaac Leib Goldberg was a Zionist leader and philanthropist in both Ottoman Palestine and the Russian Empire. An early member of the Hovevei Zion movement (1882) he also founded the Ohavei Zion society. Goldberg was a delegate to the First Zionist Congress and the founder of two Hebrew newspapers, Ha'aretz and Ha'am.

References

  1. Melancholy Pride: Nation, Race and Gender in the German Literature of Cultural Zionism, Mark Gelber
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Aryeh Dayan. "New chapter in a sad saga". Haaretz . Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  3. "Hebrew University Hails 'Landmark Legislation' for the Establishment of the National Library". Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University. 27 November 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  4. Israel's National Library puts collection online
  5. Herzog & de Meuron to Design the National Library of Israel, ArchDaily, 29 April 2013
  6. "herzog & de meuron reveals designs for national library of israel". Designboom . Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  7. Herzog & de Meuron Share New Images of the National Library of Israel, ArchDaily, 14 April 2016
  8. Jewish National & University Library History Archived 21 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine (in English)
  9. Newton Collection Archived 24 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine (in English)
  10. Israeli National Library uploads trove of Newton's theological tracts
  11. National Library, Germany partner to put papers online
  12. The Looting of the Palestinian Books Mitaam: a Review for radical thought 8 (December 2006), pp. 12-22, by Gish Amit
  13. Israel State Archive, Jerusalem, 1429/3
  14. Preserving or looting Palestinian books in Jerusalem
  15. Overdue Books: Returning Palestine’s “Abandoned Property” of 1948 by Hannah Mermelstein, Jerusalem Quarterly, Autumn 2011
  16. "Israel Gets Missing Kafka Papers, Ending Long Legal Battle".
  17. Groundbreaking Commences for New National Library of Israel Complex