Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Good news for bibliophiles

Yesterday (Nov. 26th) the Knesset passed the National Library Law
which formally establishes a National Library of Israel.

While the Jewish National and University Library has served as the de
facto national library (of the Jewish People since the early 1900s and
of the State of Israel since its establishment) it has formally been
an administrative unit of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The new law, which goes into force on January first, provides that
the Library will first become a semi-independent unit of the Hebrew
University, with independent financial systems and fund raising.
Subsequently, within a period of three years, the Library will become
fully independent.

The Library's new name will be "ha-sifriyah ha-le'umit" (The National
Library of Israel). It's mandate is to serve as the national library
of both Israel and the Jewish People, as well as continuing to be a
general humanities research library for both the Hebrew University and
other scholars.

The Library's funding will now be primarily directly from the
State, although the Hebrew University will continue to contribute part
of the budget.

As a result of this change, the Library's budget is expected to
increase significantly, and the planning of a new building, the
contribution of Yad Hanadiv Foundation, is underway.

The law emphasizes the role of the Library in using technology to make
its collections accessible, and specifically authorizes the library to
archive and preserve the Israeli Internet domain.

Elhanan Adler
Deputy Director for Information Technology
Jewish National and University Library


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