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About the Library

HISTORY AND AIMS

The Jewish National and University Library serves a threefold purpose: it is the National Library of the State of Israel, the National Library of the Jewish People, and the Central Library of the Hebrew University.
As the National Library of the State of Israel, it collects all material published in the country. At the same time, it tries to acquire all publications appearing elsewhere in the world that relate to Israel.

It collects Israeli publications on all subjects, with no distinction as to format, language, age level, literary value, orientation and the like. This includes thousands of periodicals of all type and origin, such as national and local (including kibbutzim) newspapers, government bulletins, organs of trade unions and professional associations, financial reports of corporations, newsletters of youth movements and schools, scholarly and recreational journals, synagogue leaflets, market surveys and television program guides.

Apart from being the National Library of the Jewish people, most of whom live outside the State of Israel, it collects books, periodicals, manuscripts, documents, recordings, maps, and pictures that reflect or represent the history of the Jewish people and its culture with no distinction as to orientation, purpose, importance or age level, encompassing all aspects of Jewish life and cultural expression: history, biography, language, education, religion, folklore, philosophy, belles lettres, art, recreation, and so on.

This includes material in all the Jewish languages -- Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, etc. -- of every place and period. With the same purpose in mind, the Library also develops collections of works on the history and culture of the countries where Jews live, or lived. Today its collections of Hebraica and Judaica are the largest in the world.

As the central and largest library of the Hebrew University, it is also the oldest section of the university. Founded in 1892 as a world center for the preservation of books relating to Jewish thought and culture, it assumed the additional functions of a general university library in 1925.

It provides teachers and students with research material in Jewish studies, Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, the history of science, Western history, early Christianity, philosophy, art, musicology, and other subjects.