About the Library
Legal Deposit Department
Depositing Books to the Jewish National & University Library
The Books Law 2000 (5761)
The law obligates anyone who published a book, newspaper, or any other print article in Israel,
to provide two copies of it to the Jewish National & University Library within a month of publication, free of charge.
This law was amended and as of June 2001 it includes also publications which are not printed on paper,
such as audio and video recordings and publications on CDs.
Publications Required to be Deposited by Law:
- Publications of which 50 or more copies were printed.
- Publications either sold to the public or distributed freely.
- Publications of any size and in any language.
- Publications distributed in any existing or future medium: books,
journals, newspapers, pamphlets, collections of pictures, music sheets,
sketches, photographs, maps, audio and video tapes, CDs, diskettes,
films, microfilms, slides and more.
Publications not Required to be Deposited:
- Price lists, commercial catalogues and advertisements.
- Publications provided solely to a closed group, such as to similar interest groups or to one’s extended family.
If the publication is distributed to the public at a later date, it then has to be deposited.
Editions, Updates, Reprints, Translations, Adaptations and Dubbings.
The law requires the deposit of:
- Any new edition which is in any way different than the previous editions in content or in shape:
whether the change is in the text; whether it is on the title page such as the publisher, date or series are
different from those in the previous edition; whether it is in the physical shape, such as the type of binding, size or medium have changed.
- An update or a new version of a database.
- A new printing which includes no changes – if more than 20 years have passed since the previous printing.
- A translation or adaptation of a previous publication.
- A movie which was re-dubbed.
Responsibility for Adhering to the Law
The publisher, be it a commercial body, a public institute or a private person, is responsible for depositing its publications.
If the publisher or producer has no address in Israel, the printer is responsible for the deposit unless s/he doesn’t have an address in Israel,
whereby the holder of the copyright is responsible – if s/he has an address in Israel.
What was written above was summarized for the purpose of informing the general public.
The exact wording of the law (in Hebrew) can be found in law book number 1767, pp. 80-82, 2000. In addition it can be found on the
Purpose of the Law
The Jewish National & University Library is home for the national collection of publications published in Israel.
This collection has a social, historical, and academic value:
- The library makes the publications available for viewing to anyone who wishes to do so, according to the principle of equal
access to information in the state of Israel.
- Students, teachers and researchers from Israel and the world rely on the library’s collection in their studies and their work.
- The library preserves the publications for future generations, as a documentation of the written Israeli culture,
and makes sure that they will be accessible to the public many years after they are unavailable elsewhere.
The Copies’ Destination
- Publications are recorded in the
library’s catalogue and on several other bibliographic tools.
- One copy of every publication can be viewed in the library’s reading room, and the other copy is stored as a back up.
- Some of the publications, such as daily newspapers, are stored as photo-copies (usually in the form of micro-film).
The library allows the public to view them through the proper equipment.
- The copies are not available for loan.
Advantage for the Publishers and Authors
- A publisher depositing publications by law is included in the
Israeli Publishers Database.
- A publication deposited in the library receives maximum exposure to readers and potential buyers.
- Publications deposited are recorded in the
library’s catalogue and in Israel’s national bibliography –
which are updated constantly. Some of the articles from deposited journals are recorded in the computerized database
(Index of Articles on Jewish Studies). Librarians in Israel and abroad rely on these tools for choosing and purchasing publications which they need.
- At least one copy of every publication is kept for posterity, long after the publication is out of print, and can be used for producing a new printing or edition.
The Law’s Progression
The obligation to deposit copies was part of the Press Ordinance, instated by the British in 1933.
According to the British Ordinance, copies were deposited to the Director of Education and to the District Commissioner.
20 years later, in 1953, the Ordinance was updated and was established as a law in the State of Israel. Instead of the British institutions mentioned
in the ordinance, other institutions were instated: one copy of every publication is deposited in the Israel State Archive (ISA), an additional copy
in the Knesset Library and two copies in the Jewish National & University Library.
On December 18th, 2000, the Knesset approved the “Books Law”. This law revised the deposit obligation, and includes in it also non-print materials.
The “Books Law” came into effect on June 26th, 2001.
Similar Laws Around the World
The first country to institute a legal deposit law was France. In 1537 King Francois I published the “Montpellier Ordinance” which obligated depositing copies
of documents written in France, in order to create a national collection.
Since then, this law is considered in many countries an efficient tool for preserving and documenting the tradition, roots and written culture of a nation.
About 100 countries around the world have laws obligating deposits. In the past 20 years these laws were amended in many of the countries,
to include also non-print publications. The number of copies deposited in the various countries varies from one copy (e.g. Australia) to 18 copies (Bulgaria).
Usually one of the institutions for depositing publications is the country’s National Library.
In most countries entrance to the National Library is restricted to researchers or functionaries, who must request special permission for viewing publications
and must state the purpose of their request. Israel’s National Library is unique in that it allows free access to all publications to anyone who wants to view them,
without having to identify oneself or to state the purpose of the request. The exceptions to this are access to rare, ancient or especially expensive publications.
Collecting the Publications
The library utilizes a variety of information sources in its efforts to construct the most complete collection possible: suppliers’ and distributors’
new publication lists, the literary supplements of newspapers and journals, other libraries’ catalogues, publishers’ and producers’ catalogues,
internet sites and word-of-mouth from authors, producers and the public.
Most of the publishers in Israel send the library 2 copies of every new publication on a regular basis.
If a publisher does not send new publications of his own accord, the library will turn to the publisher and remind him/her of his/her obligation.
Every year close to 7,000 new books, 7,000 copies of newspapers and journals and 3,000 media publications arrive at the library in accordance to the law.
Those responsible for depositing copies are obligated to deliver copies to the library and to pay for this delivery.
Copies can be sent by regular post or by registered mail.
The address for sending newspapers and journals is:
The Jewish National & University Library, Periodical Department, P.O.B. 39105,
The address for sending books and media publications is:
The Jewish National & University Library, Legal Deposit Department, P.O.B. 39105,
The library replies with a confirmation for publications which it receives.
Additional Book Deposits: The Israeli State Archive and the Knesset Library
The Books Law requires the deposit of one copy of any publication to the Israel State Archive if it is requested by the archive.
The mailing address is: Israel State Archive, Prime Minister’s Office, Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem 91950. Phone number 02-5680606.
The law requires delivering one copy of any book or newspaper necessary for the functioning of the Knesset to the Knesset Library,
according to a subject list compiled by the Speaker of the Knesset. For each publication delivered, the Knesset Library pays 25% of its price
in addition to the cost of delivery by registered mail.
The mailing address is: Knesset Library, The Knesset, Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem 91950. Phone number 02-6753333.
Failure to deposit copies constitutes a criminal offense. The law has declared a fine for whoever does not deposit copies as required by law.
Addresses and Phone Numbers:
Opening hours: Sundays through Thursdays 9:00-16:00.
Location: The Jewish National & University Library at the Hebrew University campus in Givat Ram, room 25.
Mailing Address: The Jewish National & University Library, Legal Deposit Department, P.O.B. 39105, Jerusalem 91390.
Telephone: 02-6586286, 02-6585037
Dr. Noa Fink-Shamit, Acting Head, tel. 02-6586286
Dr. Masha Goldman, tel. 02-6585037
Shlomit Rubin, tel. 02-6584260
Shai Chazan, tel. 02-6584260
Nachum Zitter, 02-6585487
Translated by Shoshana de la Fuente