The National Library of Israel was founded in 1892 as a world center for the preservation of Jewish thought and culture. In 1925, the Library assumed the additional role of a general university library.
As a result of the recommendations of an international advisory committee convened in 1998, and the conclusions of the Zamir Committee for Changing the Status of the National Library, published in 2004, the Israeli Knesset enacted the National Library Law of 2007. This law granted the National Library independent legal status as of January 1, 2011, and extented the National Library's responsibilities to include the documentation of Israel's cultural oeuvre.
The Israeli government’s decision to allocate a central area in Jerusalem for the new Library building (to be completed in 2016) is tangible evidence of the coming changes that are beginning to gain momentum. The National Library has developed a comprehensive Master Plan for Renewal, which is centered around the utilization of advanced technologies to provide free access to all of the Library's collections; promoting research and scholarly collaboration; and establishing the National Library as a center for cultural and educational activity. The National Library also introduced a new organizational structure, with positions being held by professionals from the fields of library science, technology and content areas, working under an executive team that is governed by a Board of Directors, which is led by the Chair of the Board. Members of the Board of Directors include high-profile public figures, senior Israeli scholars, and leading professionals from the fields of information and library science, law, and technology.