Library > Services > Ordering Rare Items

Ordering Rare Items

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1. What is a rare item?

The National Library has collections that include rare and valuable items of great importance in terms of the heritage of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. The value of these items is beyond measure, since in most cases, they are one of a kind: manuscripts of special value, a unique copy of an item of which no other copies were preserved in Israel or elsewhere in the world, etc.

These items are marked “R” in the library catalogue.


2. Who is permitted to request a rare item?

The service is provided to registered readers who have also registered at the circulation desk for permission to inspect rare items. Orders and appointments must be made in advance. In order to preserve rare items, when available, derivative copies (digital reproduction or photo scan) will be offered.

Such readers may then order a rare item for inspection. This is done online, through the library catalogue.

Unregistered readers must first open a reader's card, fill a form and then approach the circulation desk with the necessary documents in order to obtain permission to inspect rare items (See paragraph 3).

Please note: the NLI librarians have the discretion to approve or deny the request to inspect the original rare item.

3. How can I obtain authorization to inspect a rare item?

You have to approach the circulation desk and present the following documents:

1. Photo identification: We will scan the document into the library’s information system.
2. Documentation as follows:
3. Signing a Request to View Rare and Archival Material form:
a. Yearly Approval
     Will be given to: Scholars, academic faculty.
      Upon presentation of: ID card from a recognized academic institution (valid proof of affiliation with a university or college).
b. Temporary Approval - Up to 6 months
Will be given to: B.A Students
Upon presentation of: A student card and a letter from the faculty office affirming the student's need to view the rare items. It is the student's responsibility to make sure the course lecturer or advisor passes the appropriate approval certificate to the faculty office.
c. One Time Approval - a limited period up to one week
Will be given to: Independent scholars, pupils and the general public:
it is required to fill out a request form detailing the reason for the request to see the item
4. Signing terms of use

We reserve the right to inspect the request and transfer it to the library’s security officer for further evaluation.

Please note: the NLI librarians have the discretion to approve or deny the request to inspect the original rare item.

4. How do I carry out the request?

Before carrying out the order, you have to arrange for permission to view rare items.

You have to locate the item in the catalogue and clicking on submit.

The request must be made prior to your arrival at the Library. The Library staff will check the condition and availablity of the requested item, and schedule an appointment to view the item.

If you encounter an item which is not open to ordering through the catalogue, please approach the circulation counter.

If you wish to inspect the item over a long period, you will have to re-order it.

Please note: the NLI librarians have the discretion to approve or deny the request to inspect the original rare item.

5. Where can I view a rare item?

Rare items are viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room (Archives and Manuscripts Reading Room), located in the lower level (-1).

In order to preserve rare items, if there is an edition that is not rare it will be offered for studying.

Upon reception of a request to view a rare item, we will check the availability of an alternate version, such a photocopy or scan. If one exists, a link will be sent within one work day.

Viewing a rare item will be possible only after submission of the request form and pre-scheduling an appointment.

6. Handling a Rare Item

Viewing a rare item requires extreme care. Please read and follow the guidelines for viewing rare and archival materials.

6. How can I make a photocopy?

• Rare items are not to be copied in a Xerox machine. Special photocopying equipment is available in the reading room.
• A digital photograph may be taken with the librarian’s approval and instructions as to how the photograph in order that the item suffer no damage.
• It is possible to order a scan of a rare item through the Document Delivery Service. The service entails a fee, as detailed in the price list.