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Library Collections

Library Collections

Scope of the Collections

The National Library of Israel houses over five million books and periodicals, as well as thousands of items in special collections, among them manuscripts, archives, maps, musical recordings and digital collections.
In accordance with the Books Law (Legal Deposit), the library collects, preserves and allows free access to every publication published in Israel.
250,000 books on open shelves can be accessed in eight reading rooms: Judaism, Islam and the Middle East, Humanities, Hebrew manuscripts, Archives, Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, Edelstein Collection, Gershom Scholem Collection. Storage rooms inside and outside the library premises hold the remainder of the books. 
The digital collection contains thousands of scanned books, manuscripts, newspapers, pages of Talmud, maps, and the Sound Archives.

    Special Collections

    Incunabula (cradle) and Rare Books

    ​•172 Incunbula – 95 editions/titles.
    ​• 140 Incunabula in foreign languages – 127 editions/titles.
    ​• 35,000 other rare books


    ​• 10,000 Hebrew manuscripts, related to every aspect of Jewish life and Jewish thought.
    ​• 2,000 Arabic manuscripts
    ​1,700 Ketubbot

    The Institute for Microfilmed Manuscripts

    Microfilmed copies of Hebrew manuscripts from public and private sources from around the world.
    More than 74,000 rolls of microfilm, including over 90% of the known Hebrew manuscripts. Among the photos are 200,000 segments from the Cairo Genizah, the Ginsberg Collection from the Lenin Library and other collections.

    The Eran Laor Cartographic Collection

    The collection includes ancient maps, from as early as the 15th century, ancient atlases, travel books and guides, Biblical dictionaries and Bible volumes featuring maps.
    At the heart of the collection are maps of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, though the collection also includes ancient maps of other parts of the world, modern maps of Israel and its cities (before and after the establishment of the State), and current maps that are published in Israel and deposited with the Library as per the Books Law. In total the map collection contains some 6,000 ancient maps (up to the year 1900) and some 2,000 modern maps.
    The collection also contains auxiliary materials in the areas of ancient cartography, periodicals and reference books.


    Private archives of noted Jewish individuals, institutions and organizations.
    250 archives of musicians.
    200 collections – historical documents, posters, pictures, autographs, kettubot, Books of Esther, book brands (ex libris) and more.

    Music Collection

    Print – books – Yaakov Michael Collection.
    Print – Notes – Meir Noy Collection – Songs in Hebrew and Yiddish – 10,000 titles.
    ​Video and audio recordings (records, disks, tapes and more).
    Archive Materials (drafts of musical works, research notes, letters, pictures, documents, notices, programs, newspaper clippings, private recordings and more).

    National Sound Archive

    Includes 30,000 hours of recordings:
    Audio material related to Jewish traditions in Jewish and non-Jewish communities in the Land of Israel and in the State of Israel.
    Archive of radio broadcast recordings.
    Commercial music.

    Edelstein Collection (History of Science)

    The collection includes volumes petaining to the history, philosophy and sociology of science. The collection is housed in the “Edelstein Library” and totals 30,000 books and items, on a wide variety of scientific fields.

    Gershom Scholem Collection (Kabbalah and Hassidism)

    This unique collection includes some 30,000 books, some of which are quite rare, as well as microfilmed manuscripts used by Scholem for his research.

    Deposit Library for International Organizations

    United Nations and European Union publications.
Collections & Archives
Collections & Archives
Information about the Judaica, Israel, Islam & Middle East, Humanities, Archives and Manuscripts collections.
For more information
The Music Collection and Sound Archive
The Music Collection and Sound Archive
The site provides access to digitized music recordings, comprehensive catalogue information, news on cultural events and more.
For more information
The Digital Library
The Digital Library
Free access to thousands of scanned books, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, images, as well as hours of audio and video recordings.
For more information