A tremendous amount of work has been accomplished at the National Library of Israel, in many spheres. The changes that have taken place encompass an array of fields: organizational structure, digital activity, the NLI website, public services, strategic partnerships that span the globe, and, of course, the development of our collections.
What has characterized NLI’s work most prominently in recent months is NLI’s archival acquisitions, and the important merger with the Central Archive of the Jewish People. Moreover, NLI will serve as the hub for a vast network of archives, the Israel Archive Network, a project of national scope, in which archives from across Israel will undergo digitization and modernization, and will be accessible openly and freely through a unified portal. The significant individual archives integrated into our collections this year include: the archive of poet, lyricist and playwright Haim Hefer; the archive of Azariya Alon, one of the founders of the Society for the Protection of Nature and a key figure in the field of nature conservation In Israel; and a collection of material from the periodical Achshav, a respected Israeli literary magazine that has been in circulation since 1957.
By way of background, the Central Archive is comprised of archives from hundreds of Jewish communities, and of many leading international Jewish figures and organizations. The significant expansion of NLI’s activity in the realm of archives is just one way in which NLI is establishing itself as the primary national institution involved in preserving the memory of the State of Israel and of Jewish people throughout the world.
Tangible recognition of NLI’s role and standing came in the form of the generous donation we received as a bequest from the late Naomi Salomon to dedicate the NLI Judaica Collection in the name of her late parents Chaim and Chana Salomon, and to use the gift to enrich, preserve and make accessible items from this collection.
In addition, I am very pleased to announce the selection of the Swiss architectural firm of Herzog and de Meuron to design and plan NLI’s new facility. The architects have embarked on the conceptual design phase and are working intensively toward its completion.