​The Library’s core areas of specialization will be Judaica, Israel and Islam. In addition, the Library will develop a general collection in the humanities. Each area will be organized by subject and will include materials in a variety of formats – manuscripts, newspapers, electronic media, archives and more. In the fields of Judaism and Israel, the Library has a national responsibility and will serve as a treasure house for future generations and a central information source for content that will include audio and visual materials as well as texts.
The Library’s curators, recruited from the community of scholars, will be thoroughly proficient in the full range of content (physical and digital) and collections (private and public) within their fields, and will formulate the collection policy in all of the themes and formats. They will continually seek opportunities to strengthen and develop the collections through acquisitions, gifts or collaboration with other libraries. They will maintain close contact with the community of scholars and will cultivate the collections in accordance with the needs of users. The collections will be reviewed at defined periods of time to ensure their quality – for example, by comparing them to similar collections in other institutions.
The Judaica Collection
The Judaica collection, one of the most important of its kind in the world, will continue to be a pillar of the Library. It will be developed based on a comprehensive collection policy – compiling as much material as possible about Judaism and Jews, their creative output and cultural expression in writing, speech, music and pictures – from ancient times to the present.
The collection will include wide-ranging primary and secondary sources in various formats – manuscripts, books, newspapers, archives, ephemera (short-lived printed materials such as posters, calendars, manifestos, tickets, broadsides etc.), magazines and born-digital material. Collection development will be based on material from Israel and the world, according to the priorities of the users’ needs, the cost and the threat of disappearance of materials. The Library will examine the arrays of storage and preservation in the national libraries of the countries where most of the material on Judaism is published, with the aim of sufficing with a digital copy whenever possible and relying on these libraries for their long-term preservation.
The Israel Collection
The National Library of Israel serves as a 'national memory' for the nation, for the state and for the country in which it is housed. The Israel collection will now become an independent collection, based on a comprehensive policy of collection. This will entail the systematic collection and preservation of all of the content published in Israel, as defined in The Books Law; the collection of personal archives of cultural figures; the expansion of the collections of ephemera, audio and visual; the collection of Israeli creative work on the Internet; publications from abroad pertaining to Israel; dissertations for advanced degrees; government publications; photographs of the Land of Israel throughout history; oral history and more.
In addition, a 'Documenting Israel' project will be initiated. It will include a collection of materials that reflect the contemporary life, creative activity and culture of all sectors and groups in Israeli society. These materials will serve as a basis for online presentations and physical exhibitions.
The Judaica and Israel collections will include sub-collections organized by format, including music collections and archives.
The Islam and Middle East Collection
The Islam and Middle East collection will extensively address the religion and history of Islam and the Muslim world, past and present – that is, the countries in which Muslims have been dominant or have comprised a significant minority. In addition to the religious and geographic criteria, the collection will focus on the languages of the Muslim world and the literature produced in these languages throughout the generations. The huge scope of the Muslim world will require selective treatment of the range of relevant subjects. Emphasis will be placed on the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, and on key issues in the Muslim world in the past and present. Subject matter experts will monitor the changes in both the real world and the world of research, and will update the collection’s priorities accordingly. Collection development will be based to a large extent on facilitating access to materials stored in other institutions in Israel and abroad via collaborative arrangements, and studious coordination of acquisitions at the national level.
The collection will be built to address the diverse needs of a heterogeneous audience that includes scholars of Islam from Israel and abroad, as well as the general public and the Arab community in Israel in particular. Digital content will also enable online access from countries in the region. The content will be part of the Library’s cultural and educational activities designed to help attract the Arab public to the Library.
General Humanities Collection
The General Humanities collection will encompass subjects that are not included in the core areas. The collection will include sub-collections on topics that are pertinent to the topics studied in the core areas, including Christianity, philosophy and general history of the Western world and the Middle East; the collection will serve the general public for purposes of research and study, and will serve as a research library for the Hebrew University in the humanities, in coordination and cooperation with the Bloomfield Library for the Humanities and Social Sciences on Mt. Scopus. The range of objectives and diversity of users will require adapting the collection to the needs of the target audience.