News Archive

News Archive


Membership dues for 2016

We are collecting our annual dues for Readers Association membership. For details and to download our membership form, visit our Membership and Mailing List page. Dues continue to be 50 shekels for regular members; 25 shekels for students. Dues can be mailed to the address on the form or given to Dena Ordan in the library.

Charging stand for smartphones

The library has made available a charging stand for smartphones on the cafeteria level

  :The following types of smartphones can be charged

All android phones with micro-USB attachments

I-phones 3,4,5,6

 Continued meetings with the administration and the building committee

The board continues to meet with members of the administration to discuss issues in the current library.

With respect to the new building, two Readers Association representatives sit with members of the building committee, and one of our members sits on a committee involved in the planning of the reading rooms in the future library.


 A summary of our January meeting with Orly Simon is available here.

The letter of appreciation for retired GRR librarian Chochevet Ben-Shahar can be accessed here


 Invitation to the National Library Readers Association: Seventh Annual General Meeting

 Date: Friday, 13 June 2014

Place: National Library of Israel (Holtzman room–level -1, near the copying machines)

Time: 9 a.m.

On the program:

  Administrative matters
Appointment of a Chair and a Secretary for the AGM
Elections for Committee Chair and the Board (Va’ad)
Candidate for chair: Cana Werman
Current va’ad members up for reelection: Nadia Zeldes, Dena Ordan, Cana Werman, Aviad Ha-Cohen, Dan Bitan, Benjamin Richler
Election of an Audit Committee (Va’adat bikoret): Current members—Motti Nahmani and Levi Cooper
Presentation and approval of 2013 accounts
Summary of our activity over the past year

If there is no quorum (one-fourth of the amuta membership) present at 9 a.m., the annual meeting will be delayed for half an hour and any decisions made by those present will be binding.

NOTE: Only dues-paying members of the Amuta can vote. Agudah members on the e-mail list who wish to sign up as amuta members are invited to do so at the meeting.

 Please send an e-mail to if you plan to attend.

may 2014 

Electrical points

Per the Readers Association request, seven electrical points (each with three sockets) have been added as part of the renovations being carried out in the cafeteria area.

December 2013

22 December 2013

Meeting of members of the vaad with the curators

Present at the meeting

For the library: Haggai Ben-Shammai, Aviad Stollman, Hezi Amiur, Raquel Ukeles, Milka Rubin

For the Readers Association: Dan Bitan, Nadia Zeldes, Dena Ordan, Benjamin Richler

The Process

–Haggai Ben-Shammai reviewed the collections policy of the library, which has appeared in print and electronic form (URL: The document has been translated into English and should be uploaded to the library website in the near future. The policy was developed by the curators with input by outside parties and was presented to a special committee founded by the board of directors. Its members were Professors Stroumza, Shulman, Reiner, Ben-Shammai, and David Blumberg and Oren Weinberg.

–As published, the policy regarding the Music Collection or the Archives has not been finalized. (This includes the Central Archive for the History of the Jewish People which will become part of the library from 1 Jan 2014. The CAHJP will remain in its present location until the completion of the new building).


–At present, decisions regarding purchase of items in electronic as opposed to print format are made according to needs; each genre, or book is considered individually.

–Regarding items not found in the library the primary solution is seen as interlibrary loan. An attempt will be made to reduce costs and the time required to receive a book (presently about a week).

–The policy toward acquisitions in the field of social sciences is that the library refrains from massive purchases in this field. The curators suggest relying on readers’ suggestions for purchases of items necessary for research in the various fields. The members of the Readers Association suggested that the library consider hiring someone for a limited period in order to draw up a list of the necessary items in the field of social sciences.

–The curators are engaged in closing the gaps created during the library’s “lean” years by purchasing missing items or scanning items that cannot be purchased, by enforcing the law of deposit but also by purchasing books published privately (e.g., in the haredi sector). A similar problem exists in the field of Islamic studies, because of the tendency to publish books privately and in small runs. The library has an individual in the north who is engaged in a search for material.

–In the future the library plans to upload to its website all Jewish Hebrew manuscripts in cooperation with the Friedberg Foundation. An agreement has been reached with the Parma Library and the library hopes that other institutions will join this project.

–Twenty-two Hebrew journals, including Tarbiz and Zion, have been scanned and are available via JSTOR, which will in two months’ time allow free access to all the Hebrew material to anyone with an Israeli address. In the meantime, access is only available to subscribing institutions (including the National Library).

–The library continues to purchase databases.

–One thousand children’s books in Hebrew were purchased.

–Regarding the question of purchases of items not in Hebrew, English or Arabic, there are library personnel in charge of the different languages. Publications containing only one or two items in the core disciplines come to the curators’ attention through the readers.

–Book orders in the core subjects are implemented through the building of “profiles” by the large distributors.

–The library is also considering pattern-driven acquisition which enables electronic access to book bundles. The library is trying to arrange free access for researchers (from the library) to new books for short periods without immediate purchase. The purpose is to allow the book to be vetted and a decision regarding purchase to be reached only after readers have read the book and indicated their approval.

–During the meeting various issues were raised but the curators did not have the opportunity to present the collections policy in their specific fields. The vaad intends to arrange additional meetings with the curators in order to hear about their specific fields in greater detail.

December 2013

1. Membership dues for 2014

 With the approach of 2014, we request that our members remit membership dues. As our treasurer is abroad we ask that you pay in cash. The membership forms can be downloaded from here. After filling in the form either mail it to our post office box (the address appears at the bottom of the form) or submit it to Dena Ordan.

Many thanks for your support!

2. Event in honor of retired Judaica librarians

You are cordially invited to attend an event in honor of the “Judaica reading room family.” We wish to grant recognition to the contribution of the librarians to the creation of a unique atmosphere that ultimately led to a “community of readers”: Michael Riegler,  Elona Avinezer, Alisa Alon, Zipporah Ben Abu, and Ruth Flint.

Date: Sunday, 26 Jan 2014 –  Time: 10:30 a.m. –  Place: The auditorium next to the Music reading room

On the Program: Greetings by the Chair of the Readers Association, a library representative, a representative of the readers, a representative of the retired librarians, presentation of a gift from the association

Looking forward to seeing you there!

3. Summary of the Special Meeting of the Readers Association at the World Congress of Jewish Studies

A summary of the points raised at our meeting with the representatives of the library administration is available here.

September 2013


The senior staff of the JRR – Elona, Ruti, and Aliza — will be retiring in early October and Zipi has already retired. At the suggestion of several readers, we would like to honor and show our appreciation for decades of outstanding help and service to readers by producing an album of stories. Copies or the text of special acknowledgements in books are also welcome.

 Send your stories to

Put “JRR librarians” in the subject line.


Hebrew and English material is welcome. We will consider material in other languages as well.

Other ideas are welcome as is assistance in editing and organizing the material. To help, contact Dena at

Here are some ideas sent to me by one of the readers:


Books and articles in the Judaica Reading Room include in their acknowledgements numerous heartfelt thanks to the librarians but it is easy to imagine that there are many more stories to be told…


The broad range of help we got from the "help desk," such as:

–that book can be found in the folio section

–you’d better use this edition of the text

–this article is in Serbo-croatian but we know that so-and-so in room 123 can tell you whether it is worthwhile

–friendly words to researchers in times of despair

–by the way, could you help this young man who has problems reading German written in Gothic print?



lehitra’ot and todah rabbah in many languages?

Herzlichen Dank und Auf Wiedersehen! Le-mashal


2Special session at the World Jewish Congress

A summary of the main points raised at the meeting is available here.


1. Vaad Meeting with the Directors of the Library–May 2013

A summary of the points raised at our meeting with the directors of the library is available here.


1). We are pleased to announce the launching of our updated website ( Please note that the process of updating is not yet fully complete; we apologize for any glitches.

2). Letters to the administration. We ask that you send a copy of any letters sent to the administration addressing issues concerning readers to This will enable us to map readers’ concerns.

3). In preparation for our Annual General Meeting (and the expense of updating our website), we request that those who have not yet renewed their membership do so at this time. Only paid-up amuta members can vote at the AGM. The form can be accessed at

 4.) New services at the library

      a. Scanning (including color): the copy machines now also provide scanning services. Material can only be scanned to a USB drive. Cost: 15 agorot/page.

      b. Uniform hours in the smaller reading rooms (Scholem, Music, Manuscripts): hours are now 9-18 (the Manuscripts RR is open until 20 on Sundays). The hours in the Map Collection will also be extended.

      c. New sign-on system for accessing the library website. For information:

      d. New water fountains have been installed on the first and second floors

5). New phone numbers at the library:–10.aspx

6). Upcoming events: We will be scheduling our Annual General Meeting for June. We are also planning to hold a special session at the World Jewish Congress  of Jewish Studies (late July-early August).


Older News

1. Library News: changes to the reading rooms and the launching of a new search engine.

For more information on the changes to the reading rooms, go to

For more information on the Merhav search engine:

2. New Initiatives

Successful initiatives

  • One of our more successful initiatives over the past years has been that of Professor Dvora Bregman and her acquisitions committee; they have encouraged the library to locate missing books and to fill lacunas in the collection.
  • Professor Bregman has also launched an initiative whereby readers can make recommendations for book purchases by the library. Readers are invited to suggest book and journal purchases. The link to the online order form is:
  • Professor Bregman has also organized an advisory board to the Readers Association composed of professors from Israel and abroad.
  • We have been advised that the library is in the process of developing its acquisitions and collections policy and that the readers will be invited to comment. These and the future of the special collections at the library are of especial concern to us, as is reinstatement of large displays of periodicals, so essential to research.

 3. Questionnaire on the Design of the Reading Rooms in the New Building

A summary of the results is available here.

4. Advisory Board Meeting

The inaugural meeting of the Advisory Board to the Readers Association convened on 23 July 2012. Some thirty professors from Israel and abroad have indicated their willingness to serve on the Board. The meeting was devoted to an overview of the history of the Readers Association and discussion of topics that concern researchers and scholars.

5. The "Book Giveaway"

In June 2011, the library distributed some 30,000 volumes to the general public gratis. A letter from the Readers Association expressed opposition to this step. (The Hebrew version of the letter can be accessed here).

The decision of the Board of Directors is available on the library website (in Hebrew):

General Annual Meetings

Sixth Annual General Meeting

The Fifth Annual General Meeting of the National Library Readers Association was held on 1 June 2012 at the library. A short summary of the minutes is available here. For a more extensive summary of the meeting, including a survey of Readers Association activity over the past year, click here.

Fifth Annual General Meeting

The Fifth Annual General Meeting of the National Library Readers Association was held on 1 June 2012 at the library. A short summary of the minutes is available here.

Fourth Annual General Meeting

The Fourth Annual General Meeting was held on 10 June 2011 at the National Library. A brief summary of the meeting is available here

Summary of the Remarks by Our Chairperson at the Fourth Annual General Meeting

A summary of the remarks by our chairperson Dvora Bregman can be found here.

Brief Summary of Main Points Addressed by the Head of Readers’ Services at the Fourth Annual General Meeting

A brief summary of main points addressed by Orly Simon, head of readers’ services, is available here.

Third Annual General Meeting

The Third Annual General Meeting was held on 25 June 2010 at the National Library.

A brief summary of the meeting is available here.

Second Annual General Meeting

The Second Annual General Meeting was held on 4 August 2009 on the Mt Scopus campus of Hebrew University during the World Congress for Jewish Studies.

A brief summary of the meeting is available here.

Professor Yosef Salmon summarized our activity. His remarks can be accessed here.

Professor Elhanan Adler spoke about digitization projects at the library: past and future. We hope to post a summary of his remarks in the near future.

First Annual General Meeting

The First Annual General Meeting 2008 was held on Friday, August 29, 9 a.m., at the National Library, Holtzman Room.

A brief summary of the meeting is available here.

Mr. Shmuel Har Noy, director of the library was the guest speaker. The main points of his presentation are summarized here.

On the agenda was:

  • Appointment of Chair and Secretary for the AGM
  • Elections for Committee Chair and the Committee (Va'ad)

    Current vaad members who are up for election: Nadia Zeldes, Dena Ordan, Cana Werman, Israel Eph'al, Aviad Ha-Cohen, Moshe Benovitz, Yoseph Salmon

  • Election of an Audit Committee (Va'adat bikoret)
  • Review of last year's activities and update on library
  • Presentation of 2007 accounts
  • Discussion (including motions submitted by members)


Brief Questionnaire on Services and Collection Policy in the Reference Reading Room

Nachum Zitter, who heads the Reference Division at the library, has asked us to distribute a brief questionnaire on the Reference Room. The online form can be found here. Please submit your responses by 25 May.

Questionnaire on the Reading Rooms in the Future Building

Many of you have used other libraries in Israel and abroad. We are now seeking to draw upon that experience. Please take a few minutes to fill out a short questionnaire about the reading rooms in the future library building. Your input will assist us in making recommendations to the library administration. Please respond by 15 June.

Click here in order to access our brief questionnaire.

Questionnaires on library services–May–June 2010

A compilation of the results of our questionnaire on library services, present and future, is available here. Some of the requested features, such as electronic ordering and a wireless system that allows entry into library databases from personal computers, will be implemented in the future.

Vaad Meetings with the Administration

Vaad Meeting with the Directors of the Library–November 2010

A summary of the points raised at our meeting with the directors of the library is available here.

Vaad Meeting with the Directors of the Library–August 2010

A summary of the points raised at our meeting with the directors of the library is available here.

Meeting with library administration–7 June 2010

We thank the library administration for its willingness to exchange information with the readers association.

At present the master plan for the National Library is being “translated” into a practical program that defines the space to be devoted to different needs–both public and scholarly–in the new building.

The next step is an architectural contest with actual blueprints or models of the new building. The various architectural proposals will be open to public debate. The library intends to dedicate a website to the plans for the new building and their implementation.

Vaad Meeting with the Directors of the Library–April 2010

A summary of the points raised at our meeting with the directors of the library is available here.

Vaad Meeting with the Directors of the Library–January 2010

A summary of the points raised at our meeting with the directors of the library is available here.

Changes at the National Library–August-December 2009

Changes in personnel:

  • Professor Haggai Ben-Shammai has been appointed academic director of the library. Members of the Readers Association board met with Professor Ben-Shammai in December. A summary of some of the issues raised at the meeting can be found here.
  • Mr. Shmuel Har Noy has chosen not to renew his contract. Mr. Oren Weinberg, currently the director of the Haifa University library, will be assuming the post of acting director.


  • The current renovations at the library are nearing completion. The new bathrooms on the first floor are finished; the patio off the Judaica Reading Room has been repaved; but construction of the new music library is still under way.
  • Bookstands for periodicals have been placed in each of the main reading rooms; although the most recent periodicals are still not on display this should be rectified soon. The most recent periodicals and daily newspapers are presently available in the General Reading Room.

Location of the new building:

  • A tentative decision has been reached on the location of the new library building–near the Knesset, in Kiryat ha-Leum; access the latest articles from the Hebrew press on our Hebrew links page. It is not yet clear what function, if any, the present plant will serve once the new building is functioning.

Meeting with the Library Administration, June 2008

At a recent meeting between our representatives and the library administration, we received an update on future plans for the library.

Briefly the main points include:

  1. The library will become a subsidiary of the university in the very near future. This is the first step in a three-year period to precede full independence. Its ramifications include an increase in government funding and the ability to engage in independent fundraising. The library is exploring the development of cooperative relationships with other Israeli academic libraries, especially Mt. Scopus. There should also be an increase in the budget for book purchases.
  2. The projected date for the completion of the new building is 7 to 10 years. Its location (on the Givat Ram campus) is expected to be decided by September. Yad Hanadiv, who is funding the building, has selected a re-engineering expert to develop the conceptual design. As representatives of the readers we expect to be invited to participate in this process.
  3. Present plant: a number of improvements are in the works, including replacement of the elevator and the copying machines, and electronic ordering of books. The library is exploring the possibility of issuing readers cards; it is also looking for ways to close the gaps in the collections.
  4. There are several new projects in the works: digitization of the Sound Archives; a new site for Historical Jewish Press which allows full text search; and an RSS feed on the library site (catalogue line) through which one can subscribe to information on new books published in Israel even before they reach the library. The developers are interested in reader feedback.
  1. Overall, and most importantly, our impression is that the library administration is interested in reader and public input and that we will be allowed access to information at the planning stages. Another project in the works is a survey of reader needs and satisfaction.

Update from the vaad (December 2008)

Our most recent meeting with director Mr. Shmuel Har Noy on 4 December 2008 focused on an update on the progress of the master plan for the new library. The planning stage has gained momentum and is under way. Six working groups are presently engaged in developing this master plan, with a projected July 2009 date for completion. The committees are addressing the following spheres: the needs of researchers and users; collection development; archives; technology; logistics; and education and culture.

In addition, a decision on the location of the new building should be reached in several months; the present building will continue to function as part of the library. More good news is that all standing orders have been budgeted, new staff members have been hired, and the digitization of the sound archives is under way.

Once again, we thank the library administration for sharing this information with us.

In memoriam

Avraham Greenbaum, 1925-2008

The National Library Readers Association mourns the death of founding member.

Dr. Abraham Greenbaum and extends its condolences to the entire Greenbaum family. Dr. Greenbaum's contribution was vital to the founding of our association and his vision will continue to guide us.

Professor Jonathan Frankel

  • A very favorable review of the final book by our deceased board member Jonathan Frankel appeared on the H-Judaic list. It is a most fitting memorial.