The National Library has announced that as of Monday, 17 August 2020, it will close its doors because of budgetary constraints, the result both of the political situation in Israel and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The National Library of Israel serves as more than a repository for books and culture; for readers it is a living organism where individuals meet for a vibrant exchange of ideas. The human resources available at the library are perhaps unique, as visitors from abroad note the interaction between all levels of those engaged in scholarship and research. The notion that we are moving into a digital age where libraries will become obsolete is in our case inaccurate; not every resource is at yet available online. The library also provides a home for humanities related projects, including for schoolchildren.
We are also concerned about the effect of the closing on the library’s three hundred staff members and wider circles: cleaners, guards, cafeteria workers, and individuals and institutions that receive services from the library.
We request the support of our many readers from abroad to convince the government to provide immediate financial assistance to the library. A petition is available on Facebook. Letters in support of the library keeping its doors open can also be addressed to the Minister of Education, Yoav Gallant, and to the Minister of the Treasury, Yisrael Katz. Your support is essential.
Dena Ordan, board member of the National Library Readers Association