The Library has become a center for cultural and learning enrichment, opening its doors to an ever-broadening body of patrons.

Image: Margalit Oved dances in The Queen of Sheba. From the Inbal Dance Collection. Choreography by Sara Levi-Tanai, costume by Antol Gurevitch. Israel, 1952.

While the Library has been open to the general public since its inception, the majority of visitors to the National Library were traditionally academics. Over the past decade, however, the Library has increasingly become a focal point for users with varying interests and needs, opening its doors to an ever-broadening body of patrons, from high school students researching term papers, through retirees exploring their genealogy, to “Wikipedians” and music lovers.

Users of the NLI with academic pursuits have also diversified, including large numbers of undergraduate students from smaller colleges, teachers in training, and tour guides; and the National Library has made efforts to outreach to communities previously marginalized from the Library, in particular the Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations in Israel. In addition to offering traditional library services, the Library actively reaches out to the wider public through cultural events, adult educational programs, fellowships for writers, world-class exhibitions, and a wide array of lectures and courses.

Below is a sampling of NLI's many avenues for engagement:

Adult Enrichment and Education

As part of the Library’s mission to become a vital intellectual center of scholarship and to foster use of Library treasures to facilitate the creation of new works, the National Library has established two writers-in-residence programs to nurture developing talent, Pardes and Bustan. Other programs, such as Gesher L'Europa's "At the Source," provide specialized training for library and archival professionals.


The Library as a Cultural Hub

In 2010, the National Library created a Culture Department to produce a broad range of events and exhibits tied to Library collections and treasures. Thousands of people from the general public now attend and participate in cultural programs at the National Library each year.

Cultural programming is a key element in the renewal of the National Library of Israel, establishing NLI as a bustling and dynamic hub of creativity and engaging and inspiring new audiences across Israel’s diverse spectrum of ethnic, national, and religious communities with the National Library.


Annual Documentary Film Festival


There was None Like Moses

Maimonides Conference and Exhibition


The Secret of Many Voices

A Journey to the Heart of Piyut and Prayer



The National Library of Israel is uniquely positioned to produce world-class exhibitions that display the diversity and richness of the Library’s extraordinary holdings. In the current National Library of Israel building there are two spaces that house exhibitions, each, on average, hosting two exhibits per year that are conceived, planned, curated and executed by Library staff with the support of external professionals. Catalogues, guided tours, gallery talks, and other cultural events are offered in conjunction with the exhibits. At any given time, items on loan from the National Library of Israel are also displayed in libraries, museums, and other cultural and educational institutions around the world.

NLI's current exhibition, In the Library's Belly, features a large-scale installation of a whale by Israeli artist Hadassa Goldvicht. The public is invited to visit inside the sculpture – turning it into a private and unique reading room in the whale’s belly. Goldvicht’s video creation, Kiss, and rare items from the National Library’s collections are displayed in the adjacent exhibition gallery.