The National Library for the Archaeology of Israel is the finest, unparalleled and most extensive archaeological research library in the region. The original library was established in 1926 by the British Mandatory Government Department of Antiquities, and it now comprises more than 160,000 volumes, as well as over 1,000 periodicals on Israeli and Near Eastern Archaeology, Egyptian, Anatolian and Classical antiquities, and related subjects such as ancient art, numismatics, ancient history, historical sources, travels and epigraphy.
The National Library for the Archaeology of Israel includes more than 500 volumes of rare and old printed books. Among the rare and outstanding volumes in the collection are 220 archaeological books published between the years 1519 and 1800, and 158 archaeological volumes published between 1800 and 1850. The itineraries written by Western European pilgrims that were published during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries are distinguished components of the Library’s rare books collection. The Library, currently housed in various locations in Jerusalem is the most important resource center for anyone interested in the archaeology of the Land of Israel and the Ancient Near East.
The Library is home to the National Archaeological Archives that contain all excavation and survey data collected since 1917, including maps, drawings, photographs, site plans, object databases and more. It is an invaluable source for scholars and archaeologists from all over the world.
The National Library for the Archaeology of Israel is open to the public, fully computerized and is integrated into the Aleph System, making its resources available to any library in the world connected to the system. Recently, more than 80,000 articles on the archaeology of Ancient Israel were added to the Library’s database.
The National Library is a dynamic library growing at a rate of some 1500 volumes a year from both acquisitions and gifts. The acquisition budget is provided by the Israeli Government according to the Law of Antiquities, and gifts of books and collections are accepted if they fit the library’s holdings. In certain instances, books on subject matters relating to specific archaeological topics but not directly related to the aforementioned subjects are purchased, as in the case of recent purchases of German books dealing with Roman Army Camps in the 3rd Century CE, or books relating to Islamic material and the Hellenistic period.
The National Library for the Archaeology of Israel has an exchange program with some 200 libraries and institutions around the world. In addition, there are 20 satellite libraries throughout the country where duplicate titles of volumes are kept for easy reference by field archaeologists and researchers. One of the reasons for the satellite libraries is to provide immediate access to researchers and archaeologists in places that are far from Jerusalem. There are several thousand volumes in the satellite libraries.