Israel’s Libraries strike back with radical reform to survive in digital era

A law expected to revolutionize Israel’s library system, with radical changes that include canceling membership fees, comes into effect January 1. The law, proposed by MK Michael Melchior (Labor) and approved by the Knesset last summer, will boost the libraries’ budget over a five-year period from the current NIS 20 million to NIS 85 million in 2013.

“When Israeli children receive low scores in international tests, we constantly look for an explanation at school,” said Yoel Cohen, former head of Kfar Sava’s library. “But one must also note that only 16 percent of Israelis have library membership cards, while in Finland the number is more than 60 percent.”