About the project
The Jerusalem municipality and the Jerusalem Foundation began planning a central library to serve the city’s Arabic speakers in 1973. Various attempts were unsuccessful and finding an appropriate location proved difficult. The idea began to be realized more than a decade later, when, in 1985, then-Mayor Teddy Kollek set aside money from a peace prize he received from the German Publishers Association toward construction of a new facility. The new library designed by architect Shlomo Khayat was completed in 1992. The facility is comprised of children’s, reference, circulation and reading sections on the first floor, and media and educational centers on the second floor. At its opening, the library had 20,000 volumes that are available to Jerusalem residents and Arabic readers from all over Israel. The library has become a model for library construction in other Arabic-speaking countries.The Jerusalem Foundation supported the building’s original construction, repairs following a terrorist bombing of the facility in 1993 and the purchase of books and equipment.