The National Library of Israel as My New Workroom

Since I stopped being a student, I always preferred working at home both in Japan and here in Israel. I went to university libraries mainly when I needed to copy articles from academic journals I do not subscribe. Otherwise I did not feel any need to go there and worked at home as I have my own private library, which meets most of my needs. But I am starting to realize that many people go to a library and work there not (only) because of books stored there but (mainly) because of its atmosphere.

Among the public libraries that are accessible to me, Bar-Ilan University Library is supposed to be the most natural "habitat" for me theoretically as I work at Bar-Ilan University, but since I commute there from Jerusalem and for some other reasons, it is the least convenient for me. I like Hebrew University Mount Scopus Library, where I spent five years when I was a doctoral student at the Hebrew University, but unfortunately, it is too far from my apartment in Jerusalem.

Recently I started to try to work at the National Library of Israel (formerly known as the Jewish National and University Library). Its biggest advantage is that it is quite close to my apartment (only a ten minutes' bus ride), but I have never liked its system of asking us visitors to leave our bags in the cloakroom, which is very inconvenient. Having compared the pros and cons of these three libraries as well as the option of continuing to work at home, I have decided to start working at the National Library on those days when I do not teach and have even started to enjoying this, especially because I have seen that I can work more productively, seemingly thanks to the atmosphere. I definitely prefer working there when I have to concentrate on writing papers as I am freed from my neighbors upstairs who bother me with their incessant noise. I also see quite a few colleagues of mine and shmooze with them during tea or lunch break, which is nice and refreshing.

No visitor to the National Library can fail to notice the renovation it has been undergoing recently. To my great surprise and joy, I have found recently that this renovation is only a part of a bigger master plan of renewing it with the ultimate purpose of relocating to a new building to be constructed near the Knesset and the Israel Museum, which is even a walking distance from my apartment. According to its renewal master plan the new National Library seems to become an impressive place with the state-of-the-art library information technology. But until then we still have to wait some more years. Unfortunately, its renewal will not be completed before my first sabbatical, when I am planning to stay in Jerusalem and work at this library five days a week.