Asian Languages Library


Asian Languages Library at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Establishment of the research library in East Asian languages (especially Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tibetan which are taught in the Hebrew University) had long been a dream of staff and students of the East Asian Department of the Hebrew University. Absence of such a library has severely hindered the development of the Department into an international center for East Asian studies. Until recently, due to inadequate collection of primary and secondary sources in East Asian languages we routinely had to encourage our PhD students to travel abroad to collect necessary materials; on a few occasions we even regrettably had to reject applications of PhD students due to the inability to provide them with adequate library facilities in Israel.
This situation changed dramatically since the formation of the Frieberg Center for East Asian studies. From its inception, the Center focused on the establishment of research library in East Asian Languages as its major priority. In response to our request, and in view of the upsurge of interest in East Asian Studies in Israel and the steady increase in the size of our department, the Library Authority of the Hebrew University has agreed to allocate space and resources to create an Asian Languages Library within the larger framework of the Central Library of the Hebrew University. The new library, supported by the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies, is modeled after similar libraries in some of the leading US universities. It will be provided with the best facilities, including access to multiple Chinese and Japanese electronic databases, most of which have been heretofore inaccessible from Israel. It will be run by professional staff of our graduates, who will receive special training as librarians.

Preliminary results
The official launch of the library is due in 2010; but we have already begun working on preliminary purchase of books and databases. Our modest activities brought about tremendous results: the book collection increased from a few hundred volumes in 2007 to more than 5000 in mid-2009, and is rapidly expanding. Most important were purchase of a few research databases, such as the all-important CNKI database which allows the Hebrew University users to access hundreds of thousands of fully searchable and downloadable research articles in humanities and social sciences published in China since 1993 (and in humanities – since 1916!). Another major acquisition was the on-line e-version of Siku quanshu: the single most important collection of China's imperial and pre-imperial books. More databases are due to be purchased when sufficient funds are found. We are grateful to library friends for their generous support of these acquisitions.

Friends of the Asian Languages Library Program
The library official launched in Spring 2010. We expect it to become a new center of Asian-related research in the Hebrew University and in the State of Israel in general. Yet to become truly competitive internationally, the library requires significant financial support, especially during the first years of its existence when we must radically expand its collection. Having this in mind, we propose the following programs for Friends of the Asian Languages Library in Jerusalem:
Honorary Founding Chair of the Library: one-time endowment of 2,000,000 (two million) USD, which would support a full-time professional librarian. The library will be named after the Honorary Chair, who will also automatically become Associate Member of the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies in the Hebrew University.
Distinguished Friend of the Library: annual support of 20,000 (twenty thousand) USD or more for the purchase of books and databases in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The names of the Distinguished Friends will be acknowledged on the special "Library Friends" wall and on the Library's electronic site. Distinguished Friends will also become Associate Members of the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies in the Hebrew University.
Friend of the Library: one-time contribution of 5,000 (five thousand) USD or more; Donors will be listed in the library's website and will become Associate Members of the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies in the Hebrew University.

For further details, please contact Prof. Yuri Pines, Chair of the Academic Committee of the Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies in the Hebrew University, and Coordinator of the East Asian Library Project (