The library budget will increase to NIS 89 million this year and to NIS 100 million by 2026

The library budget will increase to NIS 89 million this year and to NIS 100 million by 2026

The Minister of Culture and Sports Miki Zohar announced today (Wednesday) in the Knesset's Education Committee during the debate on the Libraries Law, that he had reached agreements with the Minister of Finance, which contained significant and important news for public libraries. According to the summaries, the library budget will increase in 2024 to the extent of 89 million NIS, compared to 85 million in 2023. Next year (2025), the budget will increase to 95 million NIS and starting in 2026, the budget of the public libraries will be 100 million NIS.

The additional budget was agreed after personal talks between Minister Zohar and Minister Smotrich, in which Minister Zohar emphasized the importance of public libraries. The Minister of Finance responded to the request of the Minister of Culture to add NIS 8 million from the Treasury budget, in addition to NIS 8 million to be added by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. In addition, Minister Zohar announced that he received permission from the Accountant General to give significant advances to the libraries upon publication of the call, so that at the end of the legislation – the applications will be submitted and the advances will be distributed.

Minister Miki Zohar announced that at the request of members of the Knesset and the Library Council, the composition of the Council will be expanded to include additional representatives that the Minister will agree with the members of the committee. Moreover, a procurement committee will also be established within the Library Council, which will negotiate with the publishers and guarantee uniform and fair prices for all public libraries.

Minister Miki Zohar: “For months I fought against the cuts in libraries. I felt that there was a great sin here against the important principle on which we grew up, that we are “people of the book”. In recent years, there has been a continuous deprivation towards the libraries, since the law was not implemented properly and their budget remained constant without growth. Therefore, I decided to act intensively with the Ministry of Finance. To my great joy, Minister Smotrich responded to my request and agreed to increase the budget for the libraries. This is tremendous news, which increases the library budget dramatically compared to recent years and will be higher than ever before.'

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich: “Public libraries are an important service to citizens, and their importance is twofold greater in the State of Israel – go with the book. I would like to thank Minister Zohar for the discussion and the joint work, the Minister of Culture works very hard and does an excellent job. The increase in the budget is important news and I am happy that even in this difficult time we were able to bring a solution and growth for the public libraries and for the public.'

Photo: Rishon LeZion Municipality Spokesperson

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