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Middle East and Islamic Studies: Libraries and Reading Rooms

Principal collections

Teaching and research collections on the Middle East are held primarily by the Bodleian Library and by the Oriental Institute Library for Arabic, Persian, Turkish, classical Islam, the Caucasus, Eastern Christianity, Armenian and Georgian, and Central Asia, complemented by the Middle East Centre Library at St Antony’s College covering Modern Middle Eastern Studies.

  • The Bodleian Library's Middle East collection is held primarily offsite and can be called up to any Bodleian Library reading room.
  • The Weston Library holds the Bodleian's Middle Eastern and Islamic special collections which can be consulted alongside open shelf reference material in the designated Oriental reading room the Charles Wendell David Reading Room.
  • The Oriental Institute Library has a strong open-shelf collection of lending materialreference works and journals for Arabic, Persian, Turkish and European language holdings as well as some minor collections of Eastern Christian material including Armenian and Georgian language holdings. The Oriental Institute's Modern Arabic Literature collection is stored offsite but can be called up to the Oriental Institute Library to be borrowed.
  • The Middle East Centre Library at St Antony’s College covers all aspects of Modern Middle Eastern Studies.
  • Teaching and research materials relating to the art and archaeology of the Near and Middle East are kept in the Eastern Art collection in the Sackler Library, and may be consulted but not borrowed.
  • The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, a recognised Independent Centre of the University, is developing a library to support its research activities.
  • Wadham College Library also has a good collection of Persian material at the Ferdowsi Library, as well as holdings in Armenian.
  • The Sackler Library holds the Bodleian's collection of Islamic and Middle Eastern Art and Archaeology.
  • Other libraries with collections for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies are the History Faculty Library, the Social Science Library, the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library and the Bodleian Law Library.

Most western-language books can be found on SOLO. The same applies to books printed in Arabic, Persian and Turkish whose records appear in transliterated form and can occasionally be searched in the original language.

Collections further afield

  • British Library
  • Institute of Ismaili Studies
  • School of Oriental and African Studies