MEC Library Collections

MEC Library Collections

The Middle East Centre (MEC) Library was established in 1957 with a mission to provide library resources on Modern Middle Eastern Studies for students and scholars in the field. 
The collection remit therefore focuses on Humanities and Social Sciences related topics, spanning the late 17th Century to the present day. The collection covers the geographical area of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), ie all Arab countries together with Israel, Turkey and Iran. The collection offers books and non-book materials in vernacular languages, ie Arabic, Persian, Turkish, as well as European languages.

The scope of the collection:

Modern history of the region; national movements; biographies & memoirs; works on political science, constitutional history; political and diplomatic history; economic theory; economic development/history; oil and other industries; labour market and condition; Islamic thoughts and movements.
The scope of the collection recently expanded to include two further topics: 1. Gender Studies; 2. The Arab Spring.

The summary of the Library holdings and links to further details is given below:   

1. Lending collection: approximately 40,000 volumes of books are stored and have been made accessible in two open stacks, housed in the MEC Library, located in the Investcorp building.  This collection is catalogued online, and can be searched on SOLO
Items can be borrowed from this collection by those who are entitled to borrowing from this Library. Please see “MEC Lib Admission Policy” for your eligibility.

2. Special Collection: this collection comprises: rare books, ie publications dated from 1700 up to 1920, a small collection of lithographically printed books in Arabic, and a collection of  Oxford theses.   Items held in Special Collection are Reference only, and can only be consulted onsite.

The entire collection is catalogued online and can be searched on SOLO.   Rare Books can be identified on SOLO by their classmark/shelfmark suffix of (RB). The theses collection can be identified by classmark/shelfmark suffix of (Thes). 
Please note:

 i. Special collection is stored outhouse, so please give a day's notice if you need to consult any item from this collection. Requests can be placed via email at: 

ii. NB whilst consulting materials from the Special Collection, only the use of a pencil is permitted.

Please note that the library reserves the right to decline a request, if the item is either fragile or too large to handle.

3. Manuscripts : the Library holds a small collection of manuscripts, beaquethed to the Library as part of the "Harold and Doreen Ingrams" library. For further details please click HERE .

4. Periodicals: the Library offers a comprehensive holding of periodicals in both European and non-European languages, unique to the Oxford University collection.  For further details please click HERE 

5. Pamphlets: the Library holds a large collection of pamphlets, all donated by the “Friends of the MEC library”. For further details please click HERE .

6. Microfilms: this collection comprises copies of newspapers, magazines, books, periodicals, and manuscripts, held at universities and archives elsewhere.  The microfilms are in both  European and non-European langauges.  For further details please click HERE .

7. DVDs: this collection comprises documentary programmes, feature films from the region, as well as full runs of digitised magazines and newspapers.  For further details click HERE.