Hours of service: Monday - Friday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. By appointment only during the pandemic.
Open to the public: By appointment
Interlibrary loan: Yes
Reference policy: reference requests are accepted by telephone, email, and in person.
Background note: The Oman Library seeks to support WEI's Mission to "increase knowledge of the Middle East among citizens of the United States and to promote better understanding between the people of these two areas," by facilitating research and information sharing on all aspects of the broader Middle East region.
Books and monographs
The Library houses over 20,000 books and periodicals devoted to the Middle East. Readers will find materials in English as well as regional languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish and Persian. Represented topics include culture, history, languages, literature, and politics of the Middle East, Islamic lands, and relevant regions. Those who would like to see what the Oman Library can offer digitally may view the Resource Guides and the Online Catalog. The Oman Library holds the largest collection of English-language books on the Middle East and North Africa in the DC area outside of the Library of Congress.
The Library holds thousands of items on religion in the Middle East, including works in Islamic Studies, Judaic Studies, and Christianity in the Middle East. The Library’s Rare Book Collection includes a number of Islamic manuscripts as well as works describing European travels and pilgrimage to holy sites in the region. Many of these rare books are available through the Library’s digital collection.
Periodicals and newspapers
The Library receives issues from a number of the major academic journals in Middle East and North African Studies. The focus of this collection reflects the Islamic focus of the book collection along with some materials pertaining to Judaism. It also holds a number of serials from subfields such as Armenian Studies, Islamic Studies, and Turkish Studies. Most journals are academic. The Library also holds a number of journals published in the early- to mid-twentieth century in Arabic which could serve as important primary sources to researchers.
Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
The Library is home to important archival collections such as the Middle East Institute Archive (which includes Board of Governors minutes, newsletters, reports, and ephemera) and the Colbert Held Archive (a unique collection of a stunning variety of photographs from Held during his many travels to the Middle East between 1957 and 2005 on over 18,000 color Kodachrome slides).
Videos and sound recordings
The Library holds dozens of video recordings from the Middle East and North Africa. Most of these are films from the 1980s-2010s produced for mass distribution and held in DVD format.
The Oman Library is home to the Colbert Held Archive (a unique collection of a stunning variety of photographs from Held during his many travels to the Middle East between 1957 and 2005 on over 18,000 color Kodachrome slides).
The Library also holds first edition prints of the David Roberts Lithographs held in multiple volumes, featuring the work of the eponymous Scottish painter during his travels in the early 1800s.
The Library holds approximately 200 maps pertaining to the politics, history and religion of the Islamic world. Most are from the 20th century.
Databases and/or electronic resources
Library members have access to a number of journals and newspapers through ProQuest e-Library, Exact Editions, and East View’s Global Press Archive.
The Library also holds a number of eBooks accessible via EBSCO. The Library also includes digitally accessible open-access monographs related to the Middle East and North Africa in its online catalog.
The Oman Library’s online collection is a web-based digital collection of the library’s rare books and manuscripts, consisting entirely of subjects related to Middle Eastern Studies. The topics of the rare collection range from history and culture to works of fiction from the early twentieth century. The collection includes materials in seven different languages -- English, Arabic, French, Farsi, Urdu, Ottoman Turkish, and Turkish -- and publications spanning the period from 1700 to 1921. In addition to rare books, MEI has included a number of its own published works in the digital collection. These Middle East Institute publications span from the 1960s to 2004.
Ancient Near East--Religion; Bible; Christianity--Middle East; Christians--Middle East; Hadith; Islam; Islam--History; Islam--Relations--Christianity; Islam--20th century; Islam and politics; Islam and state; Islamic civilization; Islamic fundamentalism; Judaism; Mohammed, Prophet, d. 632; Moslems; Qur'an; Shi'ah; Sufism