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The new Middle Eastern Library (MEL) will bring together the UBL's own Middle Eastern collections and the collections of the library of The Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), which has been part of the Leiden University Libraries since 1st January 2018.

UBL collection

The Middle East has been an important region for research and education at Leiden University for centuries. Over time, UBL has built one of the most important Middle East collections in Europe. The core of the collection concerns classical Middle Eastern literature and linguistics, but other subjects are also well represented. Collection development is oriented towards but not limited to regions and languages that are taught and studied in Leiden (the Arab world, Turkey, the Persian-speaking countries, and Israel, with Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Hebrew).

UBL has a large collection of books in modern Middle Eastern languages. In particular Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew. Other languages, which are not taught in Leiden, are available on a limited scale (including Kurdish, Amharic and Neo-Aramaic). UBL works in cooperation with the Netherlands Institute in Morocco on the building of collections concerning sociology, political science, socio-economic issues and Islam, as well as classic language and literary subjects, like the collection of literature in Berber languages (Tamazight).

The current collection of books and journals placed in the libraries closed stacks will remain there. These items are available for lending. The MEL Reading Room will hold the reference collection now placed in study room 2 at the University library complemented with a selection of current research resources.

The NINO will have it's own reference collection in the MEL reading room, focusing on Egyptology, Assyriology, archaeology, and studies on the Levant and the Ancient Near East.

NINO collection

The NINO collection is redistributed over four different sections of the University Library: the MEL reading room, the open storage at S-UB, the closed storage and Special Collections.

Special Legacies

Other parts of the collection, including some special legacies (G.H. de Knegt on Egyptian art; R. Hoogland on Islamic art and architecture; D. van der Meulen on travel literature) will be placed in the closed stacks (can be borrowed) or the S-UB in the basement of the University Library (cannot be borrowed).

Special Collections

The Middle Eastern Special Collections form the nucleus of the entire range of Oriental heritage collections of Leiden University Libraries. These collections remain at the Special Collections and are available for consultation on request. 

The special collections held by the NINO Library, such as old prints and the Rudolph Said-Ruete collection on the Near and Middle East, will also be placed at Special Collections in the University Library.

Two volumes of ‘Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Devices’ (Kitab fi Maʿrifat al-Hiyal al-Handasiyah) by Ismaʿil ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari (1136-1206) [UBL Or. 117, f. 59b].
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