Collections and resources at the Nizami Ganjavi Library

Rows of small wooden drawers containing the card catalogue

The Nizami Ganjavi Library’s collections and resources are primarily intended to meet the needs of staff and students at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. 


The library has about 55,000 volumes. Its core collections cover the geographical areas of West Asia, North Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, Tibet and Korea, covering the languages, history, cultures and religions of these regions.


Covering West Asia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, North Africa and the historical territories of the Islamic Empire, the focus of these collections is primarily  on language, literature, history, philosophy and culture. Modern (post-1800) history, politics, economics, etc. of the Middle East and North Africa are covered by the Middle East Centre Library. The Nizami Ganjavi Library does however collect modern Middle Eastern Literature, some of which is housed offsite at the Book Storage Facility but which can be requested to the library and loaned from the issue desk. For more information about this collection, contact our subject specialist Lydia Wright.


Our collections compliment the areas of study that span Byzantine Studies, Egyptology, Ancient Near Eastern, Middle Eastern and  Islamic Studies, Theology and Biblical Studies. Our main strengths are in Georgian, Armenian and Syriac material. For information on these collections, contact the subject specialists, Lydia Wright and Cesar Merchan-Hamann.


Our Jewish studies collections are strongest in the biblical and traditional areas. They offer limited coverage of the modern period, avoiding overlap with the Middle East Library (which concerns itself with the State of Israel and collects material relating to Zionism but not to the Jews of the diaspora in general). They include minor collections on general Semitics, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian and Georgian studies. The Leopold Muller Memorial Library at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies has additional collections. For information on these collections, contact the subject specialist, Cesar Merchan-Hamann.


The library’s lending and teaching collections cover the languages and literature of the Indian sub-continent and Tibet. It caters for students of Sanskrit in the Honour School and is stronger in the classical periods of Indian history and culture. We also try to maintain an adequate collection of grammars, manuals and dictionaries of the major modern languages of India. For more information about this collection, contact our subject specialist, Emma Mathieson.


Since 2008, various projects have transformed the Korean collection into one of the largest in the UK, putting Oxford at the forefront of research libraries on Korea in the west. Our Korean collection is steadily expanding courtesy of a project sponsored by the National Library of Korea. A 'Window on Korea' has been established in the library for students to read open shelf material and material previously held in closed stacks. For more information about the Korean collections, contact our subject specialist, Minh Chung.  


Middle East and Islamic Studies subject guide

Overview of libraries and collections for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies across the University, as well as key online resources.

Korean Studies subject guide

Overview of collections and e-resources in Korean Studies.

South Asian Studies subject guide

Guide to the South Asian collections of the Bodleian Libraries, including recent acquisitions.

Asian and Middle Eastern Manuscripts & Rare Books finding aids

Guide to the finding aids available for Asian and Middle Eastern manuscripts held by the Bodleian Libraries, including specialised guides for South and Inner Asia, South-East Asia, China, Japan, Korea, the Middle East and Hebraica, Judaica and Semitics.